You put Sparky out back while you jump in the shower. A few minutes later you discover, sure enough, he's once again chewed through the cable wires. Dogs chew for lots of reasons. Rather than getting frustrated with your beloved pooch, train him to avoid wires in the first place.
Give Him Something to Chew
Dogs chew and sometimes the annoying habit is completely unavoidable. You'll just have to redirect his attention to something more acceptable for him to chew on. Give him a squeaky toy, tennis ball or rawhide bone to stick in his mouth instead. Sometimes brain-stimulating toys are helpful for canines who will do anything for food. Get him a hollow rubber toy or one with empty compartments. Shove his dinner inside the toy, rather than a bowl. He'll be occupied for a while trying to get his food out and less interested in the wires in the corner. If he heads back to the wires, make a loud noise to distract him, place his chew-toy in his mouth and praise him when he gnaws on that instead of the wires.
Make Them Taste Bad
Make the wires taste differently by coating them with a foul-tasting deterrent. Pick up a bottle of bitter spray at your local pet store and saturate the wires. When Sparky heads over to his usual gnawing location, he'll get a mouthful of something unpleasant. Hot sauce, cologne or citrus oils are alternatives in case your pooch doesn't react to bitter-tasting spray. He'll quickly learn that wires taste horrible and will want to avoid the area all together.
Cover Them Up
You flip the switch to turn on your newly installed Christmas lights, but nothing happens. When you retrace your wires to ensure everything is plugged in tightly, you realize that Sparky clearly ripped through the wires lying across the ground. Covering the exposed wires not only protects your display, it also keeps dangerous objects out of Sparky's mouth. Place scenic rocks or heavy potted plants on the wires. Depending where they are located, putting a large piece of fake grass over them may also keep your furry friend away from his less-than-desirable chew-toy.
Take Him on a Walk
If Sparky continues to tear up your wires, he may not be getting enough human interaction or exercise. He's simply trying to sooth himself and stay entertained. Before shoving him outside prior to your Saturday morning cleaning session, take him for a nice long walk. He'll get out some of his energy and enjoy some special bonding time with you. Plus you'll sneak in a little exercise for the day.
By Melodie Anne Coffman
Petfinder: Why Do Dogs Chew?
The Humane Society of the United States: Chewing: The Whys and Hows of Stopping a Gnawing Problem
Rancho Coastal Humane Society: Dog is Chewing Everything… Ask a Trainer
About the Author
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.