Whole Dog Journal's Blog January 23, 2012

Rain Dogs

Posted at 11:20AM - Comments: (11)

I can’t complain in any way about the rain. We’ve had a freakishly dry winter so far; the last rain we had, until just a few days ago, was around Thanksgiving. But it’s pouring now and has been, on and off for a few days. Which impacts the dogs’ daily plans and our exercise schedules.

My dogs are used to spending anywhere from two to five or so hours outside during the day (ever since Tito the Chihuahua moved in with us, and Tito sleeps indoors, Otto has decided that sleeping indoors every night is for him, too). They patrol for stray cats and UPS drivers, they investigate all alarms sounded by the neighbor dogs and our three hens, they keep a sharp eye peeled for their friend Max, who walks by with his owners once or twice a day and visits through the fence, they doze in the sun (if there is any), and they accompany my husband on his travels from our back door to the door to his office, about 40 feet away. Back and forth, for coffee, bathroom breaks, whatever. On some days, they accompany me two blocks away to my new office, and then patrol the yard at that address for the even more abundant stray cats. Big fun.

At this point, with two well-behaved, well-adjusted adult dogs, I usually take them for two or three off-leash walks a week. The rest of the week, they make do with their outdoor time, the short walk to my office, and whatever spontaneous “chase the ball” or tug of war sessions may break out during my breaks from the computer.

The rain cancels ALL that fun; they want to be indoors when it’s wet, and I can’t blame them. But the boredom brought on by all the cancelled events means there is an even higher expectation and need for a really good off-leash run -- which means I’m going to have to get wet. And they are going to get wet. And my car (or at least, the seat cover on the back seat) is going to get wet. And we’re all going to smell like wet dogs. And I’m going to have to wash an extra load of laundry every other day, just for the towels.

They don’t mind taking a walk or run in the rain, fortunately. (I hate the anticipation of being wet and cold; once I’m dressed for the rain and actually out there on a trail with them, I don’t mind it a bit.) I’ve known other dogs who have to be forced to walk in the rain, who trail along sulkily and are reluctant to go potty outdoors in bad weather.

If I don’t manage to take them for a good long run in the rain, they get drawn into way more squabbles with the adolescent cats, there are far more things that require alarm barking and investigation than usual, there are far more balls dropped on our feet and noses nudged under our elbows . . . no one gets to work hard and solidly until the dogs get their rainy run. Which means I need to go suit up now!

How does the winter weather affect your dog’s life? What accommodations do you make for rain or snow?

How does your dog react to the rain or snow that this season drops on our heads? Some dogs thrive on it while others refuse to go outside. We would love to hear about your pup!

Comments (11)

I have a long haired chi, he will not go out in the rain, however as soon as he sees snow he starts to whine and cry to go out. He doesen't even mind the coat he has to wear!

Posted by: Unknown | January 25, 2012 1:20 PM    Report this comment

My nine year old Golden loves to be outside regardless of the weather. He doesn't notice the rain and sometimes will not come inside when I call him. I affectionately call him pipgen, because he loves to be dirty!
He's a crazy puppy in the snow too. I wouldn't have it any other way - I guess. ;)

Posted by: Cindy G | January 25, 2012 8:55 AM    Report this comment

I have two rescue dogs--both around 5-6 years old as far as we can tell. Both are inside dogs--I do not have a securely fenced yard but they do get free time at a friend's yard and occasionally dog parks. Otherwise we do long walks (2-2.5 miles) as often as weather allows). The Sheltie/shepherd mix usually isn't concerned about the weather--she enjoys her daily "morning meditation" time on the thether. The Boston Terrier prefers to be inside mostly during the winter periods. Once the weather warms in the spring and summer he likes to be out more but in colder weather I have to actually bribe him with treats to go out to pee!

Posted by: PJKutscher | January 24, 2012 6:28 PM    Report this comment

What is it about those Labs? I have 2 Lab mixes. Both really don't like the rain, but are in love with the snow. The female doesn't even want to potty when it's raining, but doesn't mind being in chest high snow.

Posted by: lora j | January 24, 2012 3:43 PM    Report this comment

My Jack Russell puppy absolutely must be exercised every day in order to preserve any semblance of sanity in the house. I have horses so we utilize the round pen at the barn for play sessions in the mud and muck. "A tired Jack Russell is a good Jack Russell" is my motto!

Posted by: Unknown | January 24, 2012 11:48 AM    Report this comment

Ha, had to laugh. I am from Vancouver, BC and if my pups didn't tolerate the rain, they would definitely have some problems :)
I have my own dog and foster rescue dogs - I take them out for 2 walks per day for about 1 hour, 3 hours on the weekend. We go out everyday in the typical Vancouver winter weather - light rain, heavy rain, and torrential downpours. Rain coats are very handy and needed in this type of weather - helps to minimize that wet dog smell and keeps the mud off of them.

Posted by: Anjela G | January 24, 2012 11:33 AM    Report this comment

We have six rescued/adopted dachshunds and only the doxie-mix is unconcerned about rain. He's very old, almost blind & deaf and will calmly TCB no matter the weather. The other five are typical dachshunds - they hate the rain! They'd play outside for hours in a blizzard (if allowed), hiding the ball/toy under the snow and then "finding" it, but rain - ha! So, we watch for breaks in the downpours to coax them outside for BMs and place lots of wee pads near the patio door. The pads are wonderfully absorbent, unlike the doxies. And no, they will never wear froo-froo outfits or booties. They're all hound - even my sweet little girl is a tomboy... But, we love them to pieces and understand after 45 years of doxies, rain's just not their thing.

Posted by: Unknown | January 24, 2012 9:43 AM    Report this comment

We just rescued a Lag mix puppy (6 mos old) from a high kill shelter in SC. (We are in NJ) The puppy, Daisy, is extremely malnourished--my vet called her a "bag of bones". I was afraid to have her outside too long in the bitter cold because she has no reserve. So we just ran her around. Daisy started having severe diarrhea & she was diagnosed with protozoa & tape worms. So I can't take her on walks around the neighborhood until the infestation is clear. The weather is defnitely working against us. In the house we have to watch her like a hawk, because she gets bored and tries to chew everything but her toys. It's very difficult to distract her. I can't wait to be able to take her on extended walks!

Posted by: sheila0405 | January 24, 2012 9:41 AM    Report this comment

My 6 year old Labrador will hold it hours longer than necessary in the rain. She only goes out as a last resort. However she turns into a puppy in the snow. This past weekend her demeanor changed both outside the house and inside. It was like she was 2 years old again. It is nice to see her acting young again. She even consents to play with the younger annoying dog, which makes everyone involved happy. As much as I hate the snow myself, I love the effects it has on my dogs.

Posted by: mweidman | January 24, 2012 9:37 AM    Report this comment

We walk 45 minutes at 4:45 am every weekday morning (later on weekends) rain, shine, snow, sleet, tornadoes, freezing cold. The dogs get walked 3 more times a day, varying lengths and terrain no matter the weather, they tolerate the rain, one more than the other but they both love the snow, chasing snowballs is the best game ever!

Posted by: Amy M | January 24, 2012 9:34 AM    Report this comment

My dogs thrive on the snow. Two high drive English setter boys love bounding through the snow for an hour or two on ski treks, snowshoes, or hikes. We're always hoping for more snow up here in Vermont.
-Melissa

Posted by: Melissa S | January 24, 2012 4:42 AM    Report this comment

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