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Using Water Spray Bottle As Training Tool


Guest christine1223

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Guest christine1223

Hi everyone, we have had our grey Maggie a little over a year now, and for the first time tonight I used a spritz of water from a spray bottle to try to correct an unwanted behavior. It worked quite well, but I am wondering if this is an effective tool & would like to hear from others who may have tried this. The unwanted behavior is that when I get home from work and try to let her out she is so overly excited that she jumps, barks and just generally goes nuts, to the point where she has scratched me with her claws, has come close to ripping my work clothes and has bruised my hand with an air snap :) This is happy behavior but it needs to come down a notch since next year my middle school aged daughter may be letting her out in the afternoons.

 

So, I sprayed with the water (felt wrong!) but it worked. Also, should I add a treat to this process? Spray with water (bad dog) then treat (good dog?) doesn't make sense I think.

 

thanks for any input :)

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I use the water bottle. Mainly for cat training and excessive barking and whining.

 

A technique to use for your situation is to walk out the door (alone) when she's over excited and only come in when she's calm. It can easily take 30+ minutes to get in the door at first. You just need to do it until she gets that you don't enter the house until she's calm and you leave if she's nuts. Eventually she will stay calm when you come into the house. This technique does take lots of time, but it's effective.

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No expert here, but I use a squirt gun, ( cuz it's smaller) for the rare discipline issues with my grey that have arisen. I wouldn't add a treat, it is confusing. It's just for assuaging your guilt! Do you ignore her and refuse eye contact with her when she is in that state? I think that's a good idea too. Best of luck. I have just adopted a 100 lb lab pyrenees cross that is doing it too, so I feel your pain...

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Guest BassoonMo

I have used a water bottle, and it can be very effective, although if the dog is very smart, they will figure out that when you aren't holding the spray bottle they can do what they want.

 

I have a greyhound that used to get really excited and started jumping up on me (and running over our small dog) when we were getting ready to go for a walk. I started just turning my back on him and totally ignoring him until he calmed down and quit jumping. I would turn back towards him, and if he started jumping again, I would turn away again. If he remained calm,Ii would put on his leash and we would go for a walk. It was frustrating at first because I had to do it many, many times, but he has learned to contain his excitement and no one gets hurt. Your dog is jut excited that you are home, but if you turn your back and ignore him until he is calm, he'll get it. It just takes patience and consistency.

 

Good luck! :-)

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Guest greyers

Never used a squirt bottle with my dogs, ever. To be fair though, none of my greyhounds needed one, and in fact all but one has been WAY TOO sensitive to ever use one with. Usually a simple "ah-ah", a "no" or a finger snap for more extreme behaviors is more than they ever need. If I used that on any of my guys it would be taken as absolute torture and would freak them out to no end.

 

When Rego tries to jump on me when we are going out for a walk I use the "ah-ah" and if he does it a second time I tell him to sit. Then when he is calm, and only then do I put on the leash. If he jumps on me when I come home, I use "ah-ah" and I ignore him till he calms down.

 

We do use a squirt bottle with the cats for clawing behaviors because they are stubborn and not sensitive. And my parents dogs years ago we had to use a soda can with coins in it to shake to stop barking behavior. But none of those dogs were greyhounds and all much less sensitive.

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The squirt bottle "can" be effective, but as others have said, greys quickly figure out whether or not you are holding the squirt bottle, and adjust their behavior accordingly.

 

Much better to ignore the behavior. Come in the door - NO GREETING! No happy voice, no "Hi Baby!!" Nothing. Very low key. No eye contact. Walk in the door, and go about your business of putting your stuff down in spite of her over-the-top behavior. Only greet her when she's calmed down. If she's too in your way, walk in the door and simply turn your back on her and cross your arms. Ignore her until she's not jumping and being a freak. She'll learn soon enough what behavior gets her your attention and what doesn't. Practice this with your kids too, she needs to learn *before* they might be alone with her.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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Short answer? Nope, not effective or acceptable. Never have used one on any critter in my home.

I ignore behaviors I don't want and reward the ones I do want. It is my job to show the dog what is acceptable behavior in our home. We have very few rules. Pretty much don't eat the cats and don't mess in the house unless you are sick covers it.

Just my humble opinion and your mileage may vary. :)

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What greysmom said. I use this approach & it works very well. It can take a little while for a behavior that is already well established, like your girl's happy crazies, but it WILL work & work well. Squirt bottles are unnecessary & often teach things unintended.

 

Let me add something. Dogs do what gets rewarded. Even if it sometimes involves punishment they often keep doing or at least occasionally retry it if it sometimes gets rewarded. That's why some behaviors are so hard to get rid of, like counter surfing, pulling on leash & jumping up in excitement. So use this to your advantage. Think of what you want her to do instead & reward her for doing that. In the case you are describing you need to deliver those rewards in a way that doesn't ratchet up her excitement level. A long, slow, gentle stroke down her side or a soft, "Good girl," works well.

 

For me, I at least want to see dogs who keep four on the floor & their mouths off of me. I do just as greysmom says. I ignore my dogs for a bit when I come home. Come in the door without greeting them, keep walking to the table & set my stuff down. Then I turn & head to the door that leads to the yard. At this point, while we are walking, I watch for dogs with four on the floor & give them a pet. The calmest ones get sweet nothings whispered to them. They've been good & get rewarded with my attention.

 

Now it's time to go out to potty. That door doesn't open until everyone is standing back from the door a bit & wait for the release word. So if I reach for the door & dogs move forward my hand moves back away from the doorknob. If I start to open the door & they move then the door closes again. We have a new dog & she is still learning this but is catching on well. During this I say nothing, give no commands. The dogs figure it out on their own because I'm looking for what I want & reward it by opening the door. This same approach can be applied to opening a crate door so the dog learns not to charge out of the crate when the door is opened.

 

Good luck! I know you'll do well & will not have to touch that spray bottle.

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Guest KennelMom

Short answer? Nope, not effective or acceptable. Never have used one on any critter in my home.

I ignore behaviors I don't want and reward the ones I do want. It is my job to show the dog what is acceptable behavior in our home. We have very few rules. Pretty much don't eat the cats and don't mess in the house unless you are sick covers it.

Just my humble opinion and your mileage may vary. :)

 

 

Sounds about right.

 

I don't like the use of water bottles. rewards, structure, discipline, etc needs to come from the human...I think this strengthens the human-dog bond and reinforces that relationship dynamic.

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Hi Christine :wave

 

Yeah, I'm not big on squirt bottles. My first boy, Turbo, used to be super obnoxious when I got home and at 80 pounds, it just wasn't acceptable for him to maul me when I walked in the door. So I did what others here have said - do not come in until the behavior subsides. It can take a little bit, but it does work. Maggie's reward is you coming into the house. She doesn't get it unless she's calm.

 

Turbo would get so overwrought that he would just plop himself into a down position because he knew that's how he got treats and he figured that if he "downed" himself, he'd get what he wanted, my presence. It worked :)

 

So, you'll have to wait her out a bit, then try coming back in. If she tries to jump, go right back out (or, as others have said, simply turn your back to her, cross your arms and give her no attention at all). Repeat as necessary. Most of them do catch on to it pretty quickly. In the meantime, start training her to go to her bed when anyone is at the door. Eventually, she'll put two and two together, and when she hears you at the door, she should start going to her bed.

 

Let me know if you want more info :)


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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I've never used a squirt bottle on my animals, but I've also never had a behaviour that would have made me even have to entertain the notion. "Ah ah" or "tsssst" are usually discipline enough in this house.

 

The other thing I'm not sure was mentioned (I skimmed the other posts quickly) is that this is a happy, "good" behaviour. You WANT your dog to be happy, you want her to be excited you're home, you just don't want her to go totally nuts in showing that emotion. When I get home Summit jumps off the bed and comes out into the living room to greet me and say hello. He is happy I am home. He's excited I'm home. He doesn't jump, bark, or scratch me up. That is what you want. A CALM but happy, excited dog. If you start punishing your dog every time you walk in the door she may stop jumping up on you, but what you want is to stop the behaviour and not the emotion (for lack of a better word) that is causing the behaviour.

 

I think you'll get better results by ignoring the behaviour and rewarding her when all 4 feet stay on the ground. If that isn't quite working then you could add a verbal "ah ha" or "off" but that is as far as I would go with the "negative" training aspects. The squirt bottle will give you a faster result maybe and it can feel like it is taking forever and nothing is happening when you try to ignore an excited dog, but in the end you will have a calm dog that will still be happy when you walk in the door.

 

But I'm not expert because my dog is perfect (cough cough). lol

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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Guest BrianRke

I used the squirt bottle with great success. The key is to say a word or phrase when you use it like "wanna get sprayed?" or "squirt bottle". I never have to use the bottle anymore, I just say the word and it corrects their behavior.

 

I have to add that I have one dog on which this doesnt work, Daytona. He enjoys being sprayed with the bottle :lol

 

ETA: I also only used the squirt bottle when they were misbehaving, or doing something that could be harmful to them such. Examples are: sniffing around the trash cans, jumping on the counters, eating something mysterious outside, being really obnoxious when they want to eat, etc...

 

Fory happy behavior like jumping when excited, I would just turn my back on them.

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Like Krissy said, happy is good! Personally, I really want my dog to come and (calmly!) greet me when I get home. I would be worried that spraying him would make him associate my return with something negative.

 

I did use the spray bottle once, right after I had just gotten my first dog...like you, I felt pretty bad about it. The problem was extreme whining and barking in this one particular situation that would come about...it did stop the whining and barking, but I don't think it changed his emotional state one bit, he just learned to suppress it. Also, he would always slink out of the room when I started misting the plants. :( I would never use it again on another dog.

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Guest christine1223

Wow, thanks everyone, lots of great advice here. Just to add a little information, this is not an established behavior but a new one. Maggie does get pretty excited when I first get home from being out in general but it has gotten a lot better in the last 6 months or so. I do the ignore, turn my back, etc. and that is slowly but surely helping to improve her behavior. So walking in the door after returning from a trip to the store or something is fine & improving. The NEW behavior is walk in the door after work only (she has been home alone during my 9-5 job time) is not too bad. The next step in the routine is to walk downstairs to the back door to let her out to potty. This is when she gets crazy. She is between me and the door and I stop, turn my back, and then just one little step towards the door sets her off. I have tried not letting her out right away, go upstairs to get changed first, then insanity happens upstairs in my bedroom. Then charging down the stairs...

 

@kudzu, I think you nailed it as far as understanding my situation and what I need to do. I think you are saying I should pretty much completely ignore her before letting her out in the yard until she is calm, however long that may take. FWIW, I am certain that this behavior is not due to an urgent need to potty since often she doesn't even do that on the first time letting her out.

 

Hi Meredith! Thanks as always for your ongoing advice. Umm, yeah, we have a long ways to go before that "go to your bed when mom gets to the door". That is extremely impressive though... *sigh*

 

@Brian, that your Daytona LIKED the spray bottle totally cracked me up!

 

@ greysmom, you are exactly right about my daughter. She will be doing this on her own next year so we definitely need to work on this together. We have about a year though so I think we can get through it just fine.

 

OK, long post from a newbie, I certainly appreciate ALL of your replies and any further comments are welcome. I agree with the no squirt bottle anymore, although I did get that idea from a GT post on a similar issue :)

 

Christine

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Yeah - some people swear by the squirt bottle. Squirt bottles are positive punishment (the dog gets something undesirable (squirt) when performing undesirable behavior) and the problem with positive punishment is that it has to be timed perfectly and it has to be effective. It tells the dog that the behavior is unacceptable (assuming the timing is perfect), but it does not tell the dog what you want it to do. It also runs the very serious risk of negative associations with you. In the scheme of things, squirt bottles are mild punishment, but still, it's always better to use positive reinforcement (giving the dog something it wants when it does something you want).

 

Anyway, ignoring is good, but does she know sit and down? Down is really good and if she's in a down, she can't be spazzing out to go out the door. You and your daughter can start training her for do a down before she goes out. Start with less desirable times - like later in the evening when she's already calm and just do it in the living room and use treats to train her. When she's solid, make her do downs for stuff she wants (dinner, petting, a toy), then make her down before she goes outside (start off with less desirable times, then work up to the time when she spazzes. It'll take a while, but you've got some time on your side. Another idea is to train her to go away from the door any time the door is opened. That way she can't be spazzing out by the door. You can do this by opening the door a little and dropping a treat away from the door (making sure she sees it), then eventually tossing treats away from the door at some distance. Eventually, when the door opens, she should automatically move well back to where she would get treats. You can phase out the treats when the behavior is ingrained, but do reward her for it now and again (just like you, she won't want to always work for no paycheck :) ).

 

Hope that gives you a few ideas :)


Meredith with Heyokha (HUS Me Teddy) and Crow (Mike Milbury). Missing Turbo (Sendahl Boss), Pancho, JoJo, and "Fat Stacks" Juana, the psycho kitty. Canku wakan kin manipi.

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

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Wow, thanks everyone, lots of great advice here. Just to add a little information, this is not an established behavior but a new one. Maggie does get pretty excited when I first get home from being out in general but it has gotten a lot better in the last 6 months or so. I do the ignore, turn my back, etc. and that is slowly but surely helping to improve her behavior. So walking in the door after returning from a trip to the store or something is fine & improving. The NEW behavior is walk in the door after work only (she has been home alone during my 9-5 job time) is not too bad. The next step in the routine is to walk downstairs to the back door to let her out to potty. This is when she gets crazy. She is between me and the door and I stop, turn my back, and then just one little step towards the door sets her off. I have tried not letting her out right away, go upstairs to get changed first, then insanity happens upstairs in my bedroom. Then charging down the stairs...

 

@kudzu, I think you nailed it as far as understanding my situation and what I need to do. I think you are saying I should pretty much completely ignore her before letting her out in the yard until she is calm, however long that may take. FWIW, I am certain that this behavior is not due to an urgent need to potty since often she doesn't even do that on the first time letting her out.

 

Hi Meredith! Thanks as always for your ongoing advice. Umm, yeah, we have a long ways to go before that "go to your bed when mom gets to the door". That is extremely impressive though... *sigh*

 

@Brian, that your Daytona LIKED the spray bottle totally cracked me up!

 

@ greysmom, you are exactly right about my daughter. She will be doing this on her own next year so we definitely need to work on this together. We have about a year though so I think we can get through it just fine.

 

OK, long post from a newbie, I certainly appreciate ALL of your replies and any further comments are welcome. I agree with the no squirt bottle anymore, although I did get that idea from a GT post on a similar issue :)

 

Christine

 

Hmmm... does she know any behaviours you can ask of her? If she gets really excited I would ask her to lay down and wait. Then I'd open the door and tell her "Okay, go outside". The door only opens when she's laying down quietly. At first you might literally have to put her in a down and whip open the door as you say "okay" because she might not hold long enough. After a little while you can start to open the door slowly and if she pops up then you shut the door and put her back in a down. If you work up slowly you should be able to have the door wide open with a dog laying in front of it waiting.

Kristie and the Apex Agility Greyhounds: Kili (ATChC AgMCh Lakilanni Where Eagles Fly RN IP MSCDC MTRDC ExS Bronze ExJ Bronze ) and Kenna (Lakilanni Kiss The Sky RN MADC MJDC AGDC AGEx AGExJ). Waiting at the Bridge: Retired racer Summit (Bbf Dropout) May 5, 2005-Jan 30, 2019

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@kudzu, I think you nailed it as far as understanding my situation and what I need to do. I think you are saying I should pretty much completely ignore her before letting her out in the yard until she is calm, however long that may take. FWIW, I am certain that this behavior is not due to an urgent need to potty since often she doesn't even do that on the first time letting her out.

Yes, that is the long term goal. I will say though that if she is loose in the house when you get home, rather than being in a crate, you would do best to take it in baby steps as a precaution. So rather than waiting for her to become fully calm you ignore her while you set stuff down then proceed calmly & quietly to the door to the yard. Then you do not open it or pay her any attention until maybe she has four on the floor. Later its 4OTF & pausing 2 seconds after you open the door. And steadily build up from there. Some dogs go much faster & if this is new behavior your girl may get it uber fast... or maybe not. Just don't want you to think my suggestion was an all or nothing deal, ya know?

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There are plenty of responses so far so all I'll say is this. They can be effective, but are they acceptable, not in my mind. Just think about it from Maggie's point of view. She's excited mom is home and expressing it in the way she knows how, not knowing you find the behavior unpleasant and she gets squirted with water. :(

 

Lots of ways to address this and you've already gotten plenty of advice. With Neyla, I taught her to get a toy and play with that instead. We would play fetch for a few minutes and then when she had calmed down, I could play and pet with her. Before she learned that, I would hold a dog bed in front of me and ignore until she stopped jumping, then I would interact with her. The dog bed was to prevent scratches.

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Jen, CPDT-KA with Zuri, lab in a greyhound suit, Violet, formerly known as Faith, Skye, the permanent puppy, Cisco, resident cat, and my baby girl Neyla, forever in my heart

"The great thing about science is that you're free to disagree with it, but you'll be wrong."

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