How do you walk your dog on a rainy day?
If your dog hates to leave the house when the rain starts to fall, these tips for wet-weather walking will make sure you get their most important daily needs met.
Get the right gear.
Make rainy day walks more enjoyable by getting your pup the right gear to keep them dry. A properly fitted raincoat that covers both the chest and belly will prevent your dog from splashing water against the most sensitive parts of their body. If your dog has sensitive paws, you may also want to consider getting them a set of dog boots.
Unless the forecast calls for extreme weather, most rainy days have at least a couple of periods in which showers slow to a sprinkle. Use a weather tracking app or website to help you predict when a storm will lighten up.
Encourage, don’t force.
Even if you have the right rain gear for your pup, they may still avoid the rain at all costs. These dogs will likely require an extra incentive. Before getting ready to go, stuff your pockets full of treats and begin offering them before you’ve stepped out the door. If putting on rain gear predicts that treats will follow, your dog will be more likely to allow you to get them dressed. Use your treats to entice your dog out the door instead of forcing them to go out into the rain, which will only make them more frightened and stressed out.
Play the Find It game.
Once outside, keep the treats flowing. Try encouraging your dog to walk with the Find It game. Throw a treat a few feet in front of your dog and say “Find It” in a happy tone of voice. Let them gobble up the treat then throw your next one, repeating the phrase. Play the game as much as necessary during the walk to get your pup’s mind off of the water falling from the sky.
Don’t expect a regular walk.
Even with plenty of treats and encouragement, dogs who really hate the rain aren’t likely to want to stay outdoors for long. If they go potty and then refuse to go any farther, that’s okay. Bring them back inside and make up the missed exercise with play or training indoors. Read more on backup plans below.
Stick to quiet streets.
On rainy days, when cars zoom through puddles, the busier the street, the louder it will be. And the more noise, the more frightened your dog is likely to feel — not to mention all that potential for being splashed by passing vehicles. When it’s raining, stick to quieter streets where there is less noise and where it is less likely you and your dog will get soaked.
Avoid walking at night.
It can be a huge challenge for drivers to see dogs on dark, wet nights. When it’s raining, stay safe by taking your daily walks before the sun sets. If you must go out in the rain at night, stick to well-lit areas and avoid busy streets.
Have a backup plan.
If your dog refuses to walk in the rain, you’ll need a backup plan to meet their daily exercise and potty needs. Both training and play inside the home are good alternatives and can include multiple 5- to 10-minute training sessions, games of hide-and-seek, indoor fetch with a soft toy, and mental stimulation via puzzle toys. For the latter, you may have to get creative. Try a fresh grass indoor potty or select a sheltered location immediately outside your home where your dog can quickly do their business, then come back inside.
Be gentle with post-walk drying.
Whether you’ve managed to get your dog out on a long walk or a short one, it’s likely that their paws, head, and belly will need a bit of toweling off. Unfortunately, these are also some of the most sensitive parts of a dog’s body. Unless you have a dog that loves to be wrapped up in a towel, be gentle and go slow when wiping them down. It may help to ask them to lie down so you can easily access their paws without knocking them off balance. Reward them for each body part you towel off. Each foot earns one treat, each ear earns another, and the belly gets two. Don’t be surprised if your dog gets the zoomies after being dried off. It’s a natural release of pent-up energy that commonly occurs after a stressful experience.