It sure is hard to love Rusty when you walk into the living room and see he's destroyed several of your sofa cushions. He doesn't mean to make you mad. He was bored and lonely while you were at the grocery store. Fortunately for him, that sofa kept him occupied for hours, so he didn't even notice you were gone. Keep the peace in your home and work with your pooch to prevent his destructive chewing habits. You'll fall in love with him again soon enough.
Pick up some bitter tasting spray from the pet store. These formulas -- which also come in lotions -- are perfectly edible, but have an awful flavor. Dab a small amount on the legs of your sofa, where Rusty tends to chew. The next time his tongue touches the sofa leg, he'll get an unpleasant surprise. It won't harm him, he'll just quickly learn that the sofa tastes bad. You can also make your own chew-deterrent spray by combining 2 cups of apple cider vinegar with 1 cup of white vinegar.
If Rusty continues to gnaw away at your antique table, you may have to resort to a repellent. Dog repellents come in sprays designed for indoor use, allowing you to conveniently spray the area underneath the table. Repellents also come in granules that you can mix in the dirt of the potted plant next to the table. You won't be able to smell the repellent, but his sensitive nose won't like the odor.
Unfortunately, some dogs actually seem to enjoy the flavor of bitter products. In this case you'll need an alternative. Open up your pantry and reach for a bottle of mild hot sauce. Drizzle just a little hot sauce (don't go overboard!) on a cotton ball and dab it on the edge of the bureau he always chews on. Much like the bitter spray, he'll get an alarming surprise when he takes a nibble. A small amount of mild hot sauce won't hurt him, but he definitely won't want to keep chewing there.
Though not exactly a "product," good old tap water is another handy deterrent. Fill up a spray bottle with water and when you catch Rusty in the act, stealthily spray him. It's key that he cannot see you spraying him, otherwise he'll just think he gets a squirt in the face every time you walk in the room. Water isn't harmful, it just startles him, making him want to stay away from that particular piece of furniture.
If your furry friend tends to chew on the sofa during predictable times, hide around the corner where he can't see you -- bottle in hand. When he chews at the expected moment, spray him quietly, and duck back behind the corner. He'll get the hint.
Chewers By Nature
Dogs are born to chew; there's really no way around it. So while you're discouraging Rusty from chewing on furniture, it's absolutely necessary to direct his attention towards acceptable chew toys. Yelling at him doesn't help the situation either as he doesn't understand why you're upset. Instead of wasting time getting angry when you catch him in the act, go get something to put in his mouth that he can chew on.
Lastly, keep in mind that if you don't want it in your dog's mouth, don't give him access to it. If he chews the furniture while you're gone, don't give him free roam of the entire house. When you're home, keep him in the same room as you so you can watch over him. With a little patience you should be able to tackle the destructive chewing behavior.
By Melodie Anne Coffman
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.