Rainy Days and Muddy Paws

Boy, do I dislike rainy days when I have to walk dogs but wearing the appropriate gear helps.

Frogg Toggs is my go-to for rainy day (and snow/windy day) dog walking. The rain pants and jackets are comfortable, breathable and really help keep you warm when the wind is blowing. The pants and jackets go right over my normal jeans and coat so it’s a breeze to put on and remove before I head outside. If you’re like me and have to be out in the elements, check out these Frogg Toggs products.

Doggie Rain Coats

Dogs will also be more comfortable and warm if they wear a rain coat. Yes, I’m recommending putting a coat on your dog, but you might have to do a little desensitization before you head outside. BaxterBoo has a good selection of rain coats for dogs but you can browse around the internet and find all kinds of online stores selling doggie rain gear. However, I find that with certain breeds of dogs and especially those with deep barrel chests, it’s best to try the coat on before purchasing.

Dog Scared of Wearing a Rain Coat?

In short, desensitization is the art of convincing your dog (or other pet) to not be afraid of whatever it is they’re afraid of. Some dogs are afraid of hats, the mail man, the UPS guy or any other seemingly normal thing. However, rain coats and sweaters can also cause your dog to panic and become fearful.

However, if you choose to purchase a rain coat for your dog, I recommend you make sure your dog isn’t scared to wear it before you go outside. There’s nothing like dealing with a freaked out dog when it’s lightning, raining or thundering, believe me.

Desensitization Helps Dogs Adjust

If you do need to do a little work desensitizing your dog to the rain coat, there’s multiple ways to do it depending on their level of anxiety. A normal fear of something is the bodies way of protecting itself so if your dog just scoots away from it or moves his body away a little when you go to put it on, what you can do is reward him at different points.

First, reward him for just looking at it. Do this a few times, keep it positive and treat.

Once you’ve mastered that, just brush the coat up against your dog, then treat. As long as he doesn’t run away give him a reward. Do this a few times, maybe over a few days even.

Then try and put it on him. If he stands still, treat him. Once it’s on all the way, treat again. When you go outside, give another treat. Then occasionally on your walk, offer a little treat. Upon removing it, give another treat.

You do this a few times and your dog will come running when he sees the rain coat because he’ll think it’s snack time! Gradually phase the treats out, not all at once, but just randomly stop giving treats at certain parts of the process.

Stay Positive, Don’t Freak Out About The Weather

Another thing to think about is your body language.

Your dog will pick up non-verbal cues from you so if you’re dreading going outside, your dog well sense your negative energy.

If you can remain calm, put the raincoat on and reward with a small treat, your dog will learn to associate rain with yummy goodies.

Don’t Shorten The Walk Too Much

Yes, your feet may get wet but make sure to give your dog ample time outside to potty. If you’re dressed appropriately and your dog is protected the best he can be, a 5-10 minute walk outside in the rain won’t kill him. Some dogs don’t mind being outside in the elements but others don’t want to ever get their paws wet.

One thing to remember, if you continuously shorten the walk because the weather isn’t ideal, your dog could start pottying or pooping in the house. By making sure he goes outside, even in the rain, you’re helping him have better potty habits.

Got Muddy Paws?

Use a towel to gently dry off you dog and gently lift up each foot so you can use the towel to rub off any mud. If you keep a towel and even pet-friendly wet wipes by your door you’ll be more apt to wiping down your dog and cleaning his paws as soon as you go inside.

Dog Afraid of An Umbrella?

We walk a lot of dogs in the rain and find that many dogs are also afraid of umbrellas. Don’t get me wrong, I can see how umbrellas can be scary but, a well-adjusted dog should be able to handle being near an umbrella.

If you’re thinking about having your dog be a certified Therapy Dog he has to be able to be near an umbrella, and when a person opens it to pass the Certified Good Citizen test. So making sure your dog is confident and comfortable around a small or large umbrella is important.

Stay tuned, we’ll post a blog about that Sunday.

Thank you,
Kelley Stewart, CEO|Pet Sitter
sit-stay-play In-home pet sitting & more.LLC

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