A squirt bottle is my new best friend.
I ought to elaborate here. Last year we tried to train our
dogs to stop licking everything on earth by hiring a trainer. They
licked her face the entire visit, which she refused to acknowledge.
She said that if she acknowledged the licking, the dogs would keep
licking her. I thought perhaps I could employ dog whisperer
techniques I'd learned from watching reality TV:
"But he's still licking you," I whispered.
"Eventually he'll stop," she whispered back.
"But I want him to stop now," I rasped.
"You just have to ignore him," she said as my dog curled
his tongue up her left nostril and out her ear.
She went on to deliver poorly rehearsed instructions on
how to use a squirt bottle and held out her hand for the 800 bucks
we owed her. I just stood there. My wife told me to write her a
"Just ignore her and she'll stop," I whispered.
She left us with our dogs licking the TV as we stared at
our $800 squirt bottle.
The instructions for the squirt bottle are complicated and
involve dog trainer jargon that I will try to summarize for you,
Point. Squirt. Repeat.
Kind of like shampoo, but instead of wild hibiscus, your
living room ends up smelling like wet border collie.
And it doesn't work-on dogs. It does work miraculously on
Observe my lovely, beautiful, peaceful sleeping daughter
at 7:38 a.m.:
"Hey, wake up and go to school!"
"Mrrrhm hrep big fat blrrrgh dorg-"
"-^%$#@! DAD I SWEAR IF YOU SQUIRT ME AGAIN I WILL CALL
"-I AM PICKING UP THE PH-"
"ARRRRGGGH!" Feet on the floor, fully awake and (I need to
be diplomatic here) highly energized.
It is the wand of wonders. King Solomon's Squeal. Daddy's
The dogs let me squirt them for precisely one afternoon,
until I turned my back for 10 seconds, whereupon they chewed up the
water bottle. It took the kids three days before they caught on and
hid the water bottle.
In. The. Freezer.
This worked against them, as they left a good 3 inches of
space, which I filled with a January-cold carafe of Lake Michigan
and squirted them both into a corner.
Precision is important so I recommend a high-end squirt
bottle from Kmart with an adjustable nozzle delivering plenty of
power behind a stream that's accurate up to 14 feet. This is the
most important part, since safety dictates you stand in the hallway
to squirt your more adroit offspring.
I can hide partially behind an open bedroom door and fill
up my daughter's ear like I'm at one of those water races at the
midway and her head is a balloon, yet I easily dodge the sharp
pencils and X-Acto knives she uses for retaliation.
Christopher Garlington is a Chicago dad and the author of
the deathbychildren.com blog.
Christopher lives in Chicago with his wife and kids and can also be found at deathbychildren.com.
See more of Christopher's stories here.
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