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Dog Training Techniques - Soda Can Distraction and Squirt Bottle Training

If your dog gets into a barking “zone” and can’t be stopped, there are two simple methods of distraction you might use to break the cycle. The non-invasive version is nothing more than a soda can with a couple of dozen pennies in it, which has been taped shut so the coins don’t fall out. When your dog enters the bark zone and you want to yell (you must not yell) at

her, give the can a good shake or two while saying “hush”. The noise should distract your barker long enough to shut her up, at which time you can finally say, “good dog,” and give her a treat. Always pair the can shaking with a “hush” signal so that eventually the dog understands the “hush” signal even when you’ve stopped using the soda can. (Let’s face it, you probably don’t want to carry a soda can for the rest of your life).

If the soda can trick fails, the more intrusive alternative is a spray bottle of water. Squirting the barking dog (while saying “hush”) may also provide a momentary break in the barking, while your dog tries to figure out what just happened. Again, your cue to say, “good dog” and break out the treat. You will hear some people suggesting that you squirt the dog in the face. It’s damned unpleasant to be squirted in the face, and it’s hard to squirt someone in the face without hitting the eyes. Dogs who have been disciplined or punished by nose-smacking or other facial interference are more likely to feel threatened when approached face-to-face at other times, and are also more likely to bite. It’s much preferable to squirt your dog’s shoulder or backside. Keep in mind that your dog should never be frightened or hurt by training – fear almost always guarantees a failure to learn.

Article Summary

  1. Use a soda can or squirt bottle to interrupt your dog when he’s barking.

  2. Keep giving the “hush” command while using other interventions, so your dog eventually learns what “hush”means.

  3. Never squirt in the face.

  4. Never scare or hurt your dog!

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