Squirting dogs wth water to correct behaviors? - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-02-2011, 08:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So what is the conventional wisdom on this? Good idea or not? I've been taking my dog to a doggie day care place for a while one or two days a week. He LOVES it. The staff there use squirt bottles and squirt the dogs with water when one of them does something they shouldn't. Just wondering if this is generally a good idea and if this is something I could use at home as well. Thoughts?

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Old 03-02-2011, 09:25 AM
 
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Most dogs aren't really freaked out by water, are they?  Mine would think it was a fantastic new game.

 

Now, squirting a cat is a different story.

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Old 03-02-2011, 11:04 AM
 
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LOL this would reinforce my dog for sure! He loooves catching water squirts.

 

That being said, I'd be asking what they are "correcting" and how frequently.  If they are using it excessively, especially with a dog who *does* care, then I'd be quite concerned about how they manage play in general.


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Old 03-02-2011, 11:15 AM
 
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It generally works more for cats, but in some cases it is great for dogs too. 


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Old 03-02-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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This works well with dogs. The behavior/training place we went to uses it and suggests it. We use it with our dogs. You need to do a quick squirt and say "no" to get their attention while they are doing what you don't want them to do, then redirect with a command. We use it mostly for when one of our dog gets into a barking fest with the neighbor's dog across the fence.

 

If your dog likes water, you can put a little vinegar in the water. This makes it unpleasant but won't hurt them. I usually don't even need to squirt our dog because if I pick up the bottle and he notices, he'll self-correct. We haven't used it much at all - he just really doesn't like it. And I don't even have vinegar in the water.

 

 


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Old 03-02-2011, 11:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by stardogs View Post

 

That being said, I'd be asking what they are "correcting" and how frequently.  If they are using it excessively, especially with a dog who *does* care, then I'd be quite concerned about how they manage play in general.

 

No they really don't do it a lot. I have seen them do it for instance when a new dog comes in and another dog will appear to be getting agressive with it. They squirt the dog and tell him to get back.

 

My dog is an occasional obsessive licker. Yesterday when I picked him up they said he had been licking a lot but that he responds well to being squirted when he does that. I've never done that at home but thought maybe it would be worth a try. I usually just pull his snout away when he's licking. perhaps the squirting would be more effective? He really doesn't like water much.
 

 

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Old 03-02-2011, 12:15 PM
 
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But wouldn't that really hurt if it got in their eyes?
 

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....If your dog likes water, you can put a little vinegar in the water. This makes it unpleasant but won't hurt them.....

 

 

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Old 03-02-2011, 01:09 PM
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This works well with dogs. The behavior/training place we went to uses it and suggests it. We use it with our dogs. You need to do a quick squirt and say "no" to get their attention while they are doing what you don't want them to do, then redirect with a command. We use it mostly for when one of our dog gets into a barking fest with the neighbor's dog across the fence.

 

If your dog likes water, you can put a little vinegar in the water. This makes it unpleasant but won't hurt them. I usually don't even need to squirt our dog because if I pick up the bottle and he notices, he'll self-correct. We haven't used it much at all - he just really doesn't like it. And I don't even have vinegar in the water.

 

 

I don't have time to post a lot but I do disagree with the bolded. I do not ever use spraying as a traiining method. My MIL once sprayed out rescue dog in the face while she was crying in her crate only 2 days after we had picked her up from the shelter. DH and I both had to go to a doctor's appoinment and our dog has such severe separation anxiety that the only safe thing to do is crate her. Dog was barking MIL came down and sprayed her multiple times in the face and freaked the heck out of the poor thing.

 

I know that isn't what is described here but most trainers can agree there are more reward driven less punishment based ways to achieve training results without using water bottles or things like it.

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Old 03-02-2011, 06:48 PM
 
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I think you need to be very careful not to use it for stress or fear based behaviours.  I would consider compulsive licking to be stress-related and wouldn't use it for that.  For one of our dogs that licks herself sometimes I give her something else to take her licking urges on (since I don't mind so much that she licks, but I don't want her to damage her fur/skin in the process).  A nylabone or other tough chewie with some peanut butter or liverwurst spread on in a thin layer works well.  Of course that is after ruling out any medical issues (such as allergy-caused itchyness which is also something we deal with seasonally).

 

Another thing to be careful with is using this type of (or really any other) correction with a dog who is displaying aggressive behaviour.  It is easy to amp them up even more and cause the aggression to escalate.

 

Re: spraying a dog in the face with vinegar or vinegar/water, that gets a definite NO from me.  If you're having to resort to that, you need to look for a different training method IMO.

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Old 03-02-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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My mom is a certified trainer, and while she does use techniques like this with certain dogs in certain situations it is not something you should be doing without proper training and understanding of what you are doing. If the dog has no idea what the squirt means it does no good. If you do it incorrectly it does no good, and is some cases causes more problems.

 

I really don't think they should be doing this for compulsive licking. I don't see how it would help if it's truly compulsive. You'll have a wet dog that is now scared of water.  If they were using it for a dog getting in the trash and one quick squirt with no verbal reprimand so they think the trash did it would be an example of when it would be used in this house. I would try it once however, and if it didn't work then I would look for something else.


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Old 03-02-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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when i trained my dogs (16yrs ago) i used this method and it worked. After they get a couple squirts, all i would have to do is show them the bottle and they would stop the behavior, or whatever. worked on my cats too.

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Old 03-02-2011, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I see your point. In this case we have had the dog tested for every possible skin issue, and there's nothing there. I often do give him something else to lick and he licks that for 10 minutes or so and goes back to the same spot-- on his shoulder which the vet said is a pretty unusual spot for this kind of behavior. He has licked the fur off and gotten the skin raw a couple times. When it gets really bad I put the e-collar on, which of course makes him miserable. We started the doggy day care because of this problem actually. He usually comes home pooped and does less licking. Wish I could afford to send him more than once or twice a week.

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I think you need to be very careful not to use it for stress or fear based behaviours.  I would consider compulsive licking to be stress-related and wouldn't use it for that.  For one of our dogs that licks herself sometimes I give her something else to take her licking urges on (since I don't mind so much that she licks, but I don't want her to damage her fur/skin in the process).  A nylabone or other tough chewie with some peanut butter or liverwurst spread on in a thin layer works well.  Of course that is after ruling out any medical issues (such as allergy-caused itchyness which is also something we deal with seasonally).

 

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Old 03-03-2011, 07:30 AM
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I see your point. In this case we have had the dog tested for every possible skin issue, and there's nothing there. I often do give him something else to lick and he licks that for 10 minutes or so and goes back to the same spot-- on his shoulder which the vet said is a pretty unusual spot for this kind of behavior. He has licked the fur off and gotten the skin raw a couple times. When it gets really bad I put the e-collar on, which of course makes him miserable. We started the doggy day care because of this problem actually. He usually comes home pooped and does less licking. Wish I could afford to send him more than once or twice a week.



Poor thing it really does sound stress related. I nannied for a family with a goldie who licked so obsessively her whole stomach was raw, it was a constant battle to keep the dog from licking.

Then again that family ignored the dog most of the time and never ever took her for walks or interacted with her outside so she had a reason to try and relieve stress.

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Old 03-05-2011, 10:07 PM
 
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It depends on the behavior, but this is something that can work really well.  The separation anxiety in the crate and THEN squirting is something I'd NEVER do - but say, you want the dog out of the kitchen while you're cooking - that works.  You should ask a trainer, of course.

 

We don't use it with ours, we don't need to but would if we did.  Some dogs love the water, and it can act as a reinforcement.  Lol.

 

 

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Old 03-06-2011, 06:17 AM
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It depends on the behavior, but this is something that can work really well.  The separation anxiety in the crate a nd THEN squirting is something I'd NEVER do - but say, you want the dog out of the kitchen while you're cooking - that works. You should ask a trainer, of course.

 

We don't use it with ours, we don't need to but would if we did.  Some dogs love the water, and it can act as a reinforcement.  Lol.

 

 


I just wanted to say that I guess I should refine my stance a bit. My own personal experience has clouded my feelings on the matter. 

A squirt to just shoo out of the kitchen could work although training to stay out is pretty simple too or just telling them to get out..

 

At the bolded. You want to see a professional  behaviorist not a trainer. Your dog has some deeper issues, trainers just work on the surface to cultivate desired behaviors. If you don't solve the underlying problem training will be ineffectual.

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Old 03-06-2011, 07:00 AM
 
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No they really don't do it a lot. I have seen them do it for instance when a new dog comes in and another dog will appear to be getting agressive with it. They squirt the dog and tell him to get back.

 

My dog is an occasional obsessive licker. Yesterday when I picked him up they said he had been licking a lot but that he responds well to being squirted when he does that. I've never done that at home but thought maybe it would be worth a try. I usually just pull his snout away when he's licking. perhaps the squirting would be more effective? He really doesn't like water much.
 

 

Is he just licking himself?  Have you had him checked for allergies/mange/thyroid issues?  OCD behaviours in dogs can be worked with as well...talk to your vet as they should have some good ideas for you or perhaps can refer you to a behaviourist (after first ruling out underlying systemic issues)

 

 


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Old 03-07-2011, 08:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Is he just licking himself?  Have you had him checked for allergies/mange/thyroid issues?  OCD behaviours in dogs can be worked with as well...talk to your vet as they should have some good ideas for you or perhaps can refer you to a behaviourist (after first ruling out underlying systemic issues)

 

 

He mostly licks himself but he will also lick a spot on the bed or the couch or wherever he is laying. I have put a sweat shirt on him when he's licking a lot and he will lick the shirt in the same spot. The vet didn't suggest any kind of allergy. They did test for a variety of skin issues. She was pretty sure it was behavioral considering he goes for the same spots over and over. In the end she told us to increase his exercise as much as possible, which we are. She mentioned the option of putting him on meds-- I think anti-anxiety meds. So far I am not ready to do that.
 

 

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Old 03-07-2011, 04:31 PM
 
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We used it for barking, at the suggestion of our trainer and it works well (if I remember to have it near me). We have a beagle/lab who will bark at the neighbor across the street, the cat next door, the garbage truck and just seeing the water bottle is enough to get her to stop. She will bark until the thing/person leaves. She also responds to "shh" as well.


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Old 03-07-2011, 05:57 PM
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He mostly licks himself but he will also lick a spot on the bed or the couch or wherever he is laying. I have put a sweat shirt on him when he's licking a lot and he will lick the shirt in the same spot. The vet didn't suggest any kind of allergy. They did test for a variety of skin issues. She was pretty sure it was behavioral considering he goes for the same spots over and over. In the end she told us to increase his exercise as much as possible, which we are. She mentioned the option of putting him on meds-- I think anti-anxiety meds. So far I am not ready to do that.
 

 


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