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Rainy days often bring about gloom and doom in a lot of people’s minds, and our first instinct when it rains is usually to find shelter and satisfy ourselves with rainy day activities like reading a good book or binge watching our favorite television show.
While most of us would prefer our four-legged friends to curl up on the couch with us, we may find ourselves at odds with those dogs who seemingly prefer to be out and about during the poor weather conditions.
Why do some dogs prefer to stay out in the rain, though?
Most dogs who prefer to stay out in the rain are doing it because they enjoy it and are having fun. Certain breeds may feel comfortable out in the rain, or they may stay in the rain because they are hot or enjoying the different smells the rain brings.
In this article we’ll take a look at the most likely reasons as to why your pup is opting to stay outside in the drizzle, and when it may be something more than just them having fun.
We’ll also look at how you can make sure your pup is safe while playing out in the rain, what can happen if your dog stays out in the rain for too long, and how you can teach your dog to come in from the rain on cue.
6 Possible Reasons Why Your Dog Likes To Stay Out In The Rain
While each individual dog may have their own reasons as to why they are staying out in the rain (and can even vary from rainstorm to rainstorm!), there are a few common reasons your own dog may prefer staying outside in the rain:
Reason #1: Your Dog Just Likes The Rain
Just like people, there are some dogs who prefer being out in the rain more than others. While some dogs may prefer snoozing away during a rainstorm, others may wish to be outside in it.
While we sometimes think of the rain as being a gloomy time and we can get upset about how it may interrupt our plans, for some dogs the arrival of rain indicates a fun time!
Dogs can also enjoy jumping in puddles, rolling around in the mud, and just generally enjoying the feeling of rain on their bodies.
If your dog chooses to stay outside in the rain, it’s very likely it’s because he actually enjoys it and is having fun.
Reason #2: Your Dog Is Hot And Wants To Cool Down
If you live in a warmer climate, your dog may also choose to stay out in the rain because he is hot and wants to cool his body down.
This is especially true if you have a dog who tends to overheat easily, a breed like the Siberian Husky that is considered a “cold weather” dog, or their coat makes them feel hotter than normal.
While a dog’s coat generally keeps them cool (which is why it’s not always a great idea to shave their coats), there’s no doubt that the occasional romp in the rain will cool them down even further.
Reason #3: Your Dog Is Interested In The Powerful Smells Brought Out By The Rain
A dog’s sense of smell is 10,000 to 100,000 times stronger than a person’s and they possess more than 300 million scent receptors (compared to a human’s 6 million receptors), thus they are more easily able to pick up on the slightest of smells.
Rain, wind, and objects can all impact the way a scent travels and its strength, so when there is a rainstorm (or just after a rainstorm has passed through), it’s likely your pup may want to stay outside to smell all the changes in the air.
They can pick up a scent from up to 12 miles (20 kilometers) away, and if the rain has amplified that scent, your dog is more likely to want to stay outside to investigate the source of the smell further.
Reason #4: Your Dog’s Breed Is Used To Being Outside
Some breeds of dogs may be more prone to feeling more comfortable out in the rain than others.
This especially true for a lot of working dogs, such as the Great Pyrenees or the Newfoundland.
Dog breeds who have a water-repellent coat (such as many sporting breeds, like the Chesapeake Bay Retriever) may also feel more comfortable out in the rain because it’s likely they don’t even really feel the dampness from the rain drops.
Dog breeds who have thicker or double coats can also feel right at home out in the storm. Great Pyrenees are a great example of this and you can see a pair of rain-soaked and muddy Great Pyrenees having a great time here:
Reason #5: Your Dog Could Be Afraid To Come Inside
If your dog normally does come inside while it’s raining, but they are suddenly choosing to stay outside, then the reason could actually be more of a concerning one.
If your dog was injured, scared, or otherwise traumatized while inside the house, they may feel that being outside in the rain is actually safer for them than returning to the house.
If you are concerned this may be a reason as to why your dog is choosing to stay outside in the rain, investigate the root cause of what may have happened with your dog to make him so afraid to come inside, and then use positive reinforcement and reward-based training to help encourage him to return to the house.
Reaching out to a reputable dog trainer in your area may also help your dog overcome her fear.
Reason #6: Your Dog May Be Ill Or Injured
Another reason your dog may be staying out in the rain for longer than they normally would is because they might be ill or injured.
If your dog has any kind of digestive upset, they may prefer staying outside until they feel well enough to come back inside.
If you have a larger backyard where you can’t easily locate where your dog is, and they do not return when it begins raining, you may find it wise to go and look for them as they could have sustained an injury or gotten stuck somewhere and need your assistance.
If any kind of medical issue is suspected as being the cause for your pup staying so long outside in the rain, it’s best to reach out to your veterinarian to have them perform a checkup.
Is It Bad If My Dog Stays Out In The Rain?
While occasionally staying out in the rain for an extended period of time won’t bother most dogs, it’s still important for dog owners to monitor their pup’s health and the possible reasons as to why their dog might be staying out in the rain.
For puppies, senior dogs, dogs with thin skin, or dogs who are suffering from a health issue, it’s probably best to limit how long they stay out in heavier rain or when the rain is accompanied by harsh winds and colder temperatures.
For dogs who tend to ignore their discomfort in favor of all the exciting smells, puddles, and mud that they can enjoy, an owner may also need to step in and encourage their dog to come inside to prevent their pup from getting sick.
Lightning is also a big concern if your pup enjoys staying out in the thunderstorms. Lightning can strike from over 10 miles (16 kilometers) away and can still injure or even kill a dog left outside in the rain, so if you hear thunder or see lightning, it’s safest to bring your pup inside.
Finally, some owners simply do not want their dogs staying out in the rain for extended periods of time due to the “wet dog smell”, mud, or their dog’s coat getting messed up from the rain and wind.
What Can I Do To Make It Safer For My Dog To Play In The Rain?
If you have a pup who enjoys being out in the rain, you can make it safer for them to play and give yourself peace of mind.
Providing access to shelter, such as an insulated dog house or a covered porch, is one of the best things you can do and allows your dog to take breaks from playing in the rain. These are also great options if you have a dog who enjoys being outside in the rain but does not necessarily enjoy getting wet!
If your residence has access for one and it’s safe for your dog, you can also install a doggy door so that your pup can come and go as he pleases and can enjoy the rain for as long as he wants.
Providing your dog with a fresh bowl of clean water will also prevent them from drinking from puddles, which could potentially contain harmful chemicals such as anti-freeze that has been washed into them from the driving force of the rain.
While your dog is playing outside in the rain, listening for thunder and watching for lightning will ensure that you can call your dog in at a moment’s notice to prevent them from potentially being struck.
How Do I Get My Dog To Come In From The Rain?
If your pup has a tendency to stay out in the rain longer than you would like, you can use basic obedience training to help encourage them to come inside when you ask them to.
Instilling a solid recall (before it rains!) is not only a great skill for your dog to have anyways, but it will help when it’s raining, and you need to call them to come inside from the comfort of the doorway.
Using positive reinforcement and reward-based training are the best way to help your dog understand how to do come when called.
Making sure your dog always associates coming when called with good things will keep him from ignoring you and providing him with something fun to do inside the house will provide additional enrichment when he can’t play out in the rain.
Even though we humans may not always enjoy the rain, if our pups seem to enjoy it then as long as it’s safe for them to do so there is no reason to prevent them from staying out while it’s raining.
Most of the time your dog is choosing to stay out in the rain because they are having fun, or they have smelled something interesting.
Rarely is it a cause for concern, but if you do suspect there is something more negative behind why your dog is staying out in the rain, reach out to your vet a or a local dog trainer to investigate the possible reasons.
But if you’re sure your dog is just having fun, then it’s fine to just let them be!