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Why Does My Dog Stay Out in the Rain? 6 Likely Reasons

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

Sad dog waiting alone at home. Labrador retriever looking through window during rain

Sad dog waiting alone at home. Labrador retriever looking through window during rain

It seems like dogs don’t agree with our perspective of rain being a disruptor in our daily lives. They seem to cherish such moments, probably due to the fact that those wet conditions often trigger a feeling of excitement.

We’ll never know for sure why they love spending time out while it’s raining, but there are a few possible reasons, which we’ll discuss below.

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The 6 Reasons Why Your Dog Stays Out in the Rain

1. Dogs Love Spending Time Outdoors

Most dogs were bred to spend most of their lives outside. You could be thinking it has something to do with the rain specifically when in reality, it’s just that they enjoy being outside. Take the Border Collie, for example. They were originally bred in Scotland to help farmers herd sheep. But nowadays, they’ve been turned into family pets. They’ll certainly not want to stay indoors just because the conditions are wet outside.

Even if the breed has been domesticated for decades, it won’t erase centuries worth of breeding history.

border collie dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: Peter Galleghan, Shutterstock

2. Rain Is Exciting

Dogs can tell if the weather is too cold to go out, as well as if it’s favorable. Therefore, if you see them scratching the door while it’s raining, they already know it’s not freezing. The sound of the rain, or even just the novelty of it, seems to be exciting for them, especially for dogs that love water.

3. Prey

Amphibians love rain more than anything else. The rain normally allows them to not only migrate safely but to also breed. You might not be able to hear their movements during a light downpour, but your dog can.

Our dogs’ sense of hearing is far better than ours. They can easily pick up a sound that’s more than 80 feet away,1 and considering they are born predators, they’ll want to check it out. Not even the rain will be able to subdue that strong prey drive.

Dog watching the rain fall
Image Credit: Jamon Mayes, Shutterstock

4. Pheromones

Researchers believe that our urban environments have exposed dogs to a lot of olfactory noise. As a result, the sex pheromone signals that are normally sent to the male species by a female on heat are so diluted that they don’t get to the target.2

But when it rains, the humidity in the atmosphere increases. This in turn lowers the temperature in the air, which leads to the intensification of the signals. Thus, a male dog can sense a female on heat easier after a shower.

5. Protection

Dogs, especially guard dogs, can sense barometric pressure changes in the atmosphere. As the pressure shifts, so does the electrical charge in the air molecules, and dogs can detect that. They may start to act up to warn you of what’s coming. As the storm approaches, they’ll go out to “battle” it as they feel a need to protect you.

Women doing dog training in a brindle colored cane corso mastiff in the forest
Image Credit: BoJack, Shutterstock

6. Fear

They say fear is an incredible stimulus, and it can trigger any type of response. It could be that your dog wants to leave the house while it’s raining because it’s worried or afraid of something or someone. Dogs tend to detect changes in their parent’s mood, so it could be you or another family member causing your dog to be afraid.

Is It Okay for My Dog to Stay Out While It’s Raining?

If the dog wants to go out and have fun in the rain, let them have their fun, as long as it’s not too cold. But you shouldn’t let them stay out there for an extended period, as they could get sick.

The other huge concern is lightning. It’s probably wise to not let your dog out of the house if you reside in areas that frequently experience lightning storms.

Image Credit: woodHunt, Shutterstock

How Can You Keep Your Dog Safe While Playing in the Rain?

Quite frankly, it’s impossible to guarantee safety in situations that involve a natural phenomenon. But that doesn’t mean that you should do nothing. Invest in an insulated doghouse that will provide shelter should your dog feel the need to take breaks. Don’t forget to also buy a pair of rain boots and a cozy raincoat.

The boots have to fit snugly, as they are designed to protect their paws. The coat, on the other hand, will keep them warm and dry.

Divider 5Final Thoughts

It’s abundantly clear that dogs love playing in the rain more than we do. However, the reasons why they choose to leave the house to spend time outside might not always be obvious or even positive. They could be leaving due to fear, an overwhelming scent, or even a medical condition. Regardless, if your dog chooses to stay outside while it’s raining, make sure they are well protected.

Featured Image Credit: Jaromir Chalabala, Shutterstock

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