You know the drill.
As soon as the first drop of rain falls, your dog needs to pee. Inevitably, though, revealing pouring rain through an open back door only sends them running back in.
It’s a problem that has plagued humans since the beginning of “indoor dogs”: How do you train your dog to pee when it’s raining outside — especially if it’s really pouring down?
9 Ways to Train Your Dog to Pee When It’s Raining
1. Start Them Young
There’s no better way to raise a weatherproof dog than to start house-training them young.
Your first instinct will be to protect your puppy from the elements, and of course, if the weather’s dangerous, keep them inside.
On days when it’s raining, though, make a point to take your puppy outside frequently. Continue with your regular house-training and simply add the element of rain.
Your puppy won’t want to go outside, of course, but teaching them to do so will create a carefree adult dog when it comes to getting wet.
2. Use a Raincoat
Again, it’s best if you start them young with this one, but regardless, using a doggy raincoat might ease at least some of their anxiety when it comes to braving the rain.
You can get dog raincoats of all sizes online or in your local pet store. Find one that doesn’t cover their back end and that they can see out of. (It sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised how oddly some dog raincoats can fit.)
To get your dog comfortable wearing the raincoat, have them wear it consistently, even when it’s not raining (only when they’re not at risk of overheating, of course).
Getting them comfortable in it during dry weather and then in the rain will turn wearing a raincoat into a “norm.”
“A rain jacket can make wet weather a little more tolerable, while dogs who dislike wet or cold pavement or grass can be trained to wear special booties to protect their paws,” says Mikkel Becker, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, CDBC, a reward-based dog trainer.
3. Use Treats and Love
As with any new behavior or trick, train your dog with lots of praise, treats and love.
Start small by giving them praise for simply walking outside in the rain and build up from there.
The first time your dog pees in the rain, let them know how proud you are. Continue those efforts until your dog is excited to go out in the rain (or at least not resistant to it).
4. Go Outside With Them
Yep, you and your dog are in this together.
What better way to show them good behavior than by partaking in it with them?
To help your dog learn to go potty in the rain, grab your umbrella and walk out with them. But make sure that you’re not adding to their anxiety. Keep a cool and calm demeanor, giving them loving praise throughout.
The last thing you want is to make them feel like they’re in trouble just for being outside.
5. Create a Rain Shelter
A common method for initially house-training dogs is to take them to the same spot outside every time they need to go.
You can continue those efforts by covering that spot (or any spot) in your yard with a large umbrella or shelter.
If your dog knows exactly where to go when it’s raining, they won’t need to waste time sniffing around the yard, getting wet all the while. Instead, they can hightail it to their covered ground and “get in and get out,” as they say.
PetMD puts it this way:
“Get your dog used to a specific bathroom spot when the weather is pleasant. If you keep taking him to the same place to go to the bathroom, he will eventually understand the connection. Then, when it’s raining or snowing, you can take him to the same area to trigger that connection.”
6. Train With a Cue
Just like you’ve trained your dog to “Sit” and “Stay,” train them to “Go potty” on cue, too.
Work on that cue when it’s not raining, and make sure they have it down. Then, continue your efforts when the rain starts to pour.
Yes, it’ll mean going outside with them, but the more efficient they get at peeing on command, the less time you’ll both spend in the rain — totally worth it.
Becker says, “Every time my dogs are let outside, they are asked to potty and are rewarded when they are done, regardless of whether they pee quickly or need more time to poop.”
7. Go for Walks
Just as starting them young will help desensitize your dog to the rain, so will going for walks when it’s wet outside.
The next time it lightly rains outside, take your dog for a walk.
Most dogs get so excited for their walks they’ll likely forget all about the rain. In fact, you’ll probably notice them “doing their business” like it’s nothing at all.
The more walks you take in the rain, the less being wet will bother your dog. Eventually, they won’t even think twice about going outside to pee when it’s raining.
Watch how these dogs deal with the rain:
8. Get Excited When They’re Finished
This one’s sort of like giving your dog praise once they’ve peed outside — think of it as a “bonus.”
As soon as your dog’s finished going potty, show them your excitement and have them sprint inside.
Not only will they love it, but quickly running inside will also teach them that the faster they go to the bathroom, the sooner they get to go back in. Not a bad deal, is it?
9. Be Patient
Let’s face it: Going to the bathroom in the pouring rain doesn’t sound like much fun.
Would you want to do it?
Be patient if you’re training your dog to pee when it’s raining. Understand the discomfort involved in what they’re doing. Not only is having a wet coat no fun, but walking around in the soggy grass probably doesn’t feel good on their feet, either.
Training your dog to pee when it’s raining won’t be an overnight endeavor, so give them time and remember to stay patient. The more calm you are throughout the process, the faster your dog will catch on.