How to Stop a Puppy From Playing in a Water Dish

Train your puppy to stay out of the water bowl.
Train your puppy to stay out of the water bowl. (Image: my small puppy image by amlet from

Puppies often offer adorable antics: They chase their own tails, whimper when you leave the room and show off clumsy running skills. And, when mealtime rolls around, puppies like to get messy. They drop mouthfuls of kibble randomly and tip the water bowl to watch the mess splash onto the floor. Breaking a puppy of playing in the water dish requires two processes. Give the puppy a water bowl that's difficult to maneuver and train him to leave the dish alone.

Things You'll Need

  • Ceramic water bowl
  • Elevated water bowl
  • Puppy treats
  • Pet place mat
  • Interactive play toys

New Water Bowls

Replace the puppy's water dish. Get rid of lightweight plastic or aluminum bowls. Choose a new, heavy ceramic dish the pet can't tip over. Pick a style with tall sides, just lower than the puppy's neck.

Choose an elevated pet water dish for extra tall puppies. Raise the bowl on the stand as the puppy grows, keeping the bowl too tall for the puppy to dip its paws into.

Trick puppies that still manage to get into the water bowl. Add just enough water to the bowl to cover the bottom, making the bowl less appealing to the puppy. Refill the bowl with another shallow quantity of water after the pet has finished drinking.

Train the Puppy

Watch the puppy as it drinks. Praise the pet with kind words in a soft, pleasing voice when it drinks without playing in the water.

Scold the puppy with a stern "No!" as soon as it raises a paw to get into the water bowl. Startle the puppy so it stops the unwanted behavior immediately.

Reinforce positive behaviors at the water bowl. Reward the pet again if it finishes the water without making a mess. Give the pet extra back rubs or a small treat.

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