Some dogs resist going outside in rainy or snowy weather to go to the bathroom. They do not like the changes in temperature or the feel of the snow or the rain. With training and encouragement they will go outside, but you can help your dog by making the experience more tolerable.
Keep an area in your yard clear of snow for the potty area, and be consistent. Make sure the space is large enough for your dog to sniff and turn around on. Clear it as close to the ground as possible. With repetition and encouragement, your dog will get used to going to that one spot in inclement weather.
If you do not have a yard and are walking your dog for bathroom breaks, bring along a small hand shovel if they are resistant to relieving themselves on the snow. There are small, reasonably priced folding shovels available as well, which are easier to carry on an outing in the cold.
Some dogs love the cold and will go out in any weather with no problem. For those who dislike it or cannot handle the extreme cold, buy them a well fitted, warm dog coat or sweater. Get one that hugs to their body and won’t drag in the rain or snow or impede their ability to go to the bathroom. The added layer of protection may make an outing in the cold more tolerable for them.
Ice and snow can injure sensitive feet as well, and the cold can even be painful to your dog’s feet. Consider getting some dog booties to protect your dog’s feet from harsh winter conditions. Warm clothing and protective booties may make the unpleasant weather easier for your dog to handle.
Rewards and Fun
Don’t just open the door and expect your dog to go out if you aren’t willing to go out too. If it is miserable weather to you, it may be to your dog as well. Make the necessary outing a more pleasant experience for your dog. Offer a CANIDAE dog treat as a reward if your dog goes out when they do not really want to. Praise your dog for going out. Go outside with your dog to show them it is okay to be outside in bad weather. They may be more likely to step out the door if you go too. If you are hesitant, your dog may sense that and not want to go out either. They want to be where you are. Use that to your advantage in this situation.
Some weather is just too extreme for your dog to be out in. A severe snowstorm or lightning is not a good time to go out for a potty break. In that case, you may have to opt for an indoor alternative until the weather breaks.
Try using a litter box, potty pads, indoor potty grass or even a large towel that can be washed and reused to keep your dog from making messes all over the house. If you set up a specific area in the house, basement or garage as an alternative place for your dog to go, they can be trained to use that when they can’t or won’t go outside in bad weather. Whenever possible though, get them to go outside so they don’t get used to the indoor option and refuse to go potty outside.
Even though a dog’s feet and coat may seem tougher than ours, think about how you feel when you go out on a snowy or wet day. If your dog doesn’t like the cold winter weather, be sensitive to their needs and make going out in it as easy and positive as possible.
Read more articles by Laurie Darroch