One particular day this past week, Steve and I had a major dilemma. At least at the time, it seemed that way. Ever since we have had our precious little puppy, he has caused us such joy and happiness. There have been a few mornings when he has desperately needed to go out after sleeping through the night but really did not want to because the ground was wet from a night time rain or it was sprinkling rain. There was no major precipitation at the time. Just enough to bother him. It was different weather and he just stepped gingerly in the wet grass and looked at us for a sign that it was okay. We praised him, talked to him and finally he did what he needed to do after much encouragement. He indeed received his little treat for going out to do his business. Bless his heart. He has been so good and has not had an accident all through the nights since we brought him home.
This one particular day there was no sprinkling. It was torrential rain. Looking at the radar, it did not look as if it were going to stop anytime in the near future. As it happened, it did last over an hour.
When we opened the door, he looked up at us as if to say, "You must be joking." We know our puppy very well, and he could not come back in without taking care of business. There was an urgency.
So, we acted like a pair of court jesters by going out in the rain and calling him out with his treats in our hands, his favorite toys in other hands while he sat in the covered screened porch with a look on his face that said it all. "No way!" It took 30 minutes to get him out and to let him know that he was not going back in until he finished his duty. There was no scolding, there was only praise when he finally took care of what he needed to take care of, even if it did take a little push to get him out of the door. He just stood like a pitiful little puppy for a while until he finally understood that we meant business. Steve was drenched. Davis was drenched. Towels were out for everyone, as well as lots of love.
It was only 8:00 A.M. yet somehow it felt as if we had just run the marathon. Later in the day, I got the idea to ask Face Book friends to share their solutions if they had this problem. I received quite a few responses back, most telling me that their dogs were afraid of the thunder and lightning. That is not what bothers Davis. He just does not seem to like to get his paws wet or maybe he thinks it will mess up his curly curls. If anything, it made them curlier and cuter.
Some of the ideas that I received may be helpful, others I know that I could not do at all. If I had to leave the house for work or an appointment and Davis refused to go out as some friends told me their dogs do, then I am not sure what we would have done. One good friend told me that his 11 year old lab won't go out for love nor money even on a cloudy day, much less rainy, while another one told me that her rottweiler would hold it for 24 hours before going out in the rain.
I did promise Davis and Steve that I will never put him in clothes, such as a coat or jacket and that includes a raincoat. So nix that idea. Perhaps a large golf umbrella over us both, although I think it has more to do with the wet grass on his feet. Not sure about that yet. One thing that we did already try was to have a good unusual treat such as cheese. Ha! He laughed in our face with that one, just as he did with a piece of a hot dog. Food did not entice him one little bit. A person who deals with anxiety in children, suggested a thunder jacket, which are made for dogs to calm them. Davis does not seem anxious just adamant that he is not going to get wet.
Davis came from a very loving breeder, Kim. She even wrote to me with some suggestions. She said to take him for long walks in the rain so that he could get the feel of it. Really, only once did it start to rain on one of his walks and his normally excellent walking on a leash behavior turned into get me home, by pulling and tugging to hurry us up.
I even thought about putting up a tent for him to go in and take care of his business, even though I really don't want a permanent tent in that section of our backyard. Apparently, this is a problem with quite a few dogs because I googled it and I found an article that had ten suggestions to help the process of getting your dog to go out in the rain.
- spend time out in the rain with your dog to desensitize him
- try a raincoat for doggies
- umbrellas, which means you holding it over them
- go out with your dog in the rain
- if you think it is the wet grass, try going to gravel or concrete
- walking stimulates elimination, so go out on a leash for a walk (by the way, he gets a walk every day and he has yet to do his business)
- use really good treats
- praise, praise and more praise
- make a fast beeline to the house once the job is done so that your dog learns the sooner it is done the sooner you go in
- teach your dog the command "hurry" and then praise like crazy
Let's review. Most of these items we have tried and some we will not even consider. I believe continuing to work on desensitizing him to the rain by walking in the rain, praises, and teaching the command "hurry" may all help in solving our problem.
I just know that seeing two soaking wet adults calling a puppy out to the rain with treats and toys must have looked hilarious. We obviously were his entertainment for the morning. I don't think Creedence Clearwater Revival had this in mind when they sang, Have You Ever Seen the Rain?