Using Anti-Chew Spray for Dog Chewing Problems

Dog chewing is a problem many owners deal with, not because dogs are trying to anger owners but because they don't know which objects on which they are allowed to chew. The best way to deal with this problem is to teach your dog which objects are appropriate to chew on, but training aids may be necessary for young dogs.

Providing Appropriate Toys

Many dogs chew because they are teething or because they need to release pent up energy. Thus, before beginning your training program, provide a variety of toys and bones your dog is allowed to have. This should include strong objects such as nylabones and bully sticks as well as soft toys like stuffed animals and rope toys.

When you see your dog begin to chew on something he shouldn't redirect to one of these toys and praise. Reward with a game of tug with the appropriate toy.

Select Appropriate Spray

There are many anti-chew spray products on the market, such as Bitter Apple, Yuck! and EQyss McNasty, but not all sprays work for every dog. Some dogs like the flavor of certain products or, at the very least, aren't deterred by it. No matter how aversive you find the spray, it won't work if it doesn't bother your dog.

You can also try to make your own spray. Many owners suggest mixing hot sauce with cayenne pepper. Many dogs are also deterred by lemon or other sour objects, so you may want to experiment with which sprays your dogs find aversive.

Introduce the Spray

One way to make the spray, whichever you choose, more effective is to apply it directly to the dog's tongue when you catch him chewing on an inappropriate object. Be very careful with the execution of this because you don't want to spray the dog in the face or near the eyes. This is meant just for the tongue.

Thus, when you see your dog chewing on a wire, put the spray right by your dog's mouth and spray the object that is in your dog's mouth. This gives your dog a negative experience with that object as well as the spray.

Reapply Frequently

The biggest mistake owners make with anti-chew sprays is thinking that one application will suffice to stop chewing. These sprays lose effectiveness in hours, so if your dog is a persistent chewer, he may learn that the taste has gone away and begin chewing again.

For these sprays to be at optimal effectiveness, remember to reapply every day before you leave for work as well as after you get home. If you work from home, apply every three to four hours.

Additional Training

Anti-chew sprays are simply a band-aid that can delay training for awhile, but training your dog to leave objects alone is your best bet for the long-term. Teach your dog a leave it command and practice with all objects your dog chews on.

Set your dog up for success by limiting his access to the house when you aren't home. Since you can't punish after the fact, make sure your dog can only get to the most tempting objects when you can supervise, so you can teach which objects you would like him to chew on.