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Vinegar water squirts?

September 14th, 2005, 05:21 PM
My puppy is out of control! Two more weeks at least until puppy school. Last night he kept jumping up high and biting me when I was on the couch. He gets in these crazy fits where he doesn't listen to anything I say, just attacks like he wants to kill me! :eek: Of course his tail is wagging but that makes no difference to me!

Just wondering what you all thought of using vinegar water in a spray bottle as a form of discipline for biting, growling, barking etc. I've tried many other methods (except physical punishment of course) but nothing works. I've heard the vinegar water works well and is harmless to dogs. Any thoughts?

September 14th, 2005, 06:22 PM
This is normal for puppies about an hour before bed time. What your puppy needs at this time is some exercise. You don't want to get this spray in the eye.

September 14th, 2005, 06:41 PM
Vinegar is acetic acid and is just that--acidic. I don't think dilute vinegar would do harm used in this way, but it would make mucous membranes (think eyes, nose, mouth) burn/sting and doesn't it seem a little harsh? I would try straight water first, if you feel this is a necessary step.

I think you need to be careful that you are not reinforcing him for the lunging/biting behavior. If he is successful in getting attention from you in this way, he will continue to do it.

September 14th, 2005, 07:33 PM
Actually what I think is harsh are bites and scabs on my hands!
But...obviously I'm doing something wrong so I'll wait till I go to puppy classes before I try anything.

The puppy book that I got suggested the vinegar squirt (1/8 vinegar - rest water) and not to shoot in the face...just so they get a whiff of it I guess. I won't try it unless nothing else works including puppy school.

Thanks Stacey for the exercise advice. I took your advice last time and now walk the puppy for about 45 minutes - 1 hour a day now. We also play fetch. I know some people disagree about walking a puppy but it does seem to cut down on the number of puppy attacks because he sleeps more.

September 14th, 2005, 07:41 PM
Is he being crate trained? If so and he gets out of hand, give him a time out in the crate. I did this with a recent foster. When she calmed down I would let her out.
He needs exercise, just don't overdue it.

September 14th, 2005, 07:58 PM
Thanks Copper! Louie is crate trained now (just have to add that my puppy is really amazing in many other ways - except biting, growling & barking!!!). My husband doesn't want me putting him in the crate for time outs because he is worried that the crate will be seen as punishment. I think it's a good idea. I find time outs calm him down.

What is a good amount of exercise? I took him to a great off leash park (he was on leash) today...we were gone about an hour but usually we go for about 45 minutes or so. Is that a reasonable amount?

September 14th, 2005, 08:44 PM
I would leave out the vinegar first and see what happens. If it's really really dilute, chances are the doggy won't smell it anyway. JMO

September 14th, 2005, 09:02 PM
I spent many years as a groomer and unfortunately I had to deal with so many dogs who were afraid of water because it had been used as punishment.
Your husband is right you don't want to use the crate for punishment for risk of the puppy not wanting to use their crate any longer. It is supposed to be their safe place.

September 14th, 2005, 09:33 PM
I missed the suggestion on water only spray comment before. It's really hard to know what to do. I wish wish wish he would respond to just the praise I give and try to please me. He is too busy being a puppy to care if I like what he is doing!

I do appreciate all comments (just a little frustrated right now). Hopefully puppy class will help.

September 14th, 2005, 09:48 PM
I have never had to use a spray bottle.BUT if I did,I definately would not have vinegar in it.

Have you tried using a can and put some pennies or a few rocks in it?

Ditto on what Stacey said about the crate.It is never ever to be used at punishment.

September 14th, 2005, 10:06 PM
why not try spraying yourself in the face with the vinegar/water to see how it affects you. If it hurts you, it will hurt your dog, if it's fine on your eyes, it'll probably be fine with your dog.
(I'm actually being serious; and not trying to be an as s)

September 14th, 2005, 10:39 PM
Actually what I think is harsh are bites and scabs on my hands!
But...obviously I'm doing something wrong so I'll wait till I go to puppy classes before I try anything.
The puppy book that I got suggested the vinegar squirt (1/8 vinegar - rest water) and not to shoot in the face...just so they get a whiff of it I guess. I won't try it unless nothing else works including puppy school.
I agree with you--your puppy should not be using you as a chew toy and training is in order.

It's difficult to find the right way to deal with some behaviors, not to mention that anything you do takes time and patience to have an effect. I also think it's very difficult to intervene in this sort of behavior (and you have to interrupt it) without reinforcing it (giving attention).

I remember from your earlier post on the topic that you said you were trying very hard not to react to him with anything that might be construed as play or affection. Because of this, I personally don't feel the squirt bottle (minus the vinegar) is a bad idea, as long as you're reinforcing the positive attention-seeking behavior, trying to be proactive with the play and activity as Stacey suggested, and finding some way to redirect to an appropriate chew toy.

Something we tried with an unruly puppy once was a LOUD whistle that we would wear around our necks at all times (pennies in a can worked about twice, then never again). I can't even remember what we were training now, but it definitely interrupted the undesired behavior. And since we work different shifts, it interrupted our sleep as well :rolleyes: The dog would stop and we could reinforce whatever behavior we liked better. It helps if the behavior you reinforce is something doggie can't possibly do at the same time as chew on you.

Have you noticed any 'signs' before he starts to 'attack,' so you could engage him before he gets ornery?

September 14th, 2005, 11:23 PM
Hi guys - once again thank you! Funny that you should mention to try it on yourself puppyluv as this is what I just finished doing. I figured that even if I try to spray just his body that it might get in his I tried spraying myself with vinegar and it stung my eyes. I now feel guilty for considering it.

Louie threw another tantrum and is in another time out now. I attach his leash to the door instead of using the crate. But I did try the 100 % water and that didn't do anything but seemed to infurate him. It is really freaky when his lips curl back!

We used a can with dry food in it to teach the command come so it wouldn't be a good association I don't think...see that is where is it difficult to decide. Would that stop the crazy behaviour in an instant or would it associate goodies with biting.

Thanks for the whistle idea Shannon! That is a terrific idea. As far as signs...he is just playing and he all of a sudden comes up to me on the couch and starts biting my feet and growling...he loves to bite my toes and play tug of war with my socks and jeans. Ignoring him just makes things worse.

He gets plenty of attention and play (maybe too much I'm starting to think). Also I know he gets enough exercise because he is pooped out after walks.

I do believe that attention is the single most important thing for dogs and kids because they will endure punishment just for the the need for attention must be more important. If you give them all the attention they could possibly want then maybe that is problem? I noticed my attention and affection isn't a motivator for my puppy.....maybe it's because he gets it 24/7?

As far as toys, he really couldn't care less about them. We have bought about 30 different toys and rotate them - 3 to 4 at a time everyday. He just seems to go after what he shouldn't. I praise him a lot when he does chew on them but he seems to get bored with them after a few minutes.

Sorry for whining about this over and over. This is very challenging. If I were to do it again I would get an adult dog though I love my guy more than anything. Thanks for listening!

September 15th, 2005, 08:32 AM
we used our crate for a timeout, actually our puppy school suggested this method to me, and it worked great for us.

When your pup is out of control, gently scoop him up but DO NOT SAY A WORD, put him in the crate, and leave him there for 3-5 minutes. Be calm and indifferent when doing this, don't act mad. When he is quiet (no whining or crying), let him out and do something else - like play fetch, work on "sit", etc... as long as you don't yell at him, or speak harshly when crating him, you can use it for a timeout.

If you are uncomfortable using the crate for a timeout, try using a gated area, or another room that is puppy-proof, of course.

puppies are challenging, but they are so worth it.

September 16th, 2005, 05:08 PM
I'm not sure if this will help, but when my dog was just a puppy she'd like to bite anything she could get her mouth on. To prevent her from biting my hands I'd just put something that smelled like citrus on my hands, like lemon or an orange. If she's just a puppy then maybe they're just biting because they're loosing teeth.

If your puppy is still biting, stop playing with them or giving them attention and lock them in a room. Don't come back to the room for at least a few minutes, after that you can let them out, if the puppy continues to bite do the same thing. Hopefully this will show the puppy that if he/she bites the playtime or attention will stop and she'll be alone. I hope this helps.

September 16th, 2005, 07:12 PM
Something along those boyfriend used to spray bitter apple on his socks to keep my puppy from biting his toes and pulling off his socks.

September 17th, 2005, 05:08 AM
why not try spraying yourself in the face with the vinegar/water to see how it affects you. If it hurts you, it will hurt your dog, if it's fine on your eyes, it'll probably be fine with your dog.
(I'm actually being serious; and not trying to be an as s)

You would have to keep your eyes open

September 17th, 2005, 05:21 AM
What does your puppy have to chew on. You will go through several teething sessions. You will usually have 1-2 weeks between each one. Some puppies don't take this pain very well. It is better to alternate available toys, don't give everything at once because your puppy will spend time with all of them and then get bored and search for something else to soothe his aching gums. Besides human hands are spongy and feel good to chew on. Can you see this behaviour coming. If so try giving him a soaked(water) rope bone frozen. This may be just enough to make him feel better.
If he is not teething, everytime he comes near you take control and make him do something for you. This will break his focus on chewing you to bits.

September 17th, 2005, 05:27 AM
Remember to a dog, and even kids it doesn't matter what type of attention they get as long as it is attention. You yelling no, pushing him off, getting mad is all forms of attention.

September 17th, 2005, 06:07 AM
More great ideas about making myself taste bad to him! Thanks! :) I recently tried pure vinegar in a spray bottle on the furniture (not him - don't worry) and wonder if that would work on me too.

I'm not sure if my puppy is teething or not. He is 3 months old today actually...counting the days down until adulthood! . I really don't think it's about chewing to him...he doesn't seem to chew on me, he bites and tugs on my skin. I think it's more about playing. He starts with the play bow and then goes crazy - he also loves to run away from me when I try to give him time outs. Should I find him a puppy to play with? He loves other dogs so soon as he sees they are friendly he jumps on them two paws on their shoulders! He seems to be lacking social skills. :o

"everytime he comes near you take control and make him do something for you. This will break his focus on chewing you to bits."

I've been trying this and it seems to be working. He is VERY into food. Food is above all else to him except walks so I've been shaking his treats when he gets into his attack mode and this instantly puts him in the eating mood. I then make him sit or lie down for a long time before giving him anything.
Is this a good idea? Or is this rewarding him for bad behaviour? Will he attack me just for treats in the future? Thanks for the suggestion btw Stacey!!!

September 17th, 2005, 06:25 AM
Are you saying that he has already started when you shake the bag. If so you may reinforce the bad behaviour. If you have a sign that he is about to start, this is the time to transfer focus.
Although the mouthing hurts, he is not trying to hurt you. He is just trying to play and really the last thing he wants is for his behaviour to cause you to leave. If this happens every time he tries to play with you this way he will not be so interested in doing it. You do need to give him acceptable choices. How would you like him to ask to play and remember he is only 3 months and is full of bad choices until he learns good ones.

September 17th, 2005, 08:20 PM
I just recently got a puppy and mine has chewed through alot of things. He is 4 months old so yes your puppy is teething too. I have also had a problem with him peeing everywhere and I went to my local petsmart and get this stuff called Dog and Cat repellent. I sprayed it on the areas i don't want him around and he wont go anywhere near it. I also asked my vet how to get him to stop chewing on things and she said to spray a little of that stuff where you dont want them to chew. I would spray a little on your socks and I guarentee he wont come close to them. Try it and see if it works. Another good thing is the Kong toy. Jake my puppy loves them and he chews on it all the time. Just fill it with osme treats and he will entertain himself for awhile.

September 18th, 2005, 06:14 PM
Puppies don't truly teeth. The new adult teeth are moving into the old holes left by the baby teeth - there is no cutting of skin which is what human babies do when they are actually teething.
Using anything other than your relationship to stop him from using his teeth on you does not TEACH him to respect your body and space. He just thinks you taste bad and doesn't learn about respecting your body. Having a puppy is about taking on the responsibility of teaching a member of society to have good manners and to respect others - whether we are talking about a child or a dog.
Don't be afraid to tell him to cut it out. Be firm and clear and consistent and he will get it. Find other things to let him use his teeth on if you like but your body is off limits. Often when you convey your wishes to the puppy he will challenge you 3-5 times and then give up and go on to the next victim. He has gotten your message and now knows not to use his teeth on you. The next victim has to set their boundaries for him as well. Unless its a stuffed toy and then he can chew to his hearts content. So he learns 'no teeth' on people, 'yes teeth' on chew toys.
Now you can move on to the next lesson.