Karen B. London
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Walking Dogs in the Rain
Does your dog mind?

The dogs out for walks in the rain seemed to be paying no attention to the constant drizzle. Even the people seemed unconcerned by the wetness. Most were a little damp. A few had on rain jackets. Absolutely nobody had an umbrella.

I just returned from a visit with my parents in beautiful, flower-filled Portland, Ore., during which it rained almost every day. While I was there, I saw dogs being walked in light rain, medium rain, heavy rain and (occasionally) an absence of rain. There was no detectable difference in their behavior. Rain is so common in that part of the country that people generally ignore it and go about their business, whether it’s yard work, exercising, or taking care of their dogs. I actually found it sort of refreshing. (What I found refreshing was that everybody was going about their business, NOT the rain, which I’m not used to since leaving town to head to college.)

I love that people were outside with their dogs, not caring to try to stay dry, and apparently making little attempt to coordinate their outings with times of day when the rain let up. Living in Flagstaff, Ariz., which has 262 days a year with at least some sun, I have clearly gone soft.

Some dogs are like me—unused to the rain. I remember one client from training classes whose Bichon/Poodle mix was perfectly housetrained . . . except when it rained. She seemed to object to getting her paws wet, but if they could get her outside under the upstairs balcony, she would eliminate quickly and then dash back inside, looking offended. Though usually a lover of walks, she was not interested in them when it was raining.

Do you walk your dog in the rain? Does your dog object?


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

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Submitted by Cathy | May 17 2011 |

Some days I work too many hours to get a walk in, but if I have any time at all we walk and they love it. In rain and snow and sun. I'm getting older and the ice scares me a little so we missed some of those days this winter. I have an English Shepherd and two Border Collies. They really need their walks!

Submitted by zeenie | May 17 2011 |

My border collie doesn't like the rain very much either and would turn around after finding out that the pavement is wet from a recent rainfall. Mind you, she's not heading home though, she turns around to head to the stairs which lead to the underground carpark maze, where she can take her walk in dry comfort (and have a quick elimination at the underground garden). Ever since young, she would walk around puddles!

Submitted by Frances | May 17 2011 |

My two toy dogs dislike heavy rain - which can be a problem in the North West of England! They seem to think that I should be able to turn it off - I am just being mean and obtuse by insisting they get wet. This morning I had to put leashes on them to get them out at all, and when we go for a walk in the rain they tend to trail behind and only cheer up when we are heading back to the car. They do like the "nice warm towels" bit, though - I keep a dog towel or two on the radiator by the door, and they both love being wrapped up and rubbed dry.

Submitted by Michele | May 18 2011 |

My pit bull mix hates wet weather. One of the first words she learned was "towel" and drying off is absolutely her favorite part of a rainy day walk. She makes the saddest face when I insist we stay outside long enough for her to "go" and as soon as she has, she heads for home with no prompting and much speed. She is also reluctant to have anything to do with an umbrella (it fold small then becomes large -- magical and disturbing!).

Submitted by Homer's mom | May 18 2011 |

Homer walks in ANY type of weather.

Submitted by Becky | May 18 2011 |

My American Staffordshire Terrier isn't all that bothered by the rain but he absolutely refuses to walk through puddles! He'll go to great lengths to go around them or jump over them. And heaven forbid he gets his feet wet or he starts shaking them like a cat!! But he doesn't care at all about the wet stuff falling on him from the sky.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 18 2011 |

My guys dread the rain. Once they find out it is raining or even just misty they are pretty grumpy. They will do their business quickly and pull me to get back under cover. If I attempt to walk any longer they quickly object.

Submitted by lkay | May 18 2011 |

all three of my dogs love walking in the rain! it flooded here recently in ellensburg, WA and the streets turned into rivers and standing lakes. my pups had a blast playing in all the extra water! and my flat coated retriever loves being toweled off almost as much as he loves getting wet ; )

Submitted by David Antonio M... | May 19 2011 |

My boys - Mussolini, Napoleon, y Natsui (two blue heelers and one Australian Kelpie)- love it when we take rainy walks. It is like a little adventure for them. Their favorite part is when they get dried off. The walks are just invigorating like when I use to ride my bike in the rain. [Long happy sigh] My boys.

Submitted by Adela Dávila-Es... | May 19 2011 |

My dog, Ganache Marie Du Chocolat de Saint Germain -despite her fancy name, she's a mixed breed rescue, mind you!- doesn't mind at all walking in the rain, not even in a downpour. We bought her a raincoat with hood (got it online from Petco) and she goes for her walk quite contentedly. Since the raincoat doesn't protect her as well on her underside (her belly, specifically), she dons first one of my old skinny t-shirts and then the raincoat. When we get home, she's dry all over, except for her legs and tail, of course.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 19 2011 |

Max (chihuahua daschund mix) will turn around immediately at the sight or sound of rain. He actually goes back to bed (my bed) and curls up under the blankets. I wish I could do that.

Submitted by Anonymous | May 20 2011 |

I have Labs; they don't even notice if it is raining or not!

Submitted by Anonymous | May 31 2011 |

My Golden Retrievers seek out water - they will sit in pouring down rain instead of going for cover - unless I am home in the house. Then, of course, they are inside with me - but not without first getting as muddy and wet as can be and trying to shake themselves dry inside! Living in the Pacific Northwest, we all have learned to drip dry when necessary!

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