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Urgent--Barking and Spray Bottles

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

  
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Pearl Irene

Me too!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 20, '11 3:17pm PST 
Dad is REALLY fed up with Pearl's barking, and insists on me getting a spray bottle and spraying her with water every time she barks. We've had several fights over this topic, and I need help now!

Yesterday I had my little brother ring the doorbell, and when Pearl barked I said "no barking". When she stopped, and was quiet for a few seconds, I gave her a treat. By the fifth time he rang the doorbell, she didn't bark at all.

Today I asked Dad if we could try to continue that practice 2-3 times a day for the next few months. If it worked--no spray bottle. If it didn't--spray bottle. He said no.

Will spraying Pearl with water hurt her in any way? Mentally? If so, why?

And what can I do to make her stop BARKING?!?!?!

Edited by author Wed Jul 20, '11 3:18pm PST

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Princesse- Lily CGN

I am RoyalChi!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 20, '11 4:15pm PST 
It sounds like what you are doing is working! How can your dad argue with success?shrug I tried the spray bottle with Princesse at first and it just seemed so mean. Besides, I thought maybe she would start attacking the bottle and being aggressive. If you are off school for the summer ( I believe you are still in school?) I would keep working on what you are doing consistentlyand let your dad know these things take time. I know it is really hard when your parents don't seem to understand. hug
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Pearl Irene

Me too!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 20, '11 4:30pm PST 
I am off for the summer, but we're going to be gone nearly all of August, and then school starts again, so I don't really have all that much time left.

Ugh. I don't know what to do. I've TRIED to talk to him, but he doesn't listen anymore. We used to be able to talk, but Pearl has really . . . done something.

Maybe I'll just have to go along with the spray bottle, and keep working her in my own way on the side. The faster she improves, the faster he and I can get back to where we were before Pearl happened.
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Kolbe

Where can I run- today?
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 20, '11 5:02pm PST 
The spray bottle did not improve my dog Guster's barking behavior whatsoever, which I did use several years ago. Trying to use 2 different methods at different times may only serve to confuse the dog, making neither effective. If you had success with the other method, I think it's a bit silly and stubborn to insist otherwise.
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Pearl Irene

Me too!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 20, '11 7:13pm PST 
Kolbe, I can't argue with Dad. I've already tried; his mind is set.

*sigh* I've contacted a local trainer, and I'm going to ask her advice.
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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 20, '11 8:36pm PST 
Ok...so instead of taking a month or so to train the dog how to properly react and be well-behaved for the future, your dad would rather carry a spray bottle around FOREVER and constantly spray the dog?

The spray bottle obviously isn't teaching anything....and your method obviously was. Can you just present the facts straight up to him? Or even get naughty and "misplace" the spray bottle while you continue to train.wink

You've got the rest of the summer. I'm sure you could train her. Why not try to bargain with your dad....by the end of summer vacation, the dog will be better trained.shrug
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Kadan

Roo!
 
 
Barked: Wed Jul 20, '11 9:22pm PST 
You don't need to argue with you father, you just need to give him facts. Spraying a barking dog with a spray bottle does NOT fix the problem's underlying issue. It merely masks it for the time being and makes him feel better when she quiets up. Sure, it might shut her up NOW, but she'll still bark in the future. It's never going to teach Pearl not to bark. It's going to create a negative bond between Pearl and your father, and likely teach Pearl to fear and never trust him or anyone with a spray bottle in their hand if she dislikes being sprayed. And ultimately Pearl is going to keep barking because she's only being punished, not taugh when it's appropriate to bark, and when to quiet down.

Desensitization to the noises or situations that are making her bark and positive reinforcement are your best bet, and you're already on the right track. You want to keep up with what you're doing in the case of the doorbell. Just take it gradually and try not to push her over the threshold where she's in a situation where she's barking so much that she can't focus on you. Baby steps. In addition to "Stop barking", you could also use a positive interrupter, like a whistle or purse your lips to make a kissy noise to distract her from barking and treat her when she complies. She doesn't even have to be barking when you do it. Just train it like a recall to catch her attention. Then whenever you whistle or make the kissy noise, she will come to you with her full attention and stop what she was previously doing.
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Pearl Irene

Me too!
 
 
Barked: Thu Jul 21, '11 5:06am PST 
Or even get naughty and "misplace" the spray bottle while you continue to train.

Thing is, I've already been naughty by not buying a spray bottle to use on Pearl. And it's caused the arguments, which haven't only involved Dad and me, but the whole family. I can't stand it anymore--the arguments need to stop. And right now, it looks like the only way to do that is to finally obey him and get a spray bottle frown

Spraying a barking dog with a spray bottle does NOT fix the problem's underlying issue. It merely masks it for the time being and makes him feel better when she quiets up. Sure, it might shut her up NOW, but she'll still bark in the future. It's never going to teach Pearl not to bark. It's going to create a negative bond between Pearl and your father, and likely teach Pearl to fear and never trust him or anyone with a spray bottle in their hand if she dislikes being sprayed. And ultimately Pearl is going to keep barking because she's only being punished, not taugh when it's appropriate to bark, and when to quiet down.

THANK YOU!!! I've tried telling him that--but he doesn't believe it when it comes from me. I need to find someone else to tell him that face to face.
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Sanka- I'll Miss- You

The ground is my- newspaper.
 
 
Barked: Thu Jul 21, '11 5:33am PST 
hug

I too get frustrated when people start arguing over stupid things and will not even give any thought to what I am saying. I remember my mother not wanting the dogs to come in the house and into the basement when a tornado was coming right towards us! Seriously, her exact words were "They'll be fine!" I started yelling (which I don't do with my mother. I'm not a yeller.) And ultimately just brought them inside without her consent telling her "If they're fine outside, then I'll be fine outside too. Why are we going to the basement if we'll be perfectly fine outside!?"

And he made you go buy the water bottle!?

Wow...ok...I guess what I would try would be to wait until he's calm or in a good mood and sit with him and plead your case in a calm manner. Don't let it escalate or push his buttons too much. Basically "Dad, I know you want to use the spray bottle, but I REALLY believe I can get rid of the problem with training. I already saw results. I know it's working. I know it will work. You don't want to have to get up every time the dog barks to spray it in the face, right? You'd rather the dog stop barking on cue or not even bark at all, right? Well, give me a chance to fix it, and if it doesn't work (which it will =wink, then we can go back to using the spray bottle."
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Bhaira

Belly Rub! Belly- Rub!
 
 
Barked: Thu Jul 21, '11 8:31am PST 
Pearl:

I'm so sorry that the situation has gotten to the point where you can't talk to your dad about this. This may seem counterintuitive, but how about showing your dad this thread?

You've gotten suggestions from many experienced dog owners and trainers, who've confirmed your suspicions that the spray bottle is not a permanent or efficient solution to barking. It may in fact create other issues, such as distrust, that can take a turn for the worse. Your proposed solution, however, is a great approach. Any behavior modification, especially of the long-lasting kind, is a process. It won't happen overnight. But your methods will avoid creating worse problems in the future, and will definitively address your father's concerns for the long term.

Since it seems he would feel more comfortable hearing this from someone other than yourself, ask him read this.
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