Homemade bitter apple spray is often used to train puppies and older dogs alike not to chew on furniture and other household items. The bitter taste deters dogs from nibbling on your possessions--within weeks, you can have your pet trained with this method. Bitter apple sprays can cost anywhere from $10 to $20 in pet stores as of 2010, but there are a few recipes you can try at home to make a spray that is just as effective at a fraction of the cost.
The base for most bitter apple sprays is apple cider vinegar. This vinegar has a tart taste that most dogs stay away from, making it a perfect repellent. In a spray bottle, combine 2 cups of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of regular white vinegar. Shake well and you'll have an effective bitter apple spray alternative. Spray it on furniture legs or other items your dog may have a habit of chewing on (e.g., shoes, children's toys) to immediately shoo your pet away.
Lemon juice is an alternative to apple cider vinegar when making your own homemade bitter apple spray. Combine 2 cups of lemon juice with 1 cup of white vinegar on a spray bottle. Shake it well, then apply it to furniture legs and other household items that your pet has a habit of chewing on. Not only will you be deterring your dog from nibbling on your possessions, you'll be giving your home the aroma of fresh lemon zest while you're at it.
Re-application and Training
Like with most spray-on applications, it's important to re-apply the bitter spray every 1 to 2 weeks to keep your training consistent until you eliminate the problem. Continue to verbalize your commands as well (e.g., telling your pet "no," or shooing it away from the items it chews) to reinforce your pet's understanding of what it shouldn't do. Patience pays when training puppies and adult dogs--the results of consistent, proper training will benefit you and your pet alike.