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Should I Spray My Dog with Water?

Whether you are trying to train your dog or you’re just playing with them in the backyard, you might be wondering if it’s okay to spray a dog with water. 

Using a water bottle to spray a dog in the face is a training method that has been used for decades, but some wonder if it’s the best way to correct bad behavior or if there are better ways. 

Should I spray my dog with a squirt bottle of water during training?

There are times when spraying a dog with water can be an effective training technique and there are times when it can be more detrimental than good. The technique also won’t work with every dog. Knowing the times when to use and the times to use another technique are key. 

If you want to use this technique for possible training, it’s important to know the best times to use it and the best time to choose another technique. 

We will go over all the details in this article, so you know the best times to use it. 

We will also go over some helpful tips and tricks to make training your dog much easier. 

Is it Okay to Spray My Dog with Water as Punishment?

Spraying with water should only be done when the dog is showing inappropriate behavior and you want to correct it. 

It should not be used to get back at your dog or to inflict any kind of pain. Rather than used as punishment, it should be used to interrupt bad behavior. 

So, if you see your dog doing something bad, you can spray them with water to immediately correct the behavior. 

For example, if he has just jumped on the furniture and you catch him in the act, you can immediately spray him with water to end the problem.

However, if you find him on the couch after he jumped off, you cannot use the water to punish him. 

He will be confused why you are spraying him. 

The only purpose of the water is so that your dog associates negative behavior with getting sprayed with water. 

He should not become afraid of water or be afraid of being sprayed in general.

The purpose is not to make your dog afraid or make them feel scared of you or the water. 

You should also associate spraying the dog with water with a word or noise. 

For example, each time you spray them, you can say the word NO very sternly so they know the behavior is bad and they will associate the water spraying and the word NO with bad behavior. 

Remember the water isn’t supposed to be a punishment, it will just take your dog by surprise and cause them to stop the bad behavior.

Combined with a word, your dog will soon learn they shouldn’t be doing the behavior that they exhibited when they got sprayed. 

What Behaviors are Best Corrected with Water Spraying?

As discussed above, water spraying should only be done as a training method right in the middle of bad behavior.

Interrupting bad behavior is the perfect chance to redirect the bad behavior and stop them in their tracks so they will not repeat the behavior. 

There are some behaviors that are better suited for water spraying than others.

Make sure to keep these in mind when you are starting the water spraying process. 

Getting the Dog to Start Barking

Barking is normal and sometimes is a good thing such as if they are alerting you about someone being in the home or trying to tell you about someone being on the property. 

However, some breeds are more prone to barking and they might bark throughout the night or for no reason. 

This can be annoying and frustrating will often need to be fixed right away. 

Barking at random things such as cars driving by or people walking on the sidewalk can also be annoying and surprising.

Using water spray when they are barking at inappropriate times can be an effective training technique. 

You might not be able to stop the barking completely but you should be able to lessen it by at least 50%. 

Make sure you only spray them when they are barking at the wrong times and make sure you use the command word such as NO. 

This will help them to learn when they shouldn’t be barking and when they should be. 

Make sure you don’t spray them when it’s okay to bark such as when you are playing or when you are outside. 

Your dog might continue to bark at bad times sometimes because barking is in its nature and is completely normal. 

As long as you are lessening the barking frequency, you are doing a good thing. 

Training the Dog to Stop Biting

Biting can be bad for many reasons, especially if you have young children or company. You don’t want the dog biting other people or causing them to get injured. 

You also don’t want people to be afraid of your dog.

You can spray your dog every time you see them bite someone or nip at someone. 

If they play-bite, you can also use the spray bottle technique. 

Play biting usually isn’t caused by aggression, but it can still hurt people and cause injuries. 

Teething can also be a cause of biting that needs to be corrected so they don’t keep biting people. 

Getting Dogs to Stop Fighting

Dogs can fight as playtime or they can be aggressive and fight. 

Either way, you might not want it going on in your house. 

Spraying them with water can be a good way to catch their attention and to make them stop whatever they are doing. 

If it’s a serious fight, you also want to make you don’t get too close and potentially injure yourself or those around you.

Consider using a hose if you want to stop outdoor fighting to better grab the attention of the dogs. 

Getting Them to Stop Chewing

Chewing on things can be annoying and can also ruin your clothes, shoes, and other important items. 

Make sure your dog knows they cannot chew on things by spraying them with water when you catch them chewing. 

Remember this will only work if you catch them chewing at the moment. 

Don’t try to bring them back to the item they chewed and spray them. 

They will not understand, and they will just be confused as to why they are getting sprayed. 

Getting Them to Stop Jumping on Furniture

Dogs will love to get on your furniture, and they might love to sleep there.

If you don’t want them on the couches, you will need to spray them when you see them jump up or when you find them lounging there.

Make sure you also use the command word so they know they are doing something wrong. 

You can also use this technique when you want them to stop jumping on people. 

Keep in mind your guest might get wet though and this is less than ideal.

When Should I Not Spray My Dog with Water?

Although it’s usually an effective training technique, spraying your dog with water is not always a good idea. 

In the following instances, you might want to find a better training method for your dog. 

Your Dog Likes Getting Sprayed

Some dogs for whatever reason love to get sprayed with water. 

If you notice your dog enjoys it and does not see it as training, you will need to stop.

They might also think you are playing with them instead of trying to tell them to stop doing something. 

Your Dog is Too Skittish

If your dog is from an abusive home or is very jumpy, spraying them with water might do more harm than good.

They might become afraid of the water or even afraid of you when they see the spray bottle. 

If your notice your dog crying or trembling after being sprayed, stop immediately and don’t do it again. 

You Don’t Have Time to Be Consistent

If you don’t have the time or patience to be consistent with this technique, it will not work. 

Your dog will be confused, and they will wonder why they are being sprayed sometimes and not other times.

If you are going to use this technique, also make sure everyone in the house uses it and make sure dog walkers and dog sitters also know about it and can do it correctly. 

Final Thoughts

In general, it’s okay to spray your dog with water as long as they don’t show any fear or trembling when you do it. 

It only works as an effective training technique if you are consistent and use a command word at the same time. 

It also will not work if your dog likes the water they show they don’t care.