How to Train Your Dog to Drink from a Bottle

How to Train Your Dog to Drink from a Bottle
Easy difficulty iconEasy
Time icon1-5 Days
General training category iconGeneral

Introduction

Your dog lives to play ball. He is never happier than when chasing after a ball, fetching it, and dropping the ball at your feet to start over again. However, in hot weather, he pants heavily. On this particular day, you realize the dog badly needs to drink when you pick up the ball and it's coated in thick, sticky saliva and the ball feels physically warm.

A responsible pet parent should always take water along on a hot day. But for some dogs, this also means packing a container or bowl for the dog to drink from. How much more convenient would it be if the dog could drink directly from the bottle?

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Defining Tasks

This isn't so much a command as a life skill. Like a child learning to eat food with a knife and fork, for a dog, learning to drink from a bottle makes life so much easier. For the majority of people this is about keeping their dog hydrated while on the move, but for some owners, it's about keeping their pets clean.

Pet water drinking bottles can be a good solution for some breeds that are messy drinkers. Not only does using the tube from a pet water bottle keep their fur drier, but the water itself stays cleaner and fresher...since it doesn't get contaminated by slobber, dirt, or general detritus.

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Getting Started

To teach your dog to drink from a bottle just takes a little time and patience. Most dogs will get the hang of it more quickly than others, and be sure they have an alternative source of water while learning. The basics you need to get started include:

  • A water bottle, either a sports bottle or a wide-necked bottle
  • An adaptor or specialized water bottle (should you choose this method)
  • Peanut butter
  • Low salt chicken broth

It's perfectly possible to train a dog to drink directly from the bottle. But this works best for small dogs with small tongues that will fit inside the bottle. If your dog is larger, then choose a water bottle with a wider diameter top.

It can be helpful to introduce the bottle while on a walk when you know the dog is thirsty. However, take extreme care not to deprive the dog of fluids, especially on a hot day when heatstroke could be a factor.

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The Peanut Butter Method

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Peanut Butter method for How to Train Your Dog to Drink from a Bottle
1

Smear the tip

This works best with a sports-type water bottle. Use a finger to smear peanut butter (or another, dog-safe but tasty food) over the sports cap of the bottle.

2

Let the dog lick

Let the dog sniff the cap and discover the tasty treat and lick it off.

3

Open the cap

Open sports cap a little so that a dribble of water comes out.

4

Repeat 1& 2

Smear peanut butter on the lid with the sports' top open slightly to allow drops of water through. This time when the dog licks the peanut butter, he'll now get water in addition.

5

Widen the cap

Gradually open up the sports' cap so that the dog gets maximum flow of water as he learns to lick and lap.

The Chicken Broth Method

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Chicken Broth method for How to Train Your Dog to Drink from a Bottle
1

Wide-necked bottle

To teach the dog to drink directly from the bottle, select a wide-necked bottle. It should be large enough to let the dog's tongue enter, but not so wide his nose could become stuck inside.

2

Chicken broth

Cook up and cool some low-salt chicken broth. Put this inside the water bottle (you can make the broth quite weak, while being tasty enough to encourage the dog to lap).

3

Tip the bottle

Let the dog sniff the full bottle to discover the treat waiting inside. Hold the bottle very slightly angled so that he can skim some of the broth from the top of the bottle.

4

Tip more

As he becomes eager to get the broth, angle the bottle more acutely so that there's always broth within reach of his tongue

5

Switch for water

Now make the broth more and more dilute, so that he learns to lap water from the bottle rather than chicken soup.

The Adapter Method

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Adapter method for How to Train Your Dog to Drink from a Bottle
1

Drinking bottle

For the larger dog whose tongue won't fit inside the bottle, try using a special dog drinking bottle. These clever devices have a scoop that fits around the bottle that hinge open, and allow you to tip water into it to act as a bowl.

2

Portable pet drinker

Try a Pet Top portable drinking device. This fits on top of a bottle. The pet parent holds the bottle while the dog rolls his tongue over the top. Start with a light flow setting while the dog gets used to the device.

3

Heavier flow

Once the dog gets the hang of the Pet Top drinker, adjust the flow to maximum for a satisfying drink. If your dog is slow to catch on then use the peanut butter trick, smearing some on the Pet Top.

4

Dog drinker

If you prefer a dog drinker with a spout to a water bowl, then take things slowly and make sure your dog has access to water bowls until you are confident he has the hang of things.

5

Dog drinkers II

Hold a finger against the ball-bearing at the end of the spout so the water flows out. Show your dog your finger and the water. If he's slow to catch on, smear tasty peanut butter on your finger, so he licks and laps at the same time.

By Amy Caldwell

Published: 10/16/2017, edited: 01/08/2021

Training Questions

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Training Questions and Answers

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Bobby

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Poodle x Shih-Tzu

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3 Years

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Finding it difficult to potty train it

Nov. 26, 2021

Bobby's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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1133 Dog owners recommended

Hello Serwaa, Check out the Crate Training method from the article linked below. Make sure that the crate doesn't have anything absorbent in it - including a soft bed or towel. Check out www.primopads.com if you need a non-absorbent bed for him. Make sure the crate is only big enough for him to turn around, lie down and stand up, and not so big that he can potty in one end and stand in the opposite end to avoid it. Dogs have a natural desire to keep a confined space clean so it needs to be the right size to encourage that natural desire. Use a cleaner that contains enzymes to clean any previous or current accidents - only enzymes will remove the small and remaining smells encourage the dog to potty in the same location again later. The method I have linked below was written for younger puppies, since your dog is older you can adjust the times and take him potty less frequently. I suggest taking him potty every 3 hours when you are home. After 1.5 hours (or less if he has an accident sooner) or freedom out of the crate, return him to the crate while his bladder is filling back up again until it has been 3 hours since his last potty trip. When you have to go off he should be able to hold his bladder in the crate for 5-7 hours - less at first while he is getting used to it and longer once he is accustomed to the crate. Only have him wait that long when you are not home though, take him out about every 3 hours while home. You want him to get into the habit of holder his bladder between trips and not just eliminating whenever he feels the urge and you want to encourage that desire for cleanliness in your home - which the crate is helpful for. Less freedom now means more freedom later in life. Crate Training method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-german-shepherd-puppy-to-poop-outside If he is not already used to a crate, expect crying at first. When he cries and you know he doesn't need to go potty yet, ignore the crying. Most dogs will adjust if you are consistent. You can give him a dog food stuffed hollow chew toy to help him adjust and sprinkle treats into the crate during times of quietness to further encourage quietness. If he continues protesting for long periods of time past 3-5 days, you can use a Pet Convincer. Work on teaching "Quiet" but using the Quiet method from the article linked below. Tell him "Quiet" when he barks and cries. If he gets quiet and stays quiet, you can sprinkle a few pieces of dog food into the crate through the wires calmly, then leave again. If he disobeys your command and keep crying or stops but starts again, spray a small puff of air from the Pet convincer at his side through the crate while saying "Ah Ah" calmly, then leave again. If he stays quiet after you leave you can periodically sprinkle treats into the crate to reward quietness. Quiet method: https://wagwalking.com/training/train-a-shih-tzu-puppy-to-not-bark Only use the unscented air from the Pet Convincers - don't use citronella, it's too harsh and lingers for too long so can be confusing. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

Nov. 26, 2021

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Toby

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Shih Tzu

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1 Year

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What age can you put a dog on a bottle

Feb. 27, 2018

Toby's Owner

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Caitlin Crittenden - Dog Trainer

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Hello Tilly, You can try to teach a dog as young as eight weeks to drink from a water bottle. Some will be able to do it right away at that age, but others will need to practice for a month, and will learn closer to three or four months.

Feb. 27, 2018


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