Does your pooch keep their paws off the grass as if they’re walking on hot coal?
And refuse to step on it whenever it’s moist.
Do they dislike getting their paws wet?
Or are they scared to go outside?
Read on to find out:
- Why they seem afraid of turf in general.
- What makes your dog avoid damp lawns.
- If it’s possible for canines to be allergic to grass.
- 7 useful tips on how to help them get through this.
- And many more…
Table of contents
- Why won’t my dog walk on wet grass?
- Why won’t my dog walk on grass?
- 13 reasons why your dog won’t walk on (wet) grass
- 7 tips on what to do if your dog doesn’t like (wet) grass
Why won’t my dog walk on wet grass?
Your dog won’t walk on wet grass because the moist turf: stings their injured foot pads, is slippery to walk on, or feels cold and unpleasant. It could also be due to their anxiety after something bad happened to them in the yard, developing a storm phobia, or absorbing your distaste of getting wet.
Why won’t my dog walk on grass?
Your dog won’t walk on grass in general because they’re: allergic to it, not exposed to this surface at an early age, or having a fear period. They may also smell pesticides, hate the feeling of specific weeds, have a traumatic experience, or be uncomfortable with the turf rubbing on their belly.
13 reasons why your dog won’t walk on (wet) grass
Why your dog won’t walk on wet grass
#1: Their paw pads will hurt
Is this a new behavior for your pooch?
Then your isn’t afraid of wet grass. But they’ve likely injured their feet.
They may have cuts, sores, or scraped spots in their paws that you’re not aware of. And when liquids seep inside, it makes the pain unbearable.
“How come they’re not limping or whining at all?”
This is because canines hide their pain.
Psychologists say that this has roots in their ancestors. It’s a defense mechanism from other animals since living in the wild is tough.
So if you show signs of weakness, you’re making yourself vulnerable to others.
Note: Inspect your dog’s paws. Check even the spaces between their tiny fingers as the injury may not be easily seen. If you find one, treat it immediately.
You might also wonder: Why does my dog sit in the corner?
#2: It’s slippery when wet
Like the familiar sign says, soaked surfaces are slithery. So your pooch might be anxious walking on moist grass.
But, they could also feel unsafe if they have less traction in their paws.
This can happen if their foot pads are dry. Or if they have long fur on their feet.
These reduce friction on smooth surfaces – making walking more difficult.
Note: Old dogs are likely to be anxious too. This is because getting up and preventing falls will be harder at their age. To help them, set up a new toilet spot instead so they won’t need to go out anymore.
How can you make them pee in a different place? Read this article next.
#3: It feels cold and unpleasant
It’s also possible that your pooch doesn’t like the cold feeling of damp grass.
Apart from the wet surface, the temperature outside might be chilly as well. And your dog prefers to stay warm indoors.
For this reason, short-hair breeds could be more reluctant to walk because they get cold easily. Say, Hounds, and Whippets. The same also goes for dogs who are small, young, and old.
They’re different from thick-furred ones like Huskies who love staying in the cold outdoors.
Note: Temperatures below 45° F (7° C) are considered chilly for our furry friends.
#4: They’re not a fan of rain
Some dogs might see puddles as a playground.
But there are also others who don’t enjoy it. And your pooch could be one of them.
Storm phobia is observed in some canines. And this can be the reason why your dog is afraid to step on the lawn – especially after a strong rain.
If they do have this, they’ll exhibit signs like:
They could also be terrified of other things related to storms, like shower sounds.
As well as sudden loud noises, such as fireworks and sirens.
#5: They had a bad experience
Another thing that might be stopping them is a negative association.
Your dog could be playing in your yard. Then suddenly, lightning strikes and rain starts to pour.
Or, they might be heavily scolded after walking on wet grass before. And they’re always reminded of this situation.
Check out also: Why doesn’t my dog howl?
#6: They’ve picked up your fear of getting wet
Dogs have lived with humans for so long.
Research shows that they’re the first domesticated animals 11,000 years ago.
They’ve fully adapted to people. And it’s no surprise that they could read us like a book.
So it’s possible that your pooch sensed your distaste of rain. Then they’re influenced by it.
They can detect it based on your actions and facial expressions. Oh, as well as your scent.
Why your dog won’t walk on grass in general
#7: They’re allergic to grass
Your pooch digs their feet on your porch. And they clearly dislike grasses – whether they’re dry or wet.
“What’s the problem?”
It might be because of a grass allergy.
Yes, this is a thing and it’s common in dogs.
According to experts, weeds and grasses that often cause this in spring are:
- Salt grass.
- Perennial rye.
- Sweet vernal.
While in summer and fall, ragweeds are said to be the main culprit of this.
PetMD says watch out for these usual allergy symptoms:
- Itchy throat.
- Runny nose.
- Watery eyes.
- Excessive scratching.
Interesting fact: Pollen counts are even higher during springtime rains. Studies found that water breaks these down and it results in more pollen fragments in the air. So this fact even adds up to dogs’ reluctance to walk on moist grass.
#8: Surface preference
Is your pooch like this since you got them?
If yes, grass could be a strange surface for your dog. And this is more likely if they came from a shelter.
They’re not used to walking on turf as they’ve always been kept inside a cage. Or a room with concrete flooring.
Pups will usually form preferences when they’re 8 weeks old.
So if they were not exposed to different surfaces at an early age, they’ll be reluctant to walk on them at first.
Note: Be at ease. With the right training and constant exposure, this fear could be removed.
#9: They hate the feeling of certain grasses
Does your pooch only hate walking on your lawn?
Or do they avoid stepping on other parts of the neighborhood?
Some weeds might be hard and have pointy tips. So they could poke or hurt your dog.
Like sword grasses that can even cut a human’s skin.
#10: They’re having a ‘fear period’
If your pup who once enjoyed rubbing themselves in the grass is now frightened of it…
They might be in one of their ‘fear periods.’
This is when dogs become easily spooked. So if they had a bad encounter during this phase, chances are, they’ll develop fear.
The first stage happens when they’re 8 to 11 weeks. Then it’s 6 to 14 months for the second period.
So try to recall what happened in the past few weeks.
Or, it could be that a wild animal came into your lawn last night. And they left a strong scent on the grass.
#11: They had a trauma
One more possible reason if this occurs suddenly is a traumatic experience.
Your dog may not remember exactly what happened that day. But they know how much they were hurt or frightened due to their associative memory.
While they’re in the yard, they might have been bitten by an insect. Or dive-bombed by birds.
Being terrified by fireworks or encountering a snake are also likely.
For further reading: 7 Weird Reasons Why Your Dog Is Acting Scared
#12: There are toxic chemicals around
Think of it, have they started acting weird toward grass after a pesticide spray?
Dogs can smell everything. And chemicals with strong odors may irritate their nose. As well as their skin.
So if they’re avoiding certain lawns, this could be the reason. And your pooch is only doing the right thing.
Because exposure to pesticides will cause:
- Skin rashes.
#13: The grass is too tall
Do you have a small or short Fido?
Because they may not like the sensation of grass rubbing on their belly when they walk.
Their body is closer to the ground because of their build. Like Dachshunds and Chihuahuas.
So imagine the grass tickling and poking your dog’s skin. Even humans would feel uncomfortable just by imagining it.
Not to mention that a dog’s tummy is one of the most vulnerable parts of their body.
7 tips on what to do if your dog doesn’t like (wet) grass
#1: Ease their allergy
If your pooch displays signs of an allergic reaction, here’s what you need to consider:
Regularly mow your lawn
This will lessen allergens and also help small dogs to feel comfortable while walking.
Avoid walking them near grass
See to it that your pooch is stepping on pavements or stones while you’re strolling.
Consult your vet
Have your pooch checked to give them medications. Allergy shots are also effective for pollen allergy – but they’re costly.
Always clean their paws and body after going outside
Prepare a foot bath, wipe their body with a moist cloth, then dry them thoroughly.
#2: Provide a dry area for them
You can do this by laying down a tarp on a particular area that you want to keep dry.
A gravel strip made of small pebbles will also help if they don’t like stepping on the grass.
Create a dry path that leads them to their toilet spot. Or towards the gate or fence.
Note: This is only a temporary solution if your dog is a fearful one. But this might help those who have allergies or certain preferences.
#3: Lure them to walk on it
Okay, this may sound awful. But, fears are irrational. And your pooch needs to overcome them.
So if they’re food-motivated, use high-value treats. Bribe them with bits of boiled chicken or cheese.
Ensure that the snacks are irresistible to make this training effective.
Not driven by food?
Try their favorite toys instead. Or, play a chasing game which will make them run out to the yard.
So how will you do this?
- Show your dog the treat or toy.
- Throw it excitedly (speak in a high tone) just near the grass.
- Don’t make them go into the lawn right away to not scare them off.
- Wait patiently.
- If they go near it, praise them. But if they don’t, try again.
- Keep on repeating this. And if they respond many times in a row, throw it closer and closer to the grass.
Note: This will take a lot of your time. But it would be fulfilling once their fear is gone. 🙂
#4: Use a command
If you have to walk them or they need to go potty, a command might do some magic.
It could be the basic “come!”, or other phrases like “step out!” and “get busy!”
Say the cue word every time they’re about to go out. Hold them up and put them down safely on the grass.
Then mention it once again.
Do this repeatedly and they’ll eventually learn that those words mean they have no choice but to go outside.
Note: Remember, speak in your lively but firm ‘doggy voice’ to motivate your pooch.
#5: Always take them for a walk
Start first with your lawn or a turf near your area.
Put a leash on your dog. And take them out for walks every day.
If they refuse to move, stay beside them and wait. Once they stand up or walk a bit, praise them a lot and give them yummy treats.
Note: If they have a storm phobia, avoid going out when it’s raining hard. As it could be another traumatic experience for them.
#6: Expose them to other surfaces
If you have a pup who’s been kept in the shelter for so long, it would be best to let them experience other things. But, do this slowly to not overwhelm them.
After daily walks on your lawn, try walking them to other places. (This is provided that they don’t have any allergies.)
Aside from grass, they may not also be familiar with gravel, sand, rubber, or pavement.
Continue the positive reinforcement – rewarding good behaviors. And while you’re out, let them explore and sniff.
#7: Keep it neutral
Lastly, stay composed and calm while you’re walking them. Or whenever it’s raining outside.
Your pooch doesn’t only sense your emotions. But they could be able to absorb it as well.