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Seeking advice: My dog is chewing cords and cables

February 12th, 2009, 10:42 AM
I'm back asking for help again. Cassidy, my sweet new Scottie girl, is chewing cables and cords. Obviously, this really scares me. She has very sharp teeth and could sever a cord very quickly and get a serious injury. Right now, I'm trying bitter apple spray on the things she has had in her mouth. It seems to work somewhat. Do I need to reapply this periodically? She had been doing better, but yesterday, she came trotting through the living room dragging a playstation controller across the floor. (I still say this was hubby's fault for leaving this where she could get it.) I'm going to treat these cords as well. I've contacted her breeder and she recommended I put the cords in PVC piping. I'm going to do that for some of the things I just can't move.

Any advice on what to do? Is there something better than bitter apple and how often to reapply.

She has a huge number of toys in all shapes and textures. She is great about chewing (and destroying:D) these. It is just occassionally she gets a cord. At first I was just removing the cord and offering an appropriate toy. Then I began a loud vocal reprimand. This isn't as successful, because she will stop what she is doing and run to me, leaving a trail of urine. Right now, I'm using the bitter apple and clapping my hands to get her attention. It seems to be somewhat successful.

I crate her when I can't watch her and at night. She loves to stay close to me, so I can watch her, so I do catch her when she gets to a cord. With this behavior, though, I cannot leave her unattended for her safety. We start her obedience classes in two weeks. She was an outside dog before we got her, so she didn't have cables and cords around. Thanks for your help. I just want to keep her safe, happy and healthy.

February 12th, 2009, 10:46 AM
You can try rubbing the cords with cayenne pepper if the bitter apple isn't doing the trick. I'd also continue to re-direct her with an appropriate toy.

February 12th, 2009, 10:52 AM
are you using the bitter apple the correct way? 80% of people don' have to first spray some on your finger and wipe it in the dogs mouth, your pet will foam and spit, relax, its harmless but it lets them relate the smell to the taste...most people just spray the cord etc with the spray.....and yes you do have to reapply it periodically

February 12th, 2009, 03:29 PM
Thanks. I am redirecting her. She loves her toys, so this is pretty easy.

I've never put the spray in her mouth, but the first time I was using it, I had sprayed it very liberally on the cord (my laptop cord) and she was curious and came over and licked the liquid off the cord. She got the most horrified look on her face and then ran to the water bowl. I'm pretty sure she doesn't like the taste.

I'm going to spend a few hours treating and retreating with bitter apple all the cords she can get to that I just can't remove. I'll also check on the cayenne pepper. Is this a product I get at the pet store, or is it just the cooking type mixed with water? Will it injure her eyes?

I'm also going to discuss this with her trainer when our classes start. To me, this is a behavior just as dangerous as letting a dog run loose in traffic. Thanks for the advice. She is still young and still learning. She will learn; I just need to be a good and diligent teacher.

February 12th, 2009, 07:18 PM
This is many times a very deadly habit that needs to be stopped asap. Training is in order here. With everything else you are doing I would also keep a spray bottle with vinegar for when she is caught in the act, and spray her with it and say "no". (Dogs hate vinegar, best behavioral tool I have found)

February 12th, 2009, 07:52 PM
I've always had success with what I call the "hot" panic. I teach my dogs what hot means by showing them the stove, oven and a hot frying pan. When they go near I'll act afraid and say "ahhhh, ahhhh, hot" and they'll step back. I'm sure they can feel the heat. I'll put my hand near the area and quick withdraw my hand like I'm hurt or afraid while repeating "ahh, ahh, hot." I did the same with cords and anything dangerous when they were young and none has ever touched a cord. If their balls land in cords they won't even pick them up, but will wait for me to come and rescue. They sometimes like to drink water from the tub faucet. If I'm running a bath and see them go to drink all I say is "hot" and they step back.

Toys are toys and great, but if your dog needs to chew, then I would probably look for something appropriate for him to chew on. Destroying toys can be dangerous.


February 12th, 2009, 08:35 PM
We always found the best thing that worked was.....LIME (not lemons). Just cut a piece off of a lime and keep it close by. If biting, chewing or a bad habit appeared, we would take the lime and gently squeeze & rub the juice onto our little pups noses with a index finger pointed---NO!

The lime on the nose truly achieved their attention and it's all natural! :thumbs up

February 12th, 2009, 11:25 PM
Thanks for all the tips and advice. I am taking this very seriously. I work with her every day and she is very smart. When I tell her to "drop it' she will drop anything she has in her mouth even the game controller cord. We are getting very good at "leave it" as well.

The vinegar and lime sound good. I can have these items really close by. One of her favorite toys is her Nylabone and she can't destroy it. The reason she is so good with "drop it" is because she has to give me any stuffed type toy for inspection. She has only been with us a few weeks and is doing so well in so many ways. I just know this one behavior could be deadly.

I appreciate the information. I want to make our home a safe place for her. I've never faced the cord chewing before, so I wanted the advice of others. Thanks.

February 13th, 2009, 01:18 AM
Cord chewing seems to be a phase most puppies go through. My Riley chewed through my keyboard and mouse cables in about 5 seconds the second day I got him :rolleyes:.

Stick with the bitter apple and reapply often. He will quickly figure it out if the taste is always there.

The spray bottle is a good idea as well. I would try first without the lemon or vinegar in it and if it is not effective then move to adding a small amount of vinegar. You can then spray at or towards the dog and say uh-huh (or leave it etc). Make sure to give good praise and rewards if the pup turns away from the cords.

Good luck :goodvibes:.

February 13th, 2009, 06:35 AM
When bitter apple didn't work for my Retriever pup I would rub some tabasco sauce on the cords/dining room chairs. That seemed to work better.

Currently I'm using a product called Bitter Yuck (bought at Petsmart) with my Cavalier puppy. Either it works well or he doesn't have as great a need to chew as my Retriever did (I think it might be a combination of both). I know he is teething right now - last night I gave him some ice chips which he thought were the most awesome thing in the world. My older dog looked at me with the "you're giving me what?" disgusted look.

February 13th, 2009, 11:45 AM
Cayenne pepper is just the spice you can buy at the store, add just enough water to make a paste. If the pepper gets into her eyes, it will hurt.

I have never thought about using a 'hot' command with cords, although the dogs do know what hot means and will quickly move away from the stove when I say it. My kitchen is small, so if I open the oven it blocks the path the dogs take to the dog door. I needed to make sure that the dogs would not try to squeeze past me when the oven is open and risk burning themselves (or me!) so I taught them 'hot' command.

If you plan to use something like vinegar in a spray bottle, be careful never to get it in the dogs eyes, that would be very painful.

February 13th, 2009, 06:01 PM
Thanks to everyone for even more information. I should say, she isn't a puppy--she is 2 1/2 years old. She was primarily an outside dog before we got her, and honestly, I see many of her actions puppy-like. She is still learning. She hasn't chewed anything inappropriate for the last 2 days. And I've only seen her mouthing cords/wires/cables 4 times, but that is enough to concern me. I removed many things that need to be out of her way anyhow, and resprayed everything I can't move. The Bitter Yuck is my next line of defense, but she seems to avoid the bitter apple.

I went out today and got her a new ball--she destroyed a tennis ball last night in less than 10 minutes. (I watched her and when she compromised the felt and it began to split I threw it away.) This toy is like a ball of yarn, but made of braided rope. I'm also going to get her a couple of different styles of Nylabones. She likes the one she has. I have Kong-style treat balls that she enjoys. I'm using things like this to redirect. My other dog never had a huge interest in toys past his puppy stage, so we have lots of toys around here. I don't think the stuffed toys are the best for her right now. Or tennis balls. My male never "ate" a tennis ball... It has been a long time since I've been through "puppy-hood".

Many thanks!

February 27th, 2009, 10:26 AM
I wanted to give a quick update: Things are doing better. Bitter apple spray is wonderful stuff. I've been reapplying it to cords and anything else I need to in the house. Bitter apple is great! I've also used the spray bottle with water and pennies in a can.

She started training this week and I mentioned her problems. One thing that was recommended was more exercise. I've doubled the length of her walks since we've had pleasant weather. She has lots of energy and the walks help her. She is definitely showing progress. Thanks for the tips!