On dry days, your pet pooch happily trots outdoors for a walk, to play, or to do its business.
However, it’s a different story once the rain begins to fall and your pup refuses to put a single paw out the door.
Interestingly, an aversion to rain is relatively common in many (but not all) dogs, so why is this?
Why Don’t Dogs Like Walking in the Rain?
Some dogs just hate getting wet.
A wet, cold, itchy coat can cause an aversion to rain.
Some dogs hate walking in the rain due to sound-induced anxiety, including noise from heavy rain and thunder.
Additionally, a dog that sees its owners avoid rain may develop negative associations with rainy walks.
Of course, it’s not possible to keep your furry friend indoors whenever it is raining, so you must do your best to help your dog overcome their aversion to rain.
This article will explain why your dog may be apprehensive about rain or getting wet in general.
It will also share some tips to help train your dog to enjoy rainy walks (or at least hate them a little less).
Let’s look at some reasons why some dogs hate the rain:
1. Some Dogs Just Hate Getting Wet
Some dogs hate getting wet, no matter if that is from walking in the rain, a bath, swimming, or even just from walking on wet grass.
For whatever reason, they just hate the sensation of being wet.
NOTE – You might enjoy this post looking at the question why do dogs run sideways?
A Wet Coat Is Uncomfortable for Dogs
In the wild, wolves adapted to avoid suffering from hypothermia due to adverse weather conditions.
Gray wolves, in particular, depend on their dense undercoat, which provides insulation against cold air, while the shorter topcoat repels moisture.
Dogs also have protective coats and an instinctive drive to dry off quickly, which is why they shake off after walking in the rain or taking a bath.
Sometimes, you might even notice your dog’s fur twitch as raindrops fall on its back.
Interestingly, this behavior is also displayed when a dog has fleas.
It’s believed to be a nerve response to remove an irritant.
Being wet from the rain can feel itchy and uncomfortable, which most animals, including humans and dogs, try to avoid.
Of course, our domesticated doggy friends aren’t much like wolves these days. They’re far more spoiled.
They sit indoors most of the time, indulging in the warmth and dryness of a comfortable home.
Therefore, when forced to choose between a safe house or venturing out into the elements, some domestic dogs will choose the former.
This is especially true for dogs that have rarely been exposed to rain and water.
If your dog isn’t familiar with it, the experience can be quite frightening and uncomfortable.
Early exposure is crucial if you want your dog to become comfortable with walking on rainy days (more on this further down the page).
NOTE – Check out this blog post we wrote if you are interested in reading about why dogs like to walk so much.
2. Dogs May Associate Rain With Thunderstorms or Loud Noises
While you may find the sound of heavy rain relaxing, your dog may find the noise overwhelming.
Even the slightest pitter-patter of rain on the roof could trigger your dog’s anxiety, and once you open the door to take your dog out, the sound is even scarier.
But what if it’s not the rain that’s triggering your canine companion? It could be thunder.
It’s possible that your pet dog associates the two, believing that thunder isn’t far behind once the rain starts falling.
This may be especially true if you live in an area that experiences frequent thunderstorms.
While it’s unlikely that dogs can sense an incoming storm, studies indicate that they can feel changes in barometric pressure.
If your dog makes the connection between pressure changes and storms, it may show signs of panic or anxiety.
It’s interesting to note that sound phobia in canines is quite common.
In fact, over 25% of dogs suffer from at least some level of sound-induced anxiety, and genetics may play a role.
According to a Penn State University study, many canines have genetic predispositions to certain behaviors, including anxiety.
However, it’s also possible that your dog had a previous negative experience with water or loud noises.
NOTE – You might like to read this blog post we wrote about why dogs love snow so much.
3. Dogs Learn From Their Owners
The domestication of dogs began nearly 40,000 years ago. As such, humans have spent centuries living with canine companions.
So naturally, dogs have evolved to read human facial expressions and even react to situations of human joy or pain.
So, it makes sense that canines notice when we’re upset or disappointed.
If you dislike getting wet or walking in the rain and show an obvious aversion to it in your dog’s presence, your dog may pick up on this and adopt the same dislike.
NOTE – You may appreciate this blog about looking at why a dog suddenly won’t go on grass.
How To Help a Dog Get Used to Walking in the Rain
Getting a dog used to the rain requires time, consistency, and positive reinforcement.
It will not happen overnight, but it can be done.
Here are some ways to help your dog to enjoy (or at least not hate) walking in the rain.
1. A Doggy Raincoat Can Help
If your dog seems uncomfortable when walking in the rain, you should consider investing in a well-fitted raincoat.
There are canine rain jackets, hats, and booties available in different sizes. We recommend the HDE Dog Raincoat from Amazon.
This waterproof jacket is available in multiple sizes and colors.
2. Desensitize Your Dog to Rainy Weather
With consistency and positive reinforcement, desensitization training should make a difference within weeks.
Work in small steps, and start by rewarding your dog for going outdoors when there is just a light shower.
Really give them lots of praise and let them get used to the damp weather.
For noise desensitization, play rain and thunder sounds on your phone while you praise your pup with affection and treats.
Increase the volume of the sound until you can blast thunder and rain noises through your stereo, and they don’t get nervous or upset.
3. Teach Your Dog That Rain is OK
When it rains, don’t groan, whine, or complain. Instead, go outside and show your pooch that you’re having a great time!
Stand in the rain, walk around with an umbrella, or sit on the porch as rain hits the awning.
Do not react. Relax. Reward your dog for coming outside with you.
Get them used to seeing you in the rain and being there with you.
NOTE – You may also want to read this post looking at 11 noises that dogs hate.
Final Notes On Why Dogs Hate Walking in the Rain
Dogs avoid the rain out of a natural dislike of being wet fear or because they have learned to dislike it from their owners.
The best way to encourage a dog to walk in the rain is through positive reinforcement training, noise and water desensitization, and consistency.
So, we have come to the end of this blog post looking at the question – why do dogs hate walking in the rain?
We hope that it answered your questions, but if you want to know anything else, please feel free to comment using the form directly below.
And thanks for stopping by to visit The Factual Doggo!
Tim is a proud, vetted, and experienced dog foster carer for a charity helping dog owners escape domestic abuse.
He has years of experience training and caring for dogs, both his own and other people’s.
He is an expert in canine behavior and is highly skilled in dealing with all dogs but specializes in the difficult ones that other people may struggle with.
When he isn’t fostering dogs, he is making friends with other people’s pups!