spray bottle with vinegar/water?
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Thread: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

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    Senior Member GottaLuvMutts's Avatar
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    Angry spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    I had never heard of this until Finkie's recent post about an instructor recommending spraying a disobedient dog with a combination of water and vinegar. Alas, I witnessed a friend doing the same thing to her dog today. What's worse, this occurred at a dog sporting event with public presence (i.e. anyone could have witnessed or overheard what happened). I'm not going to tell my friend how to control her dog (who, btw, deserved what she got), and I'm not going to lose a friend over this, but jeez! I was pretty shocked. Is there ANYONE here who thinks this is justifiable, no matter the dog's behavior?

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    Senior Member lisak_87's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    I've heard of it and seen it used. I guess it never bothered me. I don't use it on my dog, and I imagine it'd hurt the eyes, but I don't think it's any more cruel than people who use citronella sprays.
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    Senior Member cynster's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    I think it depends on the dog. I would never use it on Cosette, because she is so timid and it's not needed. But I know some dogs that could probably use a spray to get their attention. I don't think it's meant as a punishment. It's meant more as a distraction.

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    Senior Member lil_fuzzy's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    So you were shocked that she did it, but the dog deserved what it got? I don't get it.

    Personally I don't see the point of punishment, I rely on management to prevent bad behaviour in the first place, while I work on good behaviours.

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    Member DougGeneration's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    There's definitely another way to punish than this, I haven't tried it and I have no plan on trying it as far as my precious dogs are concern. Even if they get extremely disobedient, I'll still find another way than spraying them water+acid.
    If your dog is FAT, you're not getting enough exercise.

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Well as pretty much everybody knows, I am not against proper aversives but lets just go a tad further with this one. Vinegar in eyes depending on the particular dog's eye make up could hurt for an additional time. For conversation sake let's say the dog is in some eye pain 15 minutes after being sprayed. Now never having had vinegar in my eyes I don't know what kind of pain (if any) would occur.

    I'm not gonna volunteer my eyes though to find out. If there was pain for 15minutes I just wonder what the dog has learned from that. I'm just sayin'.........
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    I agree with wvasko, I am also not against proper adversives, but I think this is going a little far.

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    Senior Member lil_fuzzy's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by wvasko View Post
    Well as pretty much everybody knows, I am not against proper aversives but lets just go a tad further with this one. Vinegar in eyes depending on the particular dog's eye make up could hurt for an additional time. For conversation sake let's say the dog is in some eye pain 15 minutes after being sprayed. Now never having had vinegar in my eyes I don't know what kind of pain (if any) would occur.

    I'm not gonna volunteer my eyes though to find out. If there was pain for 15minutes I just wonder what the dog has learned from that. I'm just sayin'.........
    Yeah, and also, what if the acid doesn't start stinging until 5 seconds later, when the dog could be doing something completely different? I would prefer a leash pop over acid in eyes any day.

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by lil_fuzzy View Post
    Yeah, and also, what if the acid doesn't start stinging until 5 seconds later, when the dog could be doing something completely different? I would prefer a leash pop over acid in eyes any day.
    It sounds like a confusing type answer to any problem that timing is needed and again suppose you wanted to work the dog on something else while the eye/eyes continued to burn, even with an e-collar correction the button is hit, stim sent, and it's over. With this, I really don't know the discomfort could be much loner. Need some knowledgeable opinions on possible length of pain.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Senior Member GottaLuvMutts's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by lil_fuzzy View Post
    So you were shocked that she did it, but the dog deserved what it got? I don't get it.
    The dog was definitely deserving of a punishment, and a harsh one at that. I just think there's no excuse for something like vinegar in the eyes. I would have let my dog know that I was extremely unhappy (low menacing voice, etc.), but I draw the line at causing physical pain, no matter how brief.

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by GottaLuvMutts View Post
    The dog was definitely deserving of a punishment, and a harsh one at that. I just think there's no excuse for something like vinegar in the eyes. I would have let my dog know that I was extremely unhappy (low menacing voice, etc.), but I draw the line at causing physical pain, no matter how brief.
    Can you tell us what this dog did.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Senior Member pittsabowawa's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    I used a water bottle with bella when she was a puppy, I also use it with the cats and the new puppy. I never squirted it in her eyes though Usually it was a means of getting her to stop what she was doing (usually getting in the trash or chasing the cats) from a far distance if I couldn't get to her to stop it immediately. It never had much affect on bella because she loves water.

    On the puppy he gets sprayed if he barks at the cats. It's seeming to work quite well with him. Bark, spray and the "No! or ah ah!", and done... he's barking a lot less.

    The cats have quickly learned that just seeing the bottle means they're doing something bad so they don't get sprayed much.



    Now with vinegar... I don't think that's a good idea at all. I've heard of spraying things down to avoid chewing (sort of like bitter apple spray) but never as an aversive.

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    Senior Member GottaLuvMutts's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by wvasko View Post
    Can you tell us what this dog did.
    Lots of impatience barking, plus some snarking at other dogs over space issues. She was making a pest of herself, and, in the owner's defense, she's a very hard/stubborn dog and doesn't respond to most aversives.

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    Senior Member Pawzk9's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by cynster View Post
    I think it depends on the dog. I would never use it on Cosette, because she is so timid and it's not needed. But I know some dogs that could probably use a spray to get their attention. I don't think it's meant as a punishment. It's meant more as a distraction.
    If it stops the behavior, technically, it's punishment. And like with many punishers, it may work initially, but the dog gets habituated to it, then you need something more punishing to get the same effect. You know, I know people who use it. It seldom works very well for very long. I never know but what I may need some sort of topical spray for my dog. I'd hate for him to look at is as a punisher.

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    Senior Member wvasko's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by GottaLuvMutts View Post
    Lots of impatience barking, plus some snarking at other dogs over space issues. She was making a pest of herself, and, in the owner's defense, she's a very hard/stubborn dog and doesn't respond to most aversives.
    Interesting, I wonder if he tried just water 1st or went directly to vinegar and water mix. I think if spraying is method used it should be water 1st cause it could work and not have damage.
    Dinosaur Dog Trainer


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    Senior Member GottaLuvMutts's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by wvasko View Post
    Interesting, I wonder if he tried just water 1st or went directly to vinegar and water mix. I think if spraying is method used it should be water 1st cause it could work and not have damage.
    Tried water first, but the dog enjoys it.

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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by GottaLuvMutts View Post
    Lots of impatience barking, plus some snarking at other dogs over space issues. She was making a pest of herself, and, in the owner's defense, she's a very hard/stubborn dog and doesn't respond to most aversives.
    If a dog doesn't respond to most aversives, then perhaps the owner should try some non aversives. If she was being snarky, the owner can teach the dog to be comfortable in close proximity to other dogs using desensitization and counter conditioning.

    The owner could watch her dog's body language and intervene long before a snark happens. I see dogs like this all the time. They give a bunch of signals long before they snap or snarl.
    First there is a little bit of white showing in the eyes, then more white, then there might be a hard glare, then a tight lip, then a tight body, then a slight lean forward.

    So instead of letting the dog escalate to a snarl, the owner could step in between her dog and the dog that is bothering her. The owner could redirect the dog with a "leave it" or "off" or "come" or make a weird sound.

    The problem with aversives is that they are so much easier than the non aversive alternative. They become habit. Teacing a solid "leave it" take way more time than spraying or yanking.

    My own example.
    My Puddin is young and gets into things. Normally, I happily trade an unauthorized item (toilet tissue) with an authorized item (squeaky toy). I do it in a fun and exciting manner to teach her what I want.
    One night, she picked up some paper. I was really tired, it was late.
    Instead of trading with her, I just said "NO!" It worked. She left the paper alone... But I didn't teach her anything that day. I didn't show her what I wanted.

    Another thing pet parents should be aware of with so called "stubborn" dogs. - The opposition reflex.
    "Stubborn" and non stubborn dogs will oppose force. It's natural. If you yank some dogs on the leash, they pull harder.
    If dog jumps on you and you knee her in the chest, your dog might come back and jump on you harder.

    Understanding how to use body language with dogs works much better and will improve your relationship with your dog rather than harm it.

    Another personal example of the opposition reflex with my young dog.
    I'm sitting on the sofa on my lap top, she lays across my laptop (for attention, the the warmth of the computer, I don't know).
    I pick her up and move her away.
    She comes right back.
    I pick her up and move her away, she comes right back.
    We do this for a while until I remember what I have learned about dog psychology from reading Rugaas and McConnell.
    Instead of using my hands on my dog, instead of using force, I simply look away.
    Puddin immediately gets the message and she stops laying across my lap top.

    That's the other problem with aversives - lack of understanding of doggie language and what works best for them.

    And of course the main problem with aversives is that it can hurt your relationship with your dog.

    Oh and the other problem with aversives --as has been mentioned - timing. So the pet parent sprays the dog in the face for snarling. At that moment, a man with a beard walks by. A few weeks later the pet parent is wondering why her dog is lunging at all men with beards. This is not an extreme example.

    Timing is crucial in any type of training. But not much harm in clicking and treating at the wrong time. But harm is way more possible when timing is off with an aversive.

    Now for a slightly different subject but in line with the snarling.
    The problem with punishing growls and snarls.
    Ian Dunbar says that suppressing a growl is like removing a ticker from a time bomb.
    A growl or a snarl is the dog telling you something is wrong.
    If you suppress a growl, the next time the dog might just bite with no warning.

    Another problem with suppressing a snarl/snap/growl - who started it.
    I've seen this before.
    A man and a lady standing next to each other. Neither looking at their dogs. The lady has a girl dog, the man has a boy dog.

    The girl dog starts giving the boy dog the stink eye. The boy dog responds with calming signals - a turn of the head, an eye squint.
    The girl dog continues to stare then ups the ante by tightening her lips. The boy dog responds with snap. The boy dog's Dad yanks his dog.
    Nothing happens to the girl dog who started the whole thing.

    So I guess you can tell by now, I'm against spraying dogs.

    I've volunteered at shelters and if two large dogs are in an ugly looking fight, I would't hesitate to spray them with a water hose. Not as punishment but as a way to split them up without sticking my hands in the fray.

    If my dog snarls at a dog, I calmly move her way from that dog.

    Sorry if I repeated anything that somone else already wrote. I only read the first 8 responses before I started typing.


    References
    A great book on reading dogs' body signals:
    Calming Signals by Turid Rugass http://amzn.to/fL8AKU
    A great book on depening our relationship with our dogs:
    Bones Would Rain from the Sky by Suzanne Clothier http://amzn.to/huS6ik
    Last edited by Puddin's Training Tips; 05-01-2011 at 12:08 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by GottaLuvMutts View Post
    Lots of impatience barking, plus some snarking at other dogs over space issues. She was making a pest of herself, and, in the owner's defense, she's a very hard/stubborn dog and doesn't respond to most aversives.
    A very hard stubborn dog that doesn't respond to most aversives? So why use an aversive. Hell, if something ain't working how long does it take to figure out one needs to change direction? Why go to increasing the risk of pain or injury by increasing the volatility of the aversive? If the dog doesnt respond to aversives, could it quite simply be that the damn dog is WAY over threshold?

    This is a training issue (impatience barking) and a behaviour issue (space issues/reactivity) combined: reward based training, management of the dog's space bubble, impulse control (CU exercises) work etc will go a long way here. Punishment will only build a punishment callous, in fact it likely is already there if the handler has had to increasingly raise the level of aversive.

    And no, I would not use a vinegar spray. Because I know that if anyone sprayed ME with it, it would damn well hurt...and that is likely to make me want to kill them. I guess that makes me a hard/stubborn dog that doesn't respond the way people would LIKE me to when hit with an aversive. Be nice to me though, and I'm nice as pie. A bit anthropomorphic maybe...but then we are animals too.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cracker View Post
    Punishment will only build a punishment callous
    I LOVE everything you said there. But I really love "punishment callous".
    Insightful!

    Quote Originally Posted by Pawzk9 View Post
    ... And like with many punishers, it may work initially, but the dog gets habituated to it, then you need something more punishing to get the same effect...It seldom works very well for very long...I'd hate for him to look at is as a punisher.
    Last edited by Puddin's Training Tips; 05-01-2011 at 12:24 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

  21. #20
    Senior Member Cracker's Avatar
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    Re: spray bottle with vinegar/water?

    I cannot take credit for the term punishment callous. It was used in this list:
    http://www.smilesandwags.com/Pat%20M...unishment.html

    I thought it an accurate description.
    Maggi and Cracker, Dog about Rosedale


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