Does your dog hit his “four-paw-braking” button when you open the door to a rainstorm? Or do you have one of those canines who doesn’t mind being wet? So far, our Poppy doesn't seem to mind a rainy day. But, with some rain in the forecast, this is a good time to discuss rainy day dogs.
A dog's attitude to rain is a case where breed, age, and size may make a difference. A tiny, short-haired dog may be cold and miserable in the rain, while a hardy water dog may love a dripping wet walk.
What’s the Problem?
Mary Fuller, DVM, writing about this topic for www.vetstreet.com, points out that for some dogs rain brings on their fear of thunderstorms, “It’s not always clear what brings on the fearful behavior. It may be changes in barometric pressure, static electricity, the crack of lightning bolts or just the sound of wind and rain.”
Dr. Fuller warns that you should never punish your dog for this fear or force her into the rain, but rather use rewards like exuberant praise or treats to coax him outside. She adds that you should see your veterinarian if this behavior is becoming a real problem. A vet may be able to help with guidance or medications.
Poppy figures a good shake solves her rainy day issues.
Our last Westie Maggie Mae did not mind light rain but hated downpours. Try to see if this is the case with your dog and, when possible, watch local radar and pick a break in the storm to go out.
You could also bring along a favorite squeaky toy and a high-value treat. We suggest that the treat be something special that the dog only gets for rainy walks. This is the time for smelly treats that your dog loves. Try a piece of dried cod skin or a stinky cheese that will set your pup drooling.
Finally, try to hide your own distaste for a rainy walk because those feelings may be traveling down the leash to your dog.
Words: Penny & Ed Cherubino adapted from one of our City Paws newspaper columns for BostonZest.
Photos: ©2017 Penny & Ed Cherubino