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My dog won't stop biting everything!

Updated on January 27, 2015

Chaka the Chihuahua (and my foot)

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The dog ate my... everything

Everyone has a story about how a dog chewed up something we really loved, or at least something we used to sit on (yes, I've had my couch chewed up before... and I think I'm not alone!). I'm certain this is ubiquitous among animal lovers, because every one of my friends has struggled with this issue (because, really, all of my friends are dog lovers like me). But what can be done to hedge this seemingly inevitable tide?

Sure, you can go to obedience school and spend 8 weeks being trained on how to train you dog. But what about those of us who enjoy adopting senior dogs, or who have had our dog for many years? What if you don't have time for obedience school, or just don't want to go? Is there something that might work better?

Warning: I'm going to include several very cute pictures of some of the dogs in question.

Here's Hallie doing one of the things she did best

Hallie's licking habit

Our miniature Dachshund, Hallie, had a very bad habit of constantly licking and biting at her foot when she was resting on her bed or in her crate. This was not only gross because it wet the bed she was on, but it was also potentially harmful to both her fur and skin, as well as to her GI tract, as she would swallow her own saliva for hours on end and then became bloated. Certainly not ideal!

Enter "Bitter Apple." This stuff works like a champ! We would just spray it on her foot (or on her bed, because sometimes she would lick that too... she was pretty weird), and this definitely deterred Hallie from going to town. I've also used Bitter Apple with a Doberman and Pit Bull to some success in the past (they'd chew up all kinds of things at my house, from CDs to the furniture to my clothes!). I guess I first used this stuff nearly 20 years ago, and I've been a bit of a fan ever since.

As a side note, if you're considering acquiring a new family dog, please do consider adopting! There are tens of thousands of dogs who will meet their deaths via execution this year, and you adopting one dog can make a difference, especially if other people see you doing it. We're currently fostering one dog and have adopted two, so I'm living the life now (although I wasn't always like this). Bitter Apple definitely helps us manage a full house of dogs a little bit easier, so thank goodness for the little things.

The dog ate my homework! Literally!

The dog has literally chewed this homework up.
The dog has literally chewed this homework up. | Source

Coco, our current (extremely well trained) foster

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Tiamat

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Tiamat and Athena

Tiamat (rest in peace) was my Doberman dog for 12 years. I not only raised her from six weeks of age, but I also learned a great deal about raising and training dogs as I went along. She was among the most docile of dogs, just a true sweetheart, and incredibly loyal and attentive. Nevertheless, she was a Doberman, and she had teeth, and she loved to chew on things from time to time, especially when she was under the age of 2. As a consequence, I went through a training phase with her where I went through an awful lot of Bitter Apple.

I also took her to the aforementioned obedience school. This did help a lot, as their emphasis was strongly leaning toward crate training, relying on the Koehler Method for training dogs. Being in the crate provided a sense of security, of home, for Tiamat.

Eventually, though, Athena- or, more properly, her owner, Mike- moved in. Athena was a 2 year old un-fixed pit bull. She was beautiful and playful... and incredibly rambunctious. Athena would get into piles of clothes and chew them up (she was especially fond of leather). She would chew up CD cases, computer parts, and generally anything else whatsoever that was out there. Again, it was Bitter Apple to the rescue, as we struggled to educate Athena (and Tiamat, who started to pick up some of her habits) as to what was okay to chew on (only her toys!).

Keeping bones handy can help curb chewing habits

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