do spray bottles work

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Whitefang

Re: do spray bottles work

Post by Whitefang » Tue Dec 28, 2010 1:05 pm

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Last edited by Whitefang on Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Sarah83
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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by Sarah83 » Tue Dec 28, 2010 2:10 pm

Whitefang wrote:There are other methods to interrupt unwanted behavior that doesn't involve squirting a dog in the face. A loud clapping sound or saying, "Hey" in a loud stern voice will work just as well without water being squirted in their eyes.
And both of those can scare a dog too. Rupe would cope better with being squirted than with a loud stern hey. I clap my hands to interrupt him but me clapping my hands has always been paired with something he likes (I tend to clap my hands when calling him to me for a treat or fusses) so the sound simply isn't an aversive for him. It was at one point though, I had to build it up from a barely heard clap to a regular one because I KNOW I do it without thinking. What I do if that doesn't work depends on the behaviour I'm trying to interrupt. I may stand between him and whatever he's focused on, I may use a treat or toy to lure him away, I may tap him lightly on the butt or shoulder with my fingertips (the way you tap someone on the shoulder), I may have to push him away on rare occasions.

Lis & Addy
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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by Lis & Addy » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:20 pm

Whitefang wrote:There are other methods to interrupt unwanted behavior that doesn't involve squirting a dog in the face. A loud clapping sound or saying, "Hey" in a loud stern voice will work just as well without water being squirted in their eyes.
And for sound-sensitive dogs, that could be far more distressing than a bit of water. When I was ten, and my mother and I were both on our very first dog, a border collie puppy, we learned very quickly that a "loud stern voice" was way too harsh for any situation where any situation where the alternative to stopping her instantly wasn't "dog will now suffer serious injury or death." Whereas a quick squirt of water produced a reaction of "Oh, are we playing that game now instead?"

Other dogs, in my experience, and clearly in yours, find the squirt of water way more distressing than "a loud stern voice."

"Don't do what will stress or distress the dog" is a good general principle. "Don't do to any dog ever what happened to distress one dog particularly sensitive to that particular stimulus" is not. You need to pay attention to what the individual dog finds aversive, distressing, or fun.

Lis

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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by emmabeth » Tue Dec 28, 2010 3:56 pm

All interesting stuff - however to draw a line under it now because this forum does not support the intentional use of aversives...

As Lis just said, we must pay attention to what the dog we are training finds rewarding or aversive - some time ago now we had someone post here who inadvertantly (and against our advice I might add!) managed to make petting and chicken treats an aversive for her dog because of the things she had the dog associate them with (being trapped and pushed out of her comfort zone).

Setting out to distract your dog, with the aim being to then re-direct to something else is an entirely different prospect to setting out to startle or outright frighten a dog into ceasing a behaviour, with no intention to redirect to something else.

The former is a possible route, though I prefer to avoid situations where one needs to distract the dog in the first place, and caution ipeople to be VERY careful about how they distract, the latter is never appropriate as far as I am concerned.

Aversives will ALWAYS carry a risk and as we cannot see the dog in question we cannot know how high that risk may be.
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Whitefang

Re: do spray bottles work

Post by Whitefang » Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:38 pm

emmabeth wrote:All interesting stuff - however to draw a line under it now because this forum does not support the intentional use of aversives...

As Lis just said, we must pay attention to what the dog we are training finds rewarding or aversive - some time ago now we had someone post here who inadvertantly (and against our advice I might add!) managed to make petting and chicken treats an aversive for her dog because of the things she had the dog associate them with (being trapped and pushed out of her comfort zone).

Setting out to distract your dog, with the aim being to then re-direct to something else is an entirely different prospect to setting out to startle or outright frighten a dog into ceasing a behaviour, with no intention to redirect to something else.

The former is a possible route, though I prefer to avoid situations where one needs to distract the dog in the first place, and caution ipeople to be VERY careful about how they distract, the latter is never appropriate as far as I am concerned.

Aversives will ALWAYS carry a risk and as we cannot see the dog in question we cannot know how high that risk may be.
Were the types of things that Victoria did in some of her episodes, like making a loud sound vocally as a distraction before or after she changed some of her thinking? I've seen it done in many of her episodes.

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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by emmabeth » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:38 am

She does still do it now, though not nearly as oftne and usually using a hand clap or a voice, she wouldnt be likely to use aerosol air spray for the hiss or similar sound aversives now.

The difference between what Victoria can do on a show though and what we can advise here, is that she sees the dog, and though we may not see it, she can figure out what the dog will be ok with and what wouldnt be a good idea to do. The show cannot show us all of this process or people would not find it exciting to watch.

There may well be times I would advise a hand clap or an 'ah', but it isnt the first tool out of my 'bag' of ideas, and I would of course be (as Victoria does) aiming to re-direct the dog to something positive straight away.

So if you must, an 'ah' or a *clap* and then 'here doggy, do THIS' can work wonders in some situations - but a 'ah' or a *clap* followed by leaving the dog to return to what he was doing with no attempt to redirect would at BEST just eventually teach the dog to ignore the distraction, and at worst if the dog was frightened by such things, make the dog much worse or create a new problem.

I wouldnt use an 'ah' or a clap to distract Ellie for example, she would find that very off putting and she would lose trust in me, and at the moment her trust in people is very weak, its not something I want to risk at all.
I could clap or 'ah' at Rocky at the top of my voice and it would distract him and he wouldnt care about it, but i dont because Ellie is in the same household and it would still affect her! Two different dogs who think differently, and of course Rocky has known me over 10 years, Ellie has only known me for a few months.
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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by runlikethewind » Wed Dec 29, 2010 4:32 am

I have to be aware too of others correcting or shouting at their dog..my dog thinks it's directed at him and he goes off ears back far away to get away.I think people who use aversives and shouting should be more aware of how it affects other dogs around them....chance would be a fine thing

Whitefang

Re: do spray bottles work

Post by Whitefang » Wed Dec 29, 2010 11:25 am

Reading through the posts, I think it's best to know what your own dog(s) can handle as individuals and not group dogs up and say that they are all the same. That would condtradict my opinion that no dog has the same exact personality. On another note, emmabeth, what "tools" would you recommend to redirect a dog to something that they are allowed to do? You can't just communicate it like you would to a child because that's obviously easier to do because they speak human and dogs don't. Some dogs are just too distacted to even notice you holding an alternative in your hand to say, "oh that looks like a lot more fun".

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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by emmabeth » Thu Dec 30, 2010 5:14 am

Redirecting involves a lot of 'timing'. By the time the dog generally needs some sort of verbal distraction (or physical in punishment based training methods) the window of opportunity is missed, its long gone and all you can do is damage limitation, ie, remove the dog to somewhere else to prevent the behaviour.

So the key thing is to watch, be observant and step in BEFORE the situation fully escalates. If your dog cannot remove his or her attention from whatever it is to the toy/treat etc that you have (that theynormally like!), then you have left it too late. Even if your dog doesnt mind particularly, some methods of distraction (ie a hand clap), it is far far more effective for you to learn the signs that mean you need to step in before it gets that far.

So for example say you have a dog who barks when he sees children. You would watch out for tension in his body, watch his ears and see what they tell you, listen out for sounds htat may mean children and you would ideally then offer him something else to do, ie, go the other way and offer him a game with a toy.

Waiting until he not only sees/hears children, but recognises the sounds/sights AND decides to react is really too late, its much much better to get in there before that happens and of course hte more you aim to do this, the easier it is to read your dog and the environment around you and act before things go wrong.

This is another reason for steering people away from aversives - if you teach people ONLY to distract by clapping or saying 'ah' or as some trainers will, by jerking a choke chain or shouting or using a shock collar... you are also teaching them to wait until things HAVE gone wrong and then try to change the situation from there, which if you think about it is pretty silly and not very effective. They wont then be learning to read their dog or to manage things safely!
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Whitefang

Re: do spray bottles work

Post by Whitefang » Sat Jan 01, 2011 8:46 am

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Last edited by Whitefang on Sun Feb 20, 2011 7:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by Mattie » Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:03 am

Whitefang wrote:That definately makes way more sense! Why I didn't think of that is beyond me, but then I would have no reason to be here if I knew all the answers. Why wait for a situation to get worse only to add more stress onto an already escalated situation.
Often the simplest way is the best but when they are our dogs we are too close to see the simple way, to us the problem isn't simple but complicated and we expect it to have a complicated answer. If we can learn to step back to look at the problem we can sometimes see the simple solution but this is extremely hard to do. We have all been there, we have had to learn the hard way because there wasn't somewhere to go to ask questions, having had to struggle is why we try to help others so they don't go through what we went through.
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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by emmabeth » Sun Jan 02, 2011 12:02 am

Bingo Whitefang, you are getting it!

And also in addition to what Mattie says - as much as you very clearly WANT to really understand and use positive reinforcement, you have had I guess a lifetime of having punishment and the like demonstrated to you and told 'this is what we must do'.

One of the most frequent 'challenges' i get from people who have only known punishment based training or are fans of it is this one.

'I must punish my dog because when he is freaking out and yelling his head off at another dog/the milkman/the paper boy, no amount of sweeties will get him to behave'... which is always said as if this is a neat-o reason why positive reinforcement 'doesnt work'.

When I tell them that they must not allow the other dog./milkman/paper boy to confront or upset their dog, that they need take action BEFORE that situation occurs, they are generally annoyed, tell me that isnt dog training... or confused! But then we do tend to think that way, 'deal with what is happening' rather than thinking 'prepare for what may occur and deal with it before it does', i think it is in our basic human nature. Added to that we for some reason, as a species, seem to automatically take any sort of barking/lunging behaviour from dogs as a HORRID BAD thing and a personal insult and challenge and wrongly assume and feel, that we MUST do something abou *** RIGHT NOW that the dog MUST 'knjow' and be shown that he has done wrong.. I do not know why we do this but we are a funny species - i bet if you ask most people what they think and feel when they ask their dog to sit, or get off the couch, or come, and it doesnt respond they think #'bad dog/rude dog/dog disobeying me on purpose'..... and not 'dog does not understand' or 'dog associates these words with something not pleaseant' or 'my body language is saying the opposite to my words'...!!

Once you break your mind out of that sort of thinking, which is partly instinctive for humans and partly because thats what you see around you the most, then you can think outside the box and predict issues and deal with them before they really ARE issues... which is a whole lot nicer and a lot more fun!
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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by Julz » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:46 am

Right..im new here and just want to say something about the use of spraying water.... Im not condoning it but i have used it in the past.

My experiences are that either it will work for a very short period of time, then the barking resumes, or it will make the dog worse. Some dogs even think it's a game and enjoys it. I dont think on this basis that it's a good tool to use. The only time I would use a spray of water would be to break up a fight.

A better solution might be to teach your dog a barking command, ie to command the dog to bark, then simply never to give that command. Similarly you can also teach dog to stop barking (that's a bit harder, but goes hand in hand with the barking command) It does work, I know of atleast 3 dogs (i dont have many friends who have noisy dogs) that have taught their dogs to bark on command, then dont give the command unless they are showing off.. dog gets a reward and every one is happy.

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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by runlikethewind » Sun Jan 02, 2011 6:49 am

Spot on Emmabeth!

I think a lot of the conflict and difficulty in this area comes from:

1. Owner sees other owners whose dogs can handle situations - 'Telfon dogs' I once heard it called ..so they question why can't mine?
2. You and your dog have to have been in the situation first of all in order for it to have become an issue - so what I mean is, in a way, you can't wrap your dog up in cotton wool. Same as the above really. Owner questions why can't my dog handle this or behave 'normally' like other dogs can - feeling of embarrassment etc.
3. The desire to attempt to 'right' or correct the dog's way of thinking/behaving when it's in the situation - ie Milan style. Avoidance and thinking ahead is sometimes difficult, and often anti social and weird-looking to others. As you say, it's our nature to react during and after. We think of avoidance as not a solution to help our dog handle the situation
4. The way we think our dogs can look after themselves. Oh let them have a scrap and see who comes out top dog, that will sort it out, for example.
5. Plus there's always hope..hope that today you can walk into that field and oh there's that dog coming, maybe today, because my dog is more relaxed, I'll leave him off lead..there won't be a problem - after all.. we've been doing so much training!
6 In order for your dog to overcome his issue, you maybe have to have the cooperation of others - in certain circumstances and people can't be bothered to help or have no time.

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Re: do spray bottles work

Post by mum24dog » Sun Jan 02, 2011 4:20 pm

runlikethewind wrote:I have to be aware too of others correcting or shouting at their dog..my dog thinks it's directed at him and he goes off ears back far away to get away.I think people who use aversives and shouting should be more aware of how it affects other dogs around them....chance would be a fine thing
Exactly, and it's what I say to people I want to stop using aversive methods but who wouldn't listen to any warnings concerning their own dog because in reality their methods have worked with that particular dog without fallout.
I find that if I enlist their cooperation out of consideration for others whose dogs might not be bombproof they are more likely to comply and, who knows, maybe with their next dog they'll bear in mind what I've said?
Most people don't respond well to being ordered about, and a more indirect approach can be more effective.

(BTW I have a dog just like yours.)

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