Why Won’t My Dog Go Out in the Rain? Canine Fear or Dislike!

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Author: Jacob Kay

Have you ever wanted to go out with your dog during rainy days? Whether it is for routine walks or potty breaks, it is important to take your dog 🐶 out even in the rain. But, is your dog one of those who deny going in the rain? You might have wondered — why won’t my dog go out in the rain 🌧?

why won't my dog go out in the rain?

Well, dogs usually love outdoor activities but when it comes to getting wet, let us just not talk about that! In addition to that, if your dog is a couch potato, forget everything said so far! But, there might be situations where you need to take your dog outside. Thus, you should train your dog to go out in the rain. But, before that consider the reasons why won’t your dog go out in the rain?

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Common Reasons Why Won’t My Dog Go Out in the Rain

Before jumping to the tips for walking your dog in the rain, let us first know the possible reasons why a dog won’t go out in the rain. There are many reasons your dog 🐶 might not go out in the rain. Some of them are:

Thunderstorm Phobia

Many dogs can determine the arrival of thunderstorms before the dark clouds can occupy the sky. They even start panting or running around in the house. Many dogs 🐶 stick to a corner and start whining or barking. Previous bad experiences with storms or loud noises may also contribute to the behaviour.

There’s usually more buildup before a thunderstorm like high winds, hail or lightning. The same can occur before rain.[1] Thus, dogs might learn to expect thunder which can cause anxiety and stress during rainfall. Forcing such dogs to go out in the rain 🌧 may worsen the situation. A dog might also try to escape due to fear.

Dislike Being Wet or Cold

Some dogs simply may not like the feeling of being wet because they may soon catch a cold. Especially, dogs with short coats, small puppies or senior dogs 🐶 cannot regulate their body temperature. Moreover, their fur can become wet and matted, making it hard for them to retain body heat. This brings up the question – do dog gets cold in the rain?

dog in the rain

This can eventually cause a temperature drop, leading to hyperthermia or frostbite. This can be fatal and life-threatening. If your dog has a temperature below 37℃, consult a veterinarian immediately. According to experts at the American Kennel Club, “Frostbite can also become an issue at extremely low temperatures 🌡. If left untreated, hypothermia can also result in cardiac and respiratory failure, brain damage, coma, and even death.

Lack of Exposure or Training

The main reason why dogs 🐶 deny getting out in the rain is lack of exposure. Some dogs may not be used to the rain or other bad weather conditions and may need more exposure and training to get comfortable with it. If your dog was raised in a dry or indoor environment, it may not be used to rainy 🌧 weather.

Many past experiences might have traumatised the dog too. Therefore it is important that as a pet parent, you try to get things going with the dog. You should start afresh with the dog and train him to cope with different situations and experiences.[2]

Tips to Walk Your Dog Out in the Rain

Going out for a walk in the rain can be beneficial for your dog’s health, as it provides them with exercise, stimulation, and bonding time with you. However, if your dog 🐶 is reluctant to go out in the rain, you may need to take some steps to make it more enjoyable for them.

dog walking in the rain

Here are some tips to help walking dogs in the rain:

  • Get them used to wet paws: One of the reasons, why dogs don’t like the rain, is because they don’t like their paws 🐾 getting wet. You can help them get used to this by feeding them treats or meals on wet grass or by spraying water on their paws before going outside.
  • Provide them with gear: Another way to make your dog more comfortable in the rain is to provide them with gear such as rain jackets 🧥, rain boots 👢 or a dog umbrella hat. These items can help keep them dry and warm. You can also choose bright colours or reflective materials to make your dog more visible in the rain.
  • Take them for a walk: Instead of walking your dog 🐶 in the backyard, take them for a walk around the neighbourhood or park. This may encourage them to relieve themselves faster, as they will be distracted by new sights and smells.

Tips to Help Your Dog Go Out in the Rain for Potty Break

If your dog needs to go potty 💩 in the rain, but they are too scared or stubborn to do so, you may need to be patient and persistent with them. Firstly, you need to train your dog to go for potty on command or during regular walks. Thus, it is crucial to potty train your dog.

Here are some tips to help your dog go out in the rain for potty:

  • Establish a routine: One of the best ways to train your dog 🐶 to go potty in the rain is to establish a routine and stick to it. Take your dog out at regular intervals, such as after meals, before bedtime, or first thing in the morning. This will help them learn when and where they are expected to go potty.
  • Use a cue word: Another helpful tip is to use a cue word or phrase that signals your dog that it’s time to go potty. For example, you can say “go potty” or “hurry up” when you take your dog outside. This will help them associate the word with the action, and make it easier for them to understand what you want them to do.
  • Reward them: As soon as your dog goes potty 💩 in the rain, reward them with praise 👏, treats 🍖, or toys 🧸. This will reinforce the positive behaviour and make them more likely to repeat it in the future. You can also use a clicker or a whistle to mark the exact moment when your dog goes potty and then follow it with a reward.

After Returning From the Rain

After you and your dog return from the rain, it’s important to dry him thoroughly with a towel or a hairdryer. This will prevent them from getting cold or developing skin problems. Firstly, you should remove any accessories or gear like raincoats or boots that the dog 🐶 have put on in the rain. This is because wet cloths can freeze the cold leading to temperature 🌡 drop and difficulty in its regulation.

wiping the dog

You should ensure to properly dry off your Fido. Use a clean, dry towel to gently rub down his fur and wipe the dog. Check their ears 👂 and paws 🐾 carefully as these areas can trap moisture. You may also use a hairdryer for dogs with long coats.

Walking in the rain often lead to muddy paws. Clean the paws of your dog 🐶 with a damp cloth or a paw cleaner. Further, you can also heal the damaged paws using paw balms. Rainy 🌧 walks might lead to dehydration. Let your dog have access to clean drinking water 💧 upon returning from the rain.


How can I tell if my dog is afraid of the rain or just doesn’t like it?

You can tell if your dog is afraid of the rain by observing their body language and behaviour. Some signs of fear are trembling, panting, whining, hiding or trying to escape. If your dog is afraid of the rain, you should try to calm them down and reassure them. If your dog just doesn’t like the rain, you should try to make it more fun and rewarding for them.

What if my dog refuses to go out in the rain no matter what I do?

If your dog refuses to go out in the rain no matter what you do, you may need to consult a professional trainer or veterinarian for advice. They may be able to help you identify and address the root cause of your dog’s hatred of the rain, and provide you with more specific tips and techniques to overcome it.

Can I use a pee pad or litter box for my dog instead of taking them out in the rain?

You can use a pee pad or litter box for your dog instead of taking them out in the rain, but only as a temporary solution. Using a pee pad or litter box may confuse your dog and make them think that it’s okay to go potty inside the house. This may lead to accidents or behavioural problems in the future.

Wrapping Up

So, why won’t your dog go out in the rain? Well, this might be because of fear or anxiety of thunderstorms, which can have a negative association with rain. Moreover, no dog likes getting wet which makes sense of them hating rain.

It is important to help them overcome their fear or dislike of it. You should also take care of your canine by providing them warmth after a chilly rainy walk. By following these tips, we can make our dogs more comfortable and happy in the rain. Be patient and supportive with your pup, and they will soon learn to enjoy the rain as much as you do. ⛈🐶


  1. Tiira, K., Sulkama, S., & Lohi, H. (2016). Prevalence, comorbidity, and behavioral variation in canine anxiety. Journal of Veterinary Behavior.
  2. Fearful dogs. (2023, May 5). Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University.
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Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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