7 Tips to Keep Pets Safe in Winter

Most dogs don’t like going out in the rain but you can use these tips to convince them

Most of our dogs detest going out in wet weather, which means we’re either dragging them outside or cleaning up pee and poop in the house.

Don’t worry. We wouldn’t leave you high and dry when it’s raining cats and dogs. Here are some tips for getting your dog to do his business outside.

NO TIME LIKE THE PRESENT

You should have started training before the storm hit, but never mind. Wait for a lull when it’s just sprinkling to get your dog more accustomed to going out in the rain.

— Make it a fun time, playing with your dog in the light rain.

— Take dogs for short walks, praising them every time they hike their leg or squat. Offer treats to reward success.

— Misery loves company, so instead of just opening the door and expecting your dog to willingly go out and get soaked, grab the leash and go with your dog, even if it’s just in the backyard. Your dog will see that you’re out in the weather, too, so there’s nothing so bad about it (despite the fact that you’re wearing a rain slicker and boots and carrying an umbrella).

— Teach your dog the “hurry” command. You can start this anytime, not just when it’s raining. Repeat “hurry” often and when the dog does its business, heap praises and treats. The dog will soon realize what hurry means, and that can be useful when trying to get the dog in and out of the rain as quickly as possible.

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MAKE CONCESSIONS

— Some dogs are just never going to like going out in the rain. They may stubbornly refuse to do anything but stand there, looking like the most pathetic thing ever. For these dogs — or even for dogs that tolerate the rain better — create an area that is more protected from the elements. That could mean allowing your dog to use a covered patio, or providing some sort of cover near the house and over a dirt, grass or bark surface.

— Buy your dog a raincoat. If your dog tolerates wearing clothes, consider a raincoat that will give him better protection against the rain. Make sure it fits properly and that you can still secure your dog with its harness and leash.

— Still won’t go out? Invest in puppy piddle pads or a synthetic grass pad for use in the house, garage or covered area outside.

WALK IN THE RAIN

— It’s best to keep walks to a minimum during the rain. It’s cold, wet and windy out there, and no one — not even ducks — really likes being out in the elements. Keep in mind that you’re probably bundled up and still miserable. Think about how uncomfortable your dog is.

— If you are venturing outside the backyard, be sure your dog is on a leash. Thunderstorms, the occasional flash of lightning and sudden rumble from the sky, can startle or frighten your dog, causing it to run.

— The leash also will help you keep your dog moving and focused on the business at hand, or paw.

— Using a leash in backyard visits is a good idea, too, just to remind the dog why you’re out there.

— If you can, avoid going out in the heart of the storm, but if you do, watch for falling limbs and other dangers.

WHEN THE WALK IS FINISHED

— Be sure to reward your dog with praise and a treat after a successful potty break.

— Have a towel at the ready to dry your dog off. You don’t want the dog to be uncomfortable and cold from having a wet coat, not to mention the wet furniture and laps that can ensue.

— Make a schedule for when to walk the dog, and stick to it. For example, take the dog out after each meal and before bedtime. If you decide to skip a trip, your dog likely will pee or poop in the house, which then puts a wrinkle in the rain walking training.

— Take heart. The rain won’t last forever.

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