Why Does My Dog Stay out In the Rain?

Small white dog staying out in the rain looking sad

There are a few reasons that a dog might sit outside in the rain, including that it simply enjoys the sensation of the water on its fur, the house is too hot, it can smell something interesting, or there is an issue inside the house that is deterring it from coming indoors. Dogs often play in the rain.

It is ordinary for dogs to stay out and play in the rain, and you shouldn’t worry about it as long as the temperatures aren’t too low. If the dog is unwell or it is very cold outside, you should encourage it to come inside and dry it off with a towel.

Reason One: Enjoying The Sense Of Water

Some dogs simply enjoy the feeling of the rain on their coats. If your dog likes the water, it may well go outside and either run around or sit down. Some dogs seem to enjoy just sitting and letting the water fall on them, for no reason beyond the sensation.

If your dog likes the feeling of the rain, it will probably beg to go out when the rain starts. It is up to you whether you let your dog out or not, but you should make sure that it can get back into the house when it has had enough of being outdoors.

Try and have a towel ready and keep the house warm so that your dog can bring its body temperature up and get dry.

Reason Two: The House Is Too Hot

If your dog does not seem to enjoy the rain, but it is refusing to come indoors, it may be because your house is too hot. Many of the double-coated breeds struggle with the heat inside our homes, and those that evolved in cold environments may be more comfortable outside.

Dogs that may struggle with hot homes include Huskies, Samoyeds, Malamutes, Bernese Mountain Dogs, German Shepherds, and Saint Bernards. If you have one of these breeds, or one of the other cold weather dogs, it might well decide that it is more comfortable out in the rain, where it is cooler.

The rain will bring the air temperature down, and help your dog to stay cool. Don’t be surprised if your dog wants to go out into the rain when your home is hot.

Reason Three: Interesting Scents

One of the biggest reasons that dogs enjoy the rain is because it increases the amount of smells they can detect. Rain helps scent particles to travel, and because dogs depend so heavily on their noses, they are usually keen to explore when it is raining.

The rain gives a dog a lot of mental stimulation because it will carry smells that they don’t usually encounter, and for a dog, this is extremely interesting. Remember, dogs use their sense of smell extensively, and the rain brings up a wealth of scents for them to explore.

The rain will also wash away scents, so your dog might be keen to get outside and pick up on them before they are gone.

Reason Four: An Issue In The House

Your dog might be reluctant to come into the house if there is some issue in there. This will not always be heat related, as some dogs like to be kept warm and cozy. There are a lot of things that could deter your dog from coming inside, including:

  • There are strangers in the house
  • Someone is vacuuming and your dog dislikes the noise
  • The house has an unpleasant smell
  • Someone has been using strong chemicals
  • Something has frightened your dog
  • Another pet is making your dog uneasy

If your dog seems reluctant to come in but unhappy in the rain, you should try and work out if something in the house is bothering it. You can tell if your dog is unhappy if it is sitting with its head and ears down, and its body posture is tense. 

It may appear lethargic and miserable, or it might bark at the door but refuse to come into the house.

If this happens, you should try to work out what is upsetting your dog. Think about anything that has changed recently. It could be something as simple as having changed the brand of cleaning supplies that you use.

Strangers – both people and animals – in the house might make the dog nervous and reluctant to come inside. When you have guests over, make sure your dog feels secure and has a space that it can retreat to without going into the rain.

Reason Five: Playing

Many dogs do not like the rain, but a lot seem to really enjoy playing in it. Dogs that are introduced to the rain as puppies are often more willing to play in it, and seem to enjoy it more. Dogs that have not been let outside in the rain much as puppies are less likely to play outdoors when it rains.

You will know if your dog is just playing, because it will chase its tail, run around, and bark at the rain. It may toss its toys around, or simply run laps around the garden. Essentially, it will behave as it does when it is sunny. It may even try to chase leaves or eat the rain.

As long as your dog is having fun, you don’t need to worry about it being in the rain unless it is really cold and your dog is a short-coated breed. Even then, most dogs will not get cold if they are running around.

Reason Six: Scent Marking

As mentioned, the rain washes away scents in the garden, so your dog might want to stay outside in order to replace the scents. Domestic dogs mark their territory just as wild dogs do, and because the rain will wash their scent away, most dogs are eager to replace their markings.

Your dog will likely wait until the rain finishes before it starts marking the boundaries of its territory, but some dogs may try to do so while it is still raining. If your dog is only out there to mark its territory, you may be able to call it in when it has finished, and it should come inside.

If your dog does mark its territory in the rain, it will probably do it again when the rain has stopped.

Reason Seven: It Feels Its Territory Is Threatened

Your dog might be reluctant to come into the house if it feels another dog is likely to encroach on its territory. This will not be related to the rain, but territorial concerns can encourage the dog to stay out regardless of the weather.

It can be a challenge if your dog feels it needs to guard its territory, but the issue should usually resolve itself given a bit of time.


Dogs stay out in the rain for a number of different reasons, and you may not always be able to work out exactly what is encouraging your dog to get wet. Often, it will simply be enjoying playing, splashing, and exploring the new smells released by the falling water.

Sometimes, there may be an issue that is keeping it outside. Watch your dog’s body language to help yourself determine what’s going on.

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