The spray bottle can be a handy tool for nixing annoying and unwanted behaviors. One quick squirt can distract your pooch and divert his attention. While spraying your dog can be a part of your training routine, you should take certain steps to do it properly and realize that it does, in some cases, have a downside.
Pros of the Spray Bottle
You can keep bottles all over your home so you always have one ready if Bubba misbehaves. Water is harmless -- you’re not being mean, just distracting your buddy from doing something he shouldn't. Some dogs become so fearful of it that they’ll take the long way around the room if they see the bottle on the table -- you might not even need to use it.
Your pal may become terrified of water. He’ll have no problem drinking it, but when it comes to bath time, forget it. Water is scary, so when you try to lure him to the tub, he may growl or snap. If Bubba seems terrified of the spray bottle, it probably isn’t an ideal tool for your situation. On the other hand, some pups couldn’t care less about the water and make it a game by trying to catch the stream in their mouths.
The trick to making the spray bottle effective is to not make a big fuss. It’s not meant to be mean or a way to tease your dog. If you see bad behavior, grab the bottle, give him a squirt and put it back down -- ideally he shouldn’t see you pulling that trigger. Then toss him a toy to chew on and pat him on the head to enforce the desired behavior.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.