Have you been told to spray your Dachshund with water to stop them barking, chewing or nipping? Are you wondering if it’s cruel to spray your Dachshund with water? Here’s everything you need to know about spraying your Dachshund with water.
Should I Spray My Dachshund With Water? No, you should not spray your Dachshund with water to train them. This is an aversive dog training method that uses fear and discomfort to change an unwanted behaviour. Positive reinforcement is the best way to correct your Dachshund’s behaviour long-term.
Read on to find out why you shouldn’t spray your Dachshund with water, what long-term effect this may have on them, and why positive reinforcement is a more effective dog training method.
Table of Contents
- What Is Aversive Training For Dachshunds?
- Why Do Dog Owners Use Aversives To Train Dachshunds
- Do Some Dachshunds Like Being Sprayed With Water?
- Does Spraying A Dachshund With Water Work?
- Will Spraying My Dachshund With Water Stop Them Barking?
- Will Spraying My Dachshund With Water Stop Them Chewing Furniture?
- Will Spraying My Dachshund With Water Stop Them Jumping Up At People?
- Why Is My Dachshund Afraid Of Spray Bottles?
- Can Using A Spray Bottle Harm My Dachshund?
- Is Spraying A Dachshund With Water Cruel?
- Is Positive Reinforcement Training Better Than Using Aversives?
- What do I do next?
This article is based on research and personal experience as a Dachshund owner of 10+ years. I’m not a Vet, qualified dog trainer or dog behaviourist.
What Is Aversive Training For Dachshunds?
Aversive training is where you do something to make your Dachshund feel uncomfortable, intimidated, anxious or scared, to correct their undesirable behaviour.
Some examples of aversive training methods are spraying a Dachshund with water (which is touch aversive), shaking a can full of stones (which is sound aversive), using a shock collar (which is pain aversive) or using a vibrating collar (which is touch aversive).
Most dogs hate being sprayed with water. That’s why spraying a Dachshund with water is often used as a punishment or correction for bad or undesirable behaviour.
If you have a fearful or highly anxious Dachshund, spraying them with water may make them terrified of you. They could also become scared of the area in your home where they were sprayed too.
In fact, the associations around being sprayed with water can be far reaching. That’s because your Dachshund doesn’t understand what they’re being punished for.
Unfortunately, using aversives can break the bond of trust you have with your Dachshund. It can also make them very wary of you.
This could then lead to other fear-based behavioural issues, making training your Dachshund even harder!
Why Do Dog Owners Use Aversives To Train Dachshunds
Dog owners use aversive methods to train Dachshunds because they’re often a quick and easy fix.
For example, if your Dachshund barks to alert you to something and you spray him in the face, he’ll probably stop barking immediately.
In most cases, the spray will scare him enough to either stop barking or run away. In fact, some Dachshunds might even try to hide under furniture to get away from the water spray.
You might then think that the water spray method worked because the barking has stopped – job done!
However, you have to think about this from your Dachshund’s point of view.
Let’s say your Dachshund barks to alert you to something he’s anxious about. You spray him in the face with water and he stops barking or runs away.
The thing is, your Dachshund still feels that initial anxiety and the need to alert you. But now he has the original anxiety and the added anxiety of knowing he can no longer speak up to tell you what’s wrong.
Your Dachshund has the exact same feelings and emotions he had before, but is no longer allowed to express himself in the way that comes naturally to him. So he basically suffers in silence and is left totally frustrated and confused.
He then starts to lose trust in you and lives in fear of being sprayed again. Even the sight of the spray bottle may trigger a fearful response.
This could then lead to unpredictability and other behavioural issues further down the line.
Do Some Dachshunds Like Being Sprayed With Water?
Yes, of course, there are exceptions to this rule. Some Dachshunds like water and might even enjoy being sprayed! They might run around the house and turn it into a game.
Although, the ones who like the water tend to continue doing the unwanted behaviour. They have no fear so there’s no reason for them to stop!
Aversives only really work through fear and discomfort. If your Dachshund isn’t scared of the water bottle, it will have little effect.
Does Spraying A Dachshund With Water Work?
No, spraying a Dachshund with water to stop an undesirable behaviour does not work long-term.
It’s a quick, short-term fix that shocks your Dachshund into stopping what he’s doing in that moment. It can also lead to all sorts of other behavioural issues further down the line.
This is why you should not spray a Dachshund with water to train them:
Water spraying won’t be effective in the long term
Water spraying is unlikely to have long-term success when training your Dachshund.
That’s because your Dachshund will probably carry on this behaviour when the threat of the water bottle has gone.
Even though using the water spray may distract or scare your Dachshund for a minute or two, it probably won’t stop him misbehaving when you haven’t got the bottle in your hand.
What you’re actually teaching your Dachshund is that he can keep doing the same behaviour when the spray bottle isn’t in sight.
He’s being trained to stop everything and run away when the spray bottle comes out, but hasn’t learned what it is you’re actually trying to teach him!
Your Dachshund may become desensitised to the water spray bottle
Another reason spraying your Dachshund with water is ineffective in the long-term is that he may become desensitised over time.
This means that when you spray your Dachshund with water too often, he stops caring or noticing enough to change his undesirable behaviour.
And of course, if your Dachshund enjoys being sprayed, he’s unlikely to see the water spray as a punishment. In this case, it probably won’t stop his behaviour at all!
Your Dachshund may develop a fear of water or bottles
If you know your Dachshund is particularly sensitive to being sprayed with water, he might develop severe fear and anxiety around water.
This could cause permanent difficulties and challenging behavioural issues.
He may become more fearful than usual, and it might be hard to get him to do simple things like bathing without extreme distress.
Will Spraying My Dachshund With Water Stop Them Barking?
No, spraying your Dachshund with water to stop him from barking is unlikely to be effective, especially long-term.
Spraying him may stop him in his tracks while he’s barking, but it won’t teach him not to bark!
It’ll most likely teach him that he can’t bark when you’re holding a spray bottle. And you can’t carry one around in your hand at all times!
It’s much better to work on the causes of barking to get to the route of the problem.
You need to understand WHY your Dachshund barks so you can deal with the issue once and for all.
Will Spraying My Dachshund With Water Stop Them Chewing Furniture?
No, using a spray bottle to stop your Dachshund from chewing furniture is not a good long-term solution.
If your Dachshund chews while you’re out of the room, he’ll know he’s not at risk of being sprayed.
This means that spraying your Dachshund won’t completely stop him from chewing, even if it does for a short amount of time.
Remember that chewing furniture may also be a sign of anxiety or fear. Using a spray bottle could therefore be counter-productive.
It might even heighten your Dachshund’s fears and anxieties, which won’t stop him from chewing, and may in fact make his habit worse!
Will Spraying My Dachshund With Water Stop Them Jumping Up At People?
No, spraying your Dachshund to stop him jumping up at people is not practical at all. It means you’ll need to have a spray bottle ready whenever someone comes to your home.
Again, it’s not an effective long-term solution because you haven’t taught your Dachshund how you want him to behave.
He’s only learned that when you’re holding the spray bottle, he may be punished for jumping. And this might not be enough to deter his behaviour!
Also, if you spray your Dachshund every time he jumps up at one specific person, he may become afraid of that person or other people that enter your home.
This can cause all sorts of problems and unpredictable behaviours!
Why Is My Dachshund Afraid Of Spray Bottles?
It’s common for Dachshunds (and all dog breeds!) to be afraid of spray bottles. This is usually because the sudden bursts of water startle and scare them.
Many owners also find their dogs are afraid of hoses and taps!
In fact, spraying a Dachshund with water can cause many fear associations. Your Dachshund may start to freak out if you pick up any kind of spray bottle in the future!
Can Using A Spray Bottle Harm My Dachshund?
No, using a spray bottle filled with water will not physically harm your Dachshund.
However, spraying your Dachshund with water might have a significant mental effect on him which could lead to frustration, anxiety, unpredictability, aggression, and other behavioural issues.
It could also make your Dachshund fearful of you, which would obviously be very upsetting and also make training much more difficult.
In particular, if your Dachshund is anxious or afraid already, spraying him with water will just reinforce his fears.
Is Spraying A Dachshund With Water Cruel?
Yes, spraying a Dachshund with water is cruel because it uses fear based methods to stop an unwanted or undesirable behaviour.
It punishes your Dachshund’s bad behaviour rather than rewarding his good behaviour to encourage more of it.
If you think about it, no one would ever consider spraying a baby in the face to stop it crying, so why would you spray a Dachshund for barking?
You have to get to the route of any undesirable behaviours to try and understand WHY they’re happening.
All of these reasons have different training solutions. And the only way to deal with them once and for all is through positive reinforcement or reward based training.
So it’s best to put down the squirters and focus on long-term dog training and bond building instead!
Is Positive Reinforcement Training Better Than Using Aversives?
Yes, positive reinforcement training is much better than using fear-based aversives.
Positive reinforcement is where you consistently ignore or redirect your Dachshund’s undesirable behaviour and praise or reward their good behaviour to encourage more of it.
The aversive technique of spraying your Dachshund with water is a temporary fix, not a long-term solution. It’ll scare or startle your Dachshund into stopping whatever he was doing, but it won’t train him on how you want him to behave.
It’s far better to ignore any bad behaviours and focus on what your Dachshund should be doing, to encourage him to do more of that instead!
However, positive reinforcement training isn’t a quick fix like aversive methods are. You’ll have to train your Dachshund consistently to get the results you want.
For example, if your Dachshund keeps nipping at your hands, redirect his attention to a toy to show him what you want him to chew on instead!
By rewarding your Dachshund when he chews the toy (good boy!), you’re showing him what he should be doing instead of biting and nipping!
Unlike positive reinforcement, spraying your Dachshund with water will not train your Dachshund on this behaviour. And it certainly won’t teach him to stop nipping your hands!
So, there you have it! Spraying your Dachshund with water is an aversive training method that stops an unwanted behaviour through fear, discomfort or anxiety. Even though spraying your Dachshund with water might work temporarily, it’s not a long-term solution because you’re not training your Dachshund on how you want them to behave.
Aversive training methods can also lead to frustration, unpredictability, anxiety, aggression and other behavioural issues further down the line.
What do I do next?
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