How to Use a Water Bottle to Train Dogs

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Your dog is across the room, about to snag something tasty on the counter. You can't reach him to stop him--but a stream of water from your trusty water bottle can. Result: tasty item saved for human consumption. Water bottle is a mild aversion correction, used to discourage bad behavior. It is simple, cost-effective, and painless for both you and your dog.

Things You'll Need

  • Water bottle with a spray nozzle
  • Water
  • Optional
  • White or apple cider vinegar

Water Training

Fill enough spray bottles to place one in every room of your home. Make sure that it is filled with clean water that is room temperature. Turn the spray nozzle is to the strongest stream feature, not the mist feature.

Outfit yourself and every room in your house with a training spray bottle. Place the bottles near where you will typically be in the room, so that they are in easy reach at all times.

Monitor your dog for the unwanted behavior.

Squirt the water or solution at your dog when he misbehaves. At the same time say "No," using a low-pitched voice. Use only one squirt of water.

Pause after the first squirt and count to 10. If your dog has stopped the behavior, put down the water bottle and call him to you. Praise him effusively--he is a good dog!

Continue to squirt your dog, pausing each time, if he does not stop the unwanted behavior. Say "no" in the same tone of voice each time you use the water bottle. Most dogs will quickly decide that the chosen behavior is less desirable than making the water bottle stop.

Repeat as needed for any undesirable behavior.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once your dog is trained, picking up the squirt bottle should make him stop the behavior.
  • Water bottle training can be used to correct behaviors such as barking or digging or other behaviors your dog might engage in at a distance from you.
  • A 25% or 50% solution of vinegar and water may be needed for dogs that do not respond to plain water. Vinegar has a strong aroma, but is otherwise harmless to your dog. Use only the minimum amount of vinegar needed to get your dog to respond.
  • Water bottle training is beneficial because it allows you to make long distance corrections, which the dog will not associate with you.
  • Don't let the water sit in the bottle for more than a few days without being refilled.
  • Don't squirt your dog directly in his eyes, especially if using diluted vinegar.

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