While you may think of your dog as being your child, they are still animals. Dogs won’t melt when they get rained on. The real question is whether dogs like getting rained on or not.
If you’ve ever tried to persuade your pooch to leave their (or your) warm and cozy house to step out into the rain, you will know that dogs don’t seem to like rain at all. The question is why.
Do Dogs Like Rain?
Most dogs don’t really like getting wet, so if they are warm and dry indoors, they will be reluctant to step out into a rainstorm.
Reasons Why Dogs Don’t Like Rain
There are several reasons why dogs may not like rain and getting wet:
1. Human Conditioning
Your dog may have seen that you don’t like getting wet, or they may have been disciplined when walking into the house with wet and muddy paws.
The result of this conditioning is that they will not choose to go out into the rain unless you make them.
2. Dogs Have Powerful Senses
Dogs have incredibly powerful senses, especially their smell, sight, and hearing. When it rains lightly, dogs’ scent abilities increase dramatically. This heightened sense of smell may be great if the dog is working as a tracking dog, but for your home-bound pooch, smelling more acutely may be unnerving and even cause confusion.
When taking your dog out into heavy rain, their sense of smell may be negatively affected since all the scents are now mixed together. Dogs are instinctually driven to smell their environment so they can determine whether it is safe or where they are. When the rain is heavy and all the smells are suppressed or mixed, this can be confusing to your dog.
3. Overstimulation of Skin Receptors
Dogs have very sensitive skins. They can feel a fly land on them, so imagine the feeling of having a million raindrops landing on their coat. This could make a sensitive dog feel bombarded with sensory information, and they will show their discomfort by tucking their bodies and hanging their heads.
4. Dogs Hate Being Wet
Finally, let’s face it—dogs hate being wet. Most dogs, if not all dogs, hate taking a bath. There are some breeds that enjoy swimming, and they are genetically adapted to swim.
The American water spaniel, the curly-coated retriever, and the Labrador retriever (to name a few water breeds) are specially adapted to deal with being wet with special coats. Their curly hair, oiled coats, or flat coats help them enter the water without becoming waterlogged or thoroughly soaked.
5. Instinctual Self-Preservation
Have you noticed that a wet dog smells bad? When a dog is wet, the oils in their coat are released into the atmosphere, intensifying their body odor. While a dog is a predator, they are also prey for bigger predators, and having a strong body odor would give away their position. A smelly dog will be caught and killed by larger predators in no time at all.
When a rainstorm approaches, most dogs will seek shelter if given the chance (and if they are outdoors). Knowing that being wet makes them smell and leaves them vulnerable to attack is instinct, and also a reason why dogs don’t really like rain.
Do Dogs Like Watching Rain?
Surprisingly, dogs seem to enjoy watching rain. Of course, this depends on the kind of rain. When the rain is accompanied by loud thunder and lightning, most dogs will prefer to hide safely in their crates or under your bed. Dogs have an acute sense of hearing, and the sound of thunder scares them even more than it scares humans.
Another reason why dogs may like to watch the rain is not so much about liking it as needing to supplement their other senses. A dog’s sense used mostly in close proximity is sight, and when it rains, they lose much of their scent and auditory sensitivity, leaving them with sight only.
A dog may sit and watch the rain as a way to still monitor their environment since they can no longer smell or hear what is going on around them. Dogs may also be stimulated by the sudden flurry of movement in the rain, since there will be water dripping off leaves, puddles splashing, people running, etc., and these all capture a dog’s visual focus.
Do Dogs Like the Sound of Rain?
As a dog owner, you may have noticed that when there is strong rainfall, your dog may simply lie down and sleep. Whether this is an indication of the dog being tired or feeling relaxed is unclear. Perhaps the dog is also feeling overwhelmed by the sound of rain since it will cancel out other sounds.
Chances are your dog will simply be copying your behavior as you may like to sit back and “do nothing” while the rain falls outside. So, while it may seem like your dog is lying there enjoying the sound of rain, dogs are probably not fond of the sound.
When rain intensity increases and the decibel volume of rainfall reaches a higher point, many dogs will become restless, indicating their distress and that they don’t like the sound of rain.
Dogs may even display the following signs that they are afraid of the sound of rain:
- Getting up and laying down repeatedly
- Trying to hide
- Drooling (due to rain and humidity hyper-stimulation of their olfactory glands)
- Barking at sudden noise heard above the rain sound
Do Dogs Like to Be Walked in the Rain?
If you have an indoor pooch, you will have to take them for a “walkie” outside in the rain when it’s potty time. You may wonder if your dog really likes being walked when it is raining. Chances are they don’t.
As mentioned previously, dogs don’t like the sensation of raindrops on their coats, and they detest being wet.
What to Do When Walking Your Dog in the Rain?
In some places, it rains almost non-stop for days, which makes it inevitable that your dog will have to go for a walk in the rain. So how do you ensure your dog cooperates with you?
When walking your dog in the rain, you can take the following measures to ensure they feel safe, moderately dry, and will trust you enough to walk in the rain with you.
A Dog Raincoat
Investing in a doggy raincoat can help your dog stay dry. You can even go so far as to buy rubber dog boots that are designed to keep your dog’s feet dry when walking through puddles.
Use an Umbrella
Even using an umbrella to keep most of the rain off your dog will help make them more comfortable while they search for a place to potty.
Directionality of the Rain
Animals instinctively turn their backs to the rain. When walking your dog in the rain, try to keep their faces away from the rain’s direction. This will help keep their eyes dry, keep excess water out of their ears, and ensure they feel more comfortable.
Reward When Dry
Your dog may see getting wet during a rainstorm as punishment, so reward them profusely when you have taken them for a walk in the rain and they return home with you. This will leave your dog with a positive association to walking in the rain with you.