Do Dogs Like Rain

do dogs like rain

The majority of dogs love the water, but often owners will find dogs that simply dislike going out in the rain. This article focuses on whether dogs really like the rain and their relationship with water.

Working dog breeds will often enjoy being out in the rain, whilst most toy breeds will not even enjoy getting wet. This is because working breeds are bred over centuries to work and live in harsh environments, whether they are wet, windy, or cold landscapes. 

Because dogs have become more familiar with the family home and the way humans live their lives, your furry pal will often choose to be in a similar environment as you choose. This article will discuss some of the reasons dogs like or dislike rain and what causes this relationship.


Do Dogs Like Rain

The general consensus when thinking about a dog’s relationship with rain is to say, yes dogs do like the rain. However many different breeds have a different idea of what they like and dislike and this includes rain too. For dogs being wet is not just to do with water, it has to do with how that water is placed on them.

Having a golden retriever has taught me a lot about a dog’s relationship with water and the many factors that govern them getting wet. For instance, my golden retriever is obsessed with water and can smell it a mile off. I will be walking him off lead in the woods and next thing you know he’s in the river splashing about. On the other hand, I have let him out in the garden to go to the toilet and it’s been raining. I notice that after a comfortable warm night in he is not so keen on going outside in the rain, making a very quick visit to the garden and back. Looking at this it seems a dog is more concerned about how they feel at the time than a complete obsession with getting wet, dogs know when it’s playtime, and they know when they are in for the night.

So when thinking about why your dog doesn’t like the rain, also think about how they feel at the time. In most cases, dogs won’t want to go out in the rain because it is cold, or they don’t like the feeling on their fur.

Do Dogs Like Walking In The Rain

Walking in the rain can also be a concern for your dog. As discussed previously it will be to do with how much your dog wants to go out for a walk, if they are desperate to leave the house and run off some of that energy they will most likely drag you out the door.

On most occasions dogs will be reluctant to leave their warm cozy home for a cold wet walk in the rain, this doesn’t mean they will feel like this the whole time. Dogs adapt to what is happening and once they get walking as well as sniffing they will soon forget about their warm cozy bed.

do dogs like rain

Should You Walk Your Dog In The Rain

It may seem that walking your dog in the rain is impossible to avoid, at some point during the year you will need to walk them. This is especially true for those of us living in wetter climates, where it seems to rain most of the time.

Many owners can be worried about walking their dog in the rain, wondering whether they should or not, it’s something that takes and quick assessment, in order to decide. Below are some questions you should be asking yourself before taking your dog out for a walk in the rain.

  1. Is it cold outside? – Owners should be asking whether it is cold enough outside that getting your dog wet is only going to lead to them being even colder. Raincoats or waterproof fleeces can help reduce this effect, so consider the option before taking your dog out in cold and wet weather.
  2. Is my dog healthy? – Another very important question to ask is whether your dog’s health is good overall. Older dogs may struggle in colder weather, not being able to walk very far. Additionally, dogs that have had an operation or are on medication should probably avoid walking in wet weather.
  3. Am I prepared? – Preparation can be key to making a difficult task easier or safer. Make sure you are going out in the correct gear, both you and your dog will appreciate coming home and not having to dry off too much. This leads to having plenty of warm towels ready for when you arrive back, microfibre towels are great for absorbing water quickly. Check out our article on “5 Ways To Dry Your Dog” for more information.
  4. Is there a better time to walk the dog? – Simply put, you could question whether the rain is going to stop or whether it will dry up later on in the day. Of course, if you are strapped for time then it can be difficult to assign time to walk your pooch, especially when you know they need a walk.

How To Get Your Dog To Walk In The Rain

Getting a stubborn dog out the door can be difficult, especially when they are a little bigger. It’s important to not traumatize them by forcing them outside in a frantic and angry manner.

I will start off by saying that introducing your dog to the rain early on in their life can be the best thing you do. Puppies are both curious and wary regarding things they have never experienced, so a slow introduction is going to help your puppy in the long term. Walking them in the garden when it’s raining can help to introduce them to the rain within an area they are already familiar with. This action will also help with toilet training as your pup won’t be scared about going to the toilet outside when it’s raining.

Using treats and a positive voice to persuade your dog out the door can be one of the best tricks. We all know our dog’s favorite treat and the use of praise can help them get used to the rain. Once they are consistently walking in rainy weather, stop using the treats as encouragement and switch to only positive praise. Hopefully, your dog will learn that the rain is not so bad and they will start to enjoy their walks.

Considering that you are going to be walking your dog in the rain, you will most likely have to wear some waterproofs. If it is possible try using an umbrella, as this can cover both you and your dog, the less rain falling on your dog at the start of the walk the easier it will be to convince them to walk. Another idea is to only take them out when it is light rain or even drizzle, this type of rain may scare them less and you can build up to taking them out in stronger weather.

Doggy raincoats are another popular choice, most owners use them on short-haired dogs to stop them from getting cold. Longer-haired dogs can also wear them but usually, these types of dogs love the water. It is probably better to try the other tips first as a raincoat may signal to your dog that it is raining outside and they are going out in it.

The last bit of advice is around preparation. make sure you have lots of dry towels ready for your pooch when they get home. Drying them off is important as it will leave them feeling less uncomfortable and they won’t resent the walk. Yes, that’s right dogs don’t forget this sort of thing, and making them feel comfortable adds to a better experience. In some cases, you are going to want to shut them into a room or part of the house don’t mind getting wet, I’m talking lots of shaking and dripping water. Make sure this area is really comfortable and has lots of their familiar toys. Again you don’t want your dog remembering that every time they go walking in the rain they get shut in this horrible room.

do dogs like rain

Do Dogs Get Sad When It Rains

Just like humans, dogs can get sad when it rains or the weather is dull and grey. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is well documented in humans but as far as dogs are concerned, limited research has been done. According to research journals “Neuroscience and Behavioral Review”  there are no animal-based models for SAD, this article follows on to highlight that sunlight can contribute heavily to an animal’s energy levels. This being said many owners suggest that their pet becomes more lethargic and depressed during the winter months. This may not only be because of the rain but due to factors such as sunlight and shortened days.

Although we have explored the biological side to your dog’s dislike of the rain, this may not be the only reason they get sad when it rains. Dogs are extremely good at playing on our emotions, after all, understanding body language is one of the main ways dogs communicate. During rainy days, it is important to understand the way in which an owner conducts themselves can have an adverse effect on their dog. For instance, if you are lounging around all day, your dog will most likely start to feel lethargic and begin acting like its owner. I often find that if I’ve had a day inside on the sofa, this causes me to become more and more lethargic until it becomes a real effort to get going again. Your dog is most likely feeling the same thing, so taking them out in the morning before your lazy day begins is a great idea for avoiding this situation.

Can Dogs Sense Rain

Falling rain disturbs the ground in a process called petrichor. Smells are then carried into the air and most dogs will smell this before any human has the chance. 

Most people will be familiar with the smell of petrichor, especially occurring after a quick heavy downpour. Dogs are able to pick up smells in the air from miles away, this is what makes them so good at tracking down lost hikers. We have a great related article on “How Long  Can A Dog Follow A Scent” for more insight into understanding your dog’s nose.

Another way in which your pooch can sense incoming rain is through barometric pressure. Barometric pressure will rise or fall depending on the type of weather present, changes in normal pressure will often indicate a storm or adverse weather. Your dog is able to sense this change in their joints, as well as using their nose to detect changes in smells. Pressure changes may create different patterns in the air causing smells to arrive at your dog’s nose in different ways.

So the answer to this question is simply yes. Look out for how your dog acts, as this may indicate incoming rain. We have a great related article on “Why Do Dogs Sit In The Rain”, for more insight into your dog’s relationship with the rain.

Should A Dog Wear A Coat In The Rain

Most dogs won’t need a raincoat if walking in the rain. Raincoats are advisable when the weather is cold and moisture would cause your dog to become cold. Short-haired dogs will be the most likely type of dog to require a raincoat whereas double-coated breeds are well protected with their own natural coat. 

If you are thinking about taking your dog out during cold months then raincoats could be a good idea, especially if you have a short-haired dog. There are many styles and types of doggy raincoats available and so picking the right one can be confusing. Making sure the fit is correct and the coat is able to stay securely on your dog without falling to one side or the other, is important.


Dogs will generally avoid the rain if they can, it’s not something they would normally enjoy being out in. Depending on the situation your dog may not even notice it’s raining. If you enjoyed this article check out our homepage for more great tips on walking and getting out and about with your pooch.

Dean Lissaman

As a child I grew up around dogs and have loved them ever since. I now have a beloved Golden Retriever who enjoys exploring the outside world. Being an outdoor enthusiast has inspired me to create the ultimate resource on relating both dogs and the outdoors. For more information on me check out my about page.

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