Preventing Puppies From Chewing

I have learned the hard way how to protect my house and its contents from the sharp puppy teeth. While our children can be reasoned with, puppies only understand that they need to chew. This may be difficult for some but it was what saved my household's shoes, clothes and walls.

My Border Collie took to chewing shoes, the corners of the walls, taking quilts, clothes and sheets off the outside clothes line, and generally making a nuisance of herself. It was my husband who came up with this bright idea after seeing our dog's reaction to spicy leftover food.


On the walls, where she was chewing we applied splashes of Tabasco and chili, on the clothes line we stuffed stockings with rags that had been soaked in Tabasco sauce and chili powder.

On all of our shoes we applied a thin spray of the same solution, the stronger the better. It only smelled for a little while and the results were that we had shoes that lasted more than 5 minutes after we got them home from the store.

She was most unimpressed and only came back a second time to try it again. The walls were the worst as she used to love chewing them. Something about the ingredients in plaster are tasty for dogs apparently.

Amazingly, almost overnight the problem with the items disappearing from the clothes stopped. We only had to put another stocking on the line for her to put her tail between her legs and disappear into her kennel. It really works, unless of course you have a chili loving dog. If that's the case you're in real trouble.


By Bev

October 4, 20040 found this helpful

Another idea is to use Vick's Vapor Rub or an equivalent generic brand. My neighbor also used a mentholated rub used for sore muscles. Since dogs have a sensitive sense of smell, it really annoys them. You can apply some to a piece of cloth and use a safety pin or tape to attach it to anything that you do not want to stain, like furniture, shoes or whatever they tend to chew. My son's Rottweiler who was at 100 pounds and still a puppy had a bad habit of nipping when he wanted to play. We would rub a small amount of Vick's Vapor Rub on the back of our hands. When he would try to nip, we didn't say a word -- we calmly moved our hand towards him. This cured him of this habit very quickly. Just be careful -- don't get Vick's Vapor Rub in your eyes or the animals' eyes. Also, don't let the dog taste it. I don't think it would hurt him but I'm sure it would leave a nasty taste in his mouth. I was also told this will work for cats, especially when they use your furniture as a scratching post.

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October 5, 20040 found this helpful

Hot sauce will stain so instead of using it on the item you do not want chewed put a drop or two in the puppy's mouth. This was recommended to me by a vet. It worked quite well with my now 8 yr old dog. He knew he had done wrong when he saw me go to the kitchen window where I kept the hot sauce.

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October 5, 20040 found this helpful

This seems rather inhumane. Make sure the puppy has plenty of items he/she is allowed to chew on. Then when you see them going for things they aren't supposed to be chewing on, pull them away from the prohibited item, give them a treat/biscuit and replace the prohibited item with something they can chew on. This is called positive reinforcement. Putting hot sauce in a puppy's mouth is just as bad as putting hot sauce in a teething baby's mouth. Very disturbing for those that actually think this is ok.

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October 5, 20040 found this helpful

"Very disturbing for those that actually think this is ok."

Can't compleley agree there. Very disturbing? We have kids shooting dogs with crossbows, putting puppies on grils. Let's keep things in perspective. I would equate this with parents that wash their kid's mouths out with soap. Not something that I would do, but not something to call child protective services over either. A drop of Tabasco is not that big of a deal, IMO. What I do wonder about is how you can get the right sort of association to make sure the puppy is associating the drop of tabasco with the wrong doing. Using it at as a deterrant on items that he/she has been chewing sounds effective, but if the punishment follows the wrong doing by too long it won't be very effective. And perhaps there is something that isn't quite as hot as tabasco that would aslo work.

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Anonymous Flag
August 11, 20060 found this helpful

As a dog trainer, there are several ways to train your dog to stop chewing on inappropriate items. I don't support all of them but just wanted to mention them here.

It's a natural desire for puppies to chew. As we all have learned, they will chew on just about anything and everything. Adult dogs chew for the satisfaction of chewing and it helps relieve boredom. Chewing is also good for teeth and gums. Most adult dogs however, won't chew on items like walls, shoes, etc. unless they weren't trained not to when they were pups.

Some trainers believe the correct way to stop a puppy from chewing the wrong things is to start training them right away. When the pup starts nipping and biting, give it an appropriate chew toy such as a nyla bone or a hard rubber toy. Never scold the puppy until it's older. Remember, what you teach your puppy in the early stages will remain with it forever and this includes scolding, spanking, etc.

This will lead to behavior issues.

Another way to stop a pup from chewing is to spray bitter apple on the thing it's interested in. Spray it on your hands if the pup is nipping you and be sure to spray some in it's mouth. Keep the bottle handy because you will use it over and over.

When the pup is older and has it's permanent teeth and is still nipping your hands, ankles and chewing on your shoes, some trainers put a remote training collar on the dog. Every time the dog puts it's mouth on something it isn't suppose to, the dog gets a mild shock from the remote. If you use this type of training, be sure to say "NO!" at the same time you give the shock and make sure the dog knows it's YOU who is delivering the jolt.

Many times, dog owners will result to using all of these methods to see which one works best.

Don't forget to praise your dog if he happens to be near something he's chewed on before but now he isn't interested. He will get the message that he's doing a good thing by leaving it alone.

Consistency is the key along with praise. Loving your dog won't change his behaviors, but training will.

Good luck.

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Anonymous Flag
September 15, 20120 found this helpful

Is Vicks vapour rub ok if my puppy licks it as he is biting the corners of my walls in the garden?

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Anonymous Flag
September 15, 20120 found this helpful

Is Vicks vapour rub ok if my puppy licks it as he is biting the corners of my walls in the garden?

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March 17, 20140 found this helpful

Dogs, especially puppies, need to chew. Rather than rub hot sauce on everything, which I, too, think is cruel, why not provide them with something appropriate to chew. I get bully sticks for my dog (also called pizzle sticks) and she loves them. It also keeps her teeth clean. They can be ordered online which is much cheaper than purchasing them in stores.

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July 12, 2006 Flag

New puppies (even some older dogs) like to chew. If you are having this problem, use "Vicks Vapor Rub". Rubbing a small amount on the surface or object you want your pet to avoid will keep them away; therefore breaking the habit.

By Marnita from Cumming, GA

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July 12, 20060 found this helpful

There is a spray bottle of formula at pet stores called "Sour apple or Bitter apple". That is the Brand name. It will keep them away and now even showing the bottle makes mine run. It is something they smell immediately and do not like!

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July 9, 20070 found this helpful

My puppy chewed EVERYTHING. I just did my best to keep things I didnt want chewed out of her reach.

She chewed right past Bitter Apple, Vicks and another thing I got from the vet.

Having a puppy is like having a toddler in the house. You have to watch them. Happily a puppy grows up faster and out of the chewing stage. It's about an 18 month process tho.

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