- By Karin Spicer Contributing Writer
April showers bring … Teddy, our lab, not wanting to do his business outside. Most dogs don’t.
It doesn’t matter the intensity of the rain either.
The pooch nudges the bells on our sliding backdoor — his signal for wanting to go out. He waits as one of us slides the door open and walks through the screened porch to the outside door.
We call “Teddy” and he prances to the door and pokes his head outside. Downpours and showers are a definite “no.” He abruptly turns and heads back inside the house.
If it’s lightly sprinkling or spitting the occasional drop, he’ll walk to the edge of the deck and evaluate the situation. If it’s too wet for him, Teddy again turns around and heads inside.
It’s not that Teddy doesn’t like water.
He loves swimming with his playgroup pals and romping around Lake Michigan’s water’s edge.
“Dogs probably don’t like going out in the rain for the same reason we don’t — it is just unpleasant,” Dr. Bonnie Beaver, professor at Texas A&M University, says at rover.com.
Bellashouseandpets.com documents the three most common reasons dogs don’t like the rain. They are thunderstorm phobias, pelting drops hitting their bodies and that their ears are sensitive to the sound of the rain.
Teddy isn’t rattled by thunder, and loud sounds usually don’t bother him. It’s mainly the rain hitting his body that stops him from venturing outdoors to relieve himself.
Specifically, Teddy hates getting his head wet. It doesn’t matter what form the rain takes. From drizzle to downpour, he hates it all. The pooch doesn’t like his head washed or wiped down, either.
As for getting a dog outside to do his business, Vetstreet.com offers simple suggestions.
First, take the dog on a short walk. Most dogs will do their “thing” much faster on a walk then standing alone in the yard. You may not want to get wet, but remember your pooch doesn’t either.
When it’s raining at the lake, my husband, Ed and Teddy have a short route they take. Nine times out of 10 this approach gets results.
Second, praise your dog after he’s done. Think of it as praising a toddler going through potty training. Praise or treats reinforce behavior.
When Teddy comes in from the rain, we heap a ton of praise on him. If it’s raining particularly hard, he’ll get cheese cubes for his efforts. You would think he just won Best in Show at the Westminister Dog Show the way we lavish praise on him.
Finally, keep the dog as dry as possible. Share your umbrella. Dress your pooch in rain gear. Take him to a space that’s protected from the rain.
Teddy doesn’t have a rain coat, but Ed carries a large golf umbrella that covers them both.
When Teddy comes inside we towel his head first then move down the rest of his body. The goal is to remove the excess water before he shakes it everywhere.
Usually, he beats us to it.