The drawbacks of rainy days for canines
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By Mickey Zeldes  February 14, 2014 12:00 am

I know we need the rain. I hate worrying about drought and water rationing, that’s for sure. So really, I’m glad we’re finally getting some rain. But there’s a part of me that’s been guiltily enjoying the nice weather we’ve had. It felt wonderful to go for some long hikes and to the beach with my dogs in January. Had to call my friends back east and rub it in.

We need the rain, but who enjoys dealing with the muddy paws and wet dogs, really? That’s such a pain. If you want your dog to stop just inside the door so you can wipe their feet before they enter the house, you have to do it consistently from the minute you bring them home. My sister-in-law, who is not a dog trainer by any means, is the only person I know who really got that concept. Every single time her dog entered the house, yes – several times every day, all year round, she made him stop and at least touched his feet briefly with the towel. That way, when it was really muddy, she had him trained to wait and have his feet cleaned off. A blessing in the rainy seasons but a pain the rest of the year. Dogs, like kids though, take consistent repetition to learn a new behavior and for some reason if you skip it just once – it’s like the training never happened. They start testing the boundaries of the pattern established to see how consistent you are going to be. Sheesh – don’t wipe their feet once and you have muddy paw prints in your house forever more.

Wet dogs have a distinct odor – have you noticed? Cats don’t seem to, but then again, unless you are actually giving your cat a bath (and most of us never do that), no healthy, self-respecting cat will get wet to the skin. Unlike my golden retriever who didn’t move a muscle when he was standing on the lawn and the sprinklers came on full force drenching him. He didn’t seem fazed at all by the explosion of water all around him. My husband and I were having dinner years ago in a nice Italian restaurant, enjoying a plate of gnocchi with Gorgonzola sauce when we both commented that the smell of the dinner reminded us of something. We couldn’t quite put our finger on it until later in the meal when it hit me. It smelled like wet dog. Haven’t been able to enjoy Gorgonzola cheese since then (hope I didn’t ruin it for you too – but seriously, can you deny the similarity?).

Another distinct drawback to rainy days is if you have a fussy dog that doesn’t like getting wet and refuses to go outside for potty-time. My sheltie is so prissy that she really doesn’t like to get even her feet wet…unless, of course, I’m standing out here with her. Then, for some reason, it’s fine. So out I go in rain shoes, pajamas and umbrella waiting for her to do her business. Going for a walk is no problem, but ask her to go out alone in the rain and you’d think I just asked her to swim across a channel filled with sharks. The panicked look on her face would be amusing if it weren’t for real.

So, much as I know we need the rain, I have to admit I’m not excited to see it. Neither is at least one of my dogs. The golden retriever? Hasn’t even noticed the change in weather.


Upcoming events

Looking for love? Find a sweetheart of a deal on a pet this week. All adult animals will be available for adoption for just $25 from Feb. 12-16 at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. Find the perfect valentine for yourself.


Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at

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