What to do if your dog refuses to walk in bad weather

If you are a dog owner then you are bound to come across this situation at one time or another. It’s time to take your faithful hound out for his walk. He seems enthusiastic, jumping around with glee as you attach his lead to his collar. He eagerly awaits as you put on your coat and boots, but when you open the front door the smile is wiped off of his furry face and he freezes. What could be the problem? Is he scared or ill?

The chances are that your dog is absolutely fine, but its raining hard, or blowing a gale. Dogs dislike bad weather just as much as the rest of us do. Their innate instinct is to hide when appalling weather sets in. This is because doing so, when dogs lived in the wild, could have kept them safe.

Now our pet dogs still want to stay safe. They dont recognise the fact that going outside isnt going to be dangerous for them. And whats more, they are not keen on getting wet either!

If you dog refuses to walk in bad weather then, short of dragging him outside and risking appearing to others as though you are cruel as he is wrenched along the pavement, there isn’t a great deal that you can do, apart from staying in doors, or vowing to train him.

To a certain extent training is possible to help your dog overcome this problem. If he has never had to go out in bad weather before, then his difficult behaviour may well be exacerbated and he will need to learn that stepping out into bad weather isn’t harmful.

The best way to teach him this is to do so gradually. Never force your dog outside into bad weather because he will then begin to associate a bad feeling with doing so, and will be even less likely to choose to go out than previously.

Instead begin taking him out in moderately bad weather, and work your way up to letting him experience being outside when the weather is rough.

A reluctant dog, who simply doesn’t like the cold and wet, can be encouraged to leave the warmth of his home and to venture outdoors for his walk if you reward him with tasty treats as you walk. However, try to save only one type of really yummy treat for such an occasion, rather than his usual treats, otherwise he may decide its not worth the trouble.

The sort of treats which provide good results in training are little scraps of bacon, chopped up sausage and occasionally small lumps of cheese. Dogs find these foods particularly delicious. Any food which makes a dog salivate is one which will be great for training purposes.

Alternatively you can wait for the weather to clear up a little as you sit by the fire with a mug of cocoa and with your relieved dog by your side.

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