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Discussion Starter #1
I was just wondering how effective using a spray bottle (water) on puppies for deterring negative behavior such as jumping, or chewing something he shouldn't? At this time I am using positive reinforcement such as saying "off" and distracting him with a toy or something else, however at times it does not always work. His behavior is not really bad by any means, just being a typical puppy (I hope), but I was just curious if it is appropriate to use a spray bottle (like something you mist your plants with)?

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Yes and no ;D

If you're mostly using positive reinforcement methods you probably know about 'negative punishment' which are things like turning your back when the puppy jumps so that the punishment is that what he wants, attention from you, is taken away from him. A spray bottle is a 'positive punishment' something that is done to make it less likely he will repeat the behavior.

So yes it might work to discourage him from some things, but it might also confuse him if you are hoping to use methods such as free-shaping to train him.

The other problem is that your puppy might be like our cat.... who worked out that as long as my husband didn't have the water bottle in his hand, she could do what she liked and would flick her tail
at him with impunity whilst she was doing it. Also we started finding all the spray bottles were getting chewed while we were out..... :eek:
 

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We tried the spray bottle on Dexter when he was a pup to stop him from barking. He loved getting sprayed with the water and would open his mouth and drink all the water you could spray at him. We had already tried the sonic bark control that would emit a supersonic sound when he bark but that only made him bark more. We finally reverted to a bark collar.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
thanks for the reply, makes sense regarding the pro's and con's, as well some dogs may actually like the water and think of it as a game.
 

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The spray bottle has been an effective tool for us. We did try to focus on the positive training techniques, but Penny is quite the bold dog. Turning your back when jumping and other ways to take a positive away from her do work really well. But we needed something to reinforce not doing things at the moment she was doing them when we could not take something away, such as countersurfing, or stealing a child's toy. Admittedly the spray bottle has become a crutch for us, but we have worked out a clear communication with her--spray bottle means "no."
 

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We have used the spray bottle with our 20 month old since she was a few months old. Like JP, it has been an effective tool for us to stop her from jumping on visitors, or to drop whatever she has in her mouth, etc. Our other v, Alex, doesn't mind getting sprayed with water, but understands that we mean business when we have the spray bottle in hand, and stays on his best behavior.
 
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