How Do I Get My Dog to Go Potty in the Rain?

Walking dog in the rain

Q. I can't get my dog to go to the bathroom in the rain. She hates to go outside when it's raining, and when I put her on the grass she just stands there. I assume if she really needs to go, she will eventually, but what can I do to make it easier?

A. Dogs have a wide range of bathroom habits — some pooches will go anywhere, anytime, regardless of the weather, but others are affected by even the smallest change in the surroundings, the surface area and, especially, the weather. Depending on where you live, this could be a major issue. While rain may not be a big deal for someone living in a dry desert climate, if you reside in the Pacific Northwest, your dog’s reluctance to potty in a downpour could be a big concern. 

My Pugs are totally potty opposites. Bruce trots outside and does his business without hesitation, but Willy sniffs for minutes on end, spins a little, then changes his mind at the last second and goes searching for a better area. Any changes in the weather, such as wind, snow or rain, complicate his already picky potty habits and make his bathroom quest take even longer. While Bruce needed little training in order to learn to go potty quickly, Willy’s sensitive nature made training for a fast and efficient bathroom session extremely important. 

Teach Your Dog to Potty on Cue

The first step in teaching your dog to overcome her dislike of the rain is to establish a potty cue. Teaching your pet to potty on cue means that she won't need to wait for a full bladder to do her business. Every time my dogs are let outside, they are asked to potty and are rewarded when they are done, regardless of whether they only need to potty a few drops or it takes a full 10 seconds to relieve themselves.

Start by introducing the potty cue under normal weather circumstances. When you see your dog just about to potty, such as when she is spinning, sniffing or starting to squat or lift a leg, immediately say your potty cue — for example, “be quick.” As soon as your dog goes to the bathroom, give her a reward. This can be something as simple as praise and petting or a treat, or something interactive like playing fetch or going for a walk.


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