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I am a mad 'critter' lover of all types, but have always had a problem with some methods of disciplining pets that I have read. I often consider them cruel. About the best, and most friendly (if that is the right term), is a simple spray bottle with plain old water and perhaps a drop of citrus oil.
My four dogs love playing in water, 'biting' water from the garden hose, and don't even mind a bath, but they "hate" getting squirted! Go figure. We have a busy home business and sometimes the dogs get a bit carried away when clients arrive, so a quick shake of the bottle, a stern "No barking!" and if necessary a quick squirt, and voila.
Now I only have to shake the spray bottle and all is quiet, butter wouldn't melt in their mouths! It even works well on my cockatoo! So results with absolutely no physical or mental harm done and no harm to the environment.
By vicki57 from Australia
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After completing the basic pet training course at Petsmart, the most effective tool I came away with is to use a squirt/spray bottle to stop a dogs barking. Simply spray your dog in the face or better yet, the hind quarters, the rear end. It is useful to help stop other unwanted behaviors if you use it while the dog is in the act.
Before long all you have to do is say "squirt bottle" and the behavior comes to a halt. Basic training classes at Petsmart are well worth it. Keeping in mind that your consistency with your beloved is what will make or break your relationship with your pet.
By Debbie from Myrtle Beach, SC
I posted a tip about using a spray bottle to train your pet and to steer them away from bad behavior about a year ago on this board and the loyal Pet-Loving folks here on ThriftyFun really let me HAVE it! It seems pet owners consider this to be "pet abuse". While I don't think you should ever spray your pet in the face, I don't really think it's "abuse" to spray them either. It's like everything else out there in this world, it's all about moderation! I sprayed my cat in the hind quarters only 2 or 3 times and now I never need to do it again. All I need to do is LOOK like I'm going to reach for the spray bottle and he jumps down from the countertop! But, for those who dislike the spray bottle technique, I've found that clapping my hands 3 times quickly and loudly has the same effect. (I've also heard to never yell the pet's name because you should only use their name when they are doing something good. Otherwise it will confuse them).
I must say that I've often thought that using a spray bottle as discipline might backfire and help make your pet afraid of bath-time or of the water. It's worth a thought.
I once trained a cat to take weekly baths (for cat allergies) and she actually relaxed and enjoyed the baths! (I started her out when she was just a small kitten) and I know if I'd used a spray bottle as discipline, it could easily have undone all the work I went through to reassure her that water was "good" and not "scary". (01/15/2009)
This would work good on a dog that is not nervous. Did this with my dog (who is very nervous and timid, he is Chu/mix) scared him to death. Now if you bring it out and spray him he runs with his tail between his legs and will not come out of his crate for a long time. On the bigger more sturdy dogs it will do wonders. (01/15/2009)
By wacky camper
This is definitely pet abuse. Positive training methods are better. I think that has already been said before but has anyone mentioned how dangerous this method is. Not all dogs are so passive when it comes to unpleasant consequences. Next time you reach for a spray bottle the dog might decide to stop you, ie attack you. (01/15/2009)
It would be abuse to forcefully squirt the dog in the face or to scare the dog, but a little squirt in the mouth area wouldn't hurt if it stopped the bad behavior. I tried this with my German Shep, but she loved it and opened her mouth for the water and wanted me to keep squirting it in her mouth.
I find positive reinforcement really works best. In fact, I say "Good girl" before the command. For example, "Good girl, Angel, sit." It seems to work better with the compliment first. I guess it's her ego :) (01/16/2009)
I can't believe that you pet owners think that a squirt of water is abusive. Come on. The water can only be a distraction to get the behavior to stop. Unless you are using a power hose, how can water harm a pet?
I have a dog that has taken up barking lately. I am going to try the squirt bottle. Thank you Debbie for the tip.
I have had to do the spraying of water myself. All I have to do is just pick up the garden hose and my 4 dogs will run like the wind. Sometimes they think it is a game. (01/17/2009)
A squirt bottle is fine, but not directly into their face. I believe training should be on a positive basis where you wait and reward desired behaviours rather than a negative punishment. It takes a little more of your time and definitely more of your patience BUT it is FAR more effective. Punishment training methods often have relapse problems but positive reinforcement training rarely does!
By Shelter Worker