It’s wet out there! How to weatherproof your dog

December 23, 2010

It has been pouring here in Southern California  for several days now, and I am starting to wonder if our inflatable guest bed will float. As much as I love a rainy day, or five, toweling off three dogs half a dozen or more times a day is getting old. The only good thing is that none of them hesitate about going out into the most torrential of downpours. They mosey along as if it were a sunny day at the beach. Savanna the Greyhound was the same way. Even though it means I’m standing out in it, too, I’m grateful for their attitude. So often I hear about dogs who flat-out refuse to set paw outdoors when it’s raining or there’s snow on the ground.

I have a theory about that. Those dogs have learned that there’s an option. Mine have never known any alternative. Since we don’t have a yard, they must be walked outdoors. When they go out, we have to go out with them. That, of course, is the classic training technique for teaching dogs to potty outside, but in my experience it works for weatherproofing, too. Dogs will follow where we go, even if they secretly think we’re crazy to walk out into the rain or snow.

We were meeting with a new pet sitter the other day who is going to stay with the girls for a couple of days while we visit friends in Las Vegas. With all the rain we’ve been having, she very sensibly asked how the girls were about going out in it. I assured her that it wouldn’t be a problem. She says a lot of times people tell her that their dogs won’t go out in the rain, but when she takes them, they’re perfectly willing. It’s all in your attitude, I think.

Dogs are not delicate flowers. Not even Cavaliers or other toy breeds. They won’t melt if they get wet. You won’t either.  There’s a reason we have raincoats and umbrellas.

Now that I’ve had my little rant, I remember that not everyone works at home and can put this plan into practice. So if your dogs are weather-tough, how did they get that way? Is it their breed, your attitude, having company when they go out, some combination of those, or something completely different? Inquiring minds want to know.

Filed under: pets, connected — Kim Campbell Thornton @ 1:19 pm


  1. I have no problem whatsoever with the retrievers, who like their water any way they can find it with the exception of “with soap.”

    Drew the Sheltie is a different matter. He will hold it until he pops, or until I go outside with him. As you’ve observed, the team approach to getting wet works just fine. :)

    Comment by Gina Spadafori — December 23, 2010 @ 1:22 pm

  2. Most of my dogs, the schnauzers and corgis are great with the weather. The havanese however, is much less hardy. I knew I shouldn’t start him on the weewee pads and fake grass, but I just couldn’t bring myself to send or take 2 lbs of shivering puppy out into subzero weather. We struggled with the transition from indoor “facilities” to outdoor, even in nice weather, but persistence and putting him on cue is working well he races out while I stand on the patio and chant potty potty potty. Then he races back in for a cookie and a snuggle. He seems to have decided that Macbeth was right. “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly”

    He is even willing to play outside for a few minutes if the weather isn’t horrendous, but I don’t think he’s ever going to be an all weather dog.

    Comment by schnauzer — December 23, 2010 @ 1:35 pm

  3. Although I agree that our attitudes and actions have a lot to do with how our dogs react to weather (and everything else in our shared lives) I do believe their is also some temperament and personality in it, too.

    Bashir hates water. He would prefer to get all his moisture from ice and not even have to drink if possible. His most daring moment during a trip to Big Sur was to get his toes wet while all the other dogs splashed and played in the water. I swear he drowned in a previous lifetime.

    That said, he will go outside to relieve himself in the rain but then he’s back inside in a heartbeat.

    All my other dogs are fine with water.

    Comment by Liz Palika — December 23, 2010 @ 1:43 pm

  4. Want an all-weather dog? Move to the Canadian prairies :)

    I got my first dog (miniature schnauzer) when I lived out there, and we went on daily walks – rain, snow or 40 below.

    Rain has never phased him, and he thinks snow is OMG FUN!! BEST THING EVER. The 40 below, however, required the purchase of boots – they changed the attempted “alternating 3-legged potty-only, can we go in now please” to a “hey, it’s fun, why can’t we stay out longer?”

    Definitely worth the money, and the bother of getting them to stay on!

    First dog still loves all weather (and winter is much easier now that we’re back in the warm area of Canada!), and second dog (a rescue, also a miniature schnauzer) is quickly learning that no matter the weather, there is no staying inside. Hopefully this winter, she’ll learn that snow is FUN!! too :)

    Comment by K.B. — December 23, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

  5. My weather-proof 4-pack has had to get used to misty-moisty Pac Northwest weather or we’d never ever go outside. Nicky (ES) came to us as a rescue from Texas. We had an unusually heavy and wet snow his first winter with us. While doing a check on the other animals, Nicky followed along and quickly became blanketed in a heavy snow. He looked like a yak. I lost sight of him for a few minutes and found him in a little grove of pine seedlings, rubbing up against the trees to help dislodge that heavy snow…like a dog going thru the brushes of a car wash. I was fascinated by how instinctive? clever? that was of him. To our knowledge, he had never seen snow before. To this day, he is the only one of our dogs that has ever done that.

    Comment by Melinda — December 23, 2010 @ 4:19 pm

  6. Addy begs to differ; she’s quite certain she will melt if she gets wet. That’s why we have doggy boots, and both warm doggy clothing and a doggy raincoat. Once adequately protected, she has no problem with taking potty walks.

    Comment by Lis — December 23, 2010 @ 4:36 pm

  7. I only have one delicate little flower in the bunch, my dachshund. She really just prefers to do her business on the kitchen floor, thankyouverymuch, if it’s cold or wet outside. I make her go out, and then keep an eagle eye on her because she will try to fake me out. She’ll sniff a little bit, and then come running back inside like she’s all done. And she won’t pee AND poop at the same time. She has to try to get inside in between. It’s infuriating! I’ve had her since she was four years old, and she’s been that way from day one. Fortunately, none of my other dogs give wet weather a second thought.

    Comment by Sherron — December 23, 2010 @ 8:27 pm

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