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How to Keep Your Dog from Chewing Electrical Cords

Picture of 2 dogs on the step

Dog owners around the world know how mischievous their pups can be. While some pooches concentrate their chewing efforts on the legs of Grandma’s dining room chairs, others like to focus on breaking in your favorite shoes with their chompers. After all, isn’t all leather a little better after some “tenderizing?” But when a pup turns his attentions to electrical cords, you are dealing with a far more serious issue. Some puppies seem to instinctively realize that things plugged into the wall are to be left alone, but most are bewitched by the opportunity to gnaw on thick cords, an immensely satisfying practice for tender puppy teeth and gums from your pup’s perspective. But chewing on cords can end disastrously. If your dog has a penchant for gnawing on electrical cords, is there anything you can do to stop it?

Top Tips to Stop Electrical Cord Chewing

From the dawn of time immemorial, dogs have loved to chew things. Since chewing on appropriate items provides your dog with a positive outlet for stress relief and increases feelings of contentment, it is important that you not attempt to stop your dog from chewing altogether but rather that you become better at directing your dog to items that are safe for him to take his teeth out on. Chewing on cords can lead to damaged items requiring repair or repurchase. But if your dog chews on a cord connected to electricity, he could electrocute himself and die. The importance of exercising electrical cord safety around pets cannot be overstated.

Here is a list of some things you can do to protect your cords and your pooches:

Decrease the cord’s attractiveness with bitter tasting sprays.

While things don’t necessarily have to taste good for your dog to attempt to gnaw on them Fido will most definitely avoid things that taste bad. Spraying your electrical cords with a safe substance which tastes unpleasant is a great way to keep your pooch from chewing on them. Many veterinarians and high quality pet stores sell a product called Bitter Apple which turns neutral tasting items into something quite unpalatable to the taste buds. You could also make use of a type of hot pepper spray which does not change flavor but increases heat, making it uncomfortable for your dog to chew on any item laced with it.

Remove access to cords.

Dogs can’t chew on things that they can’t find. Keep cords as close to the baseboards of your home as possible. You can even make use of electrical tape in colors which match your paint and household trim to help disguise them well. If the cord is not obvious to your dog, it is unlikely that he will seek it out. In this case, out of sight truly is out of mind 

Keep all unused electrical items unplugged.

There is always a learning curve which must be taken into account when teaching a new behavior. With this in mind, it is always a good idea to unplug all cords to appliances, etc, that are not currently in use. This is an added safety precaution which could save your dog’s life while you work on training Fido that electrical cords are off limits.

 Teach a solid “leave it” command.

Obedience training can most definitely help keep your dog safe. While many families focus on training a solid recall, it is equally as important that time be invested in teaching your dog the “leave it” command. Once your dog has displayed that he will indeed leave an item when requested to do so, you will have a very valuable tool in your obedience arsenal indeed.

Training a “leave it” well takes time, but it is well worth your effort. To train your dog to walk away from an item when commanded to do so, you will need two high value treats. Ask your dog to sit in front of you. With your right palm open, show your dog the treat. If he approaches the treat, you tell him to “Leave it.” If your dog continues to approach or begins to paw or nose at your hand, close your hand. If your dog still persists, ignore your dog. When your dog loses interest, you can then open your palm again and show your dog the treat. Repeat the words “Leave it.” When your dog no longer attempts to obtain the treat from your hand, you then open your left palm to show him a treat and allow him to have it. In this fashion, your dog learns that if he obeys the “Leave it” command when asked, he will receive a reward for his obedience.

Once this skill is mastered, it can then be applied to any item that your dog becomes fascinated with. The behavior can be transferred to electrical cords. When you see your dog approaching a cord with the “look of chewing love” in his eyes, you can simply tell him to “Leave it” then lavishly praise and reward him when he does. Over time, your dog will learn that electrical cords are not for canine teeth, and they will lose their appeal for him.

Provide a diverse selection of chew toys.

A satisfied dog is far less likely to get into trouble. If you don’t want your dog chewing your electrical cords, chairs, or shoes, there is a simple solution: provide him with more attractive and appropriate options. To do this, stop by your local pet store and stock up on toys, bones, and other chews of all different shapes, colors, textures, and sizes. Be sure to rotate out toys on a regular basis to maintain your dog’s interest. 

Ensure your dog is properly exercised.

Dogs often get into trouble when they lack sufficient mental and physical stimulation. To prevent this problem, you will want to take your dog for a daily walk and provide Fido with access to things that will help him to work his brain. A dog that is mentally and physically satisfied won’t go looking for trouble, and thus as a by-product, will leave your cords alone.

There is no doubt that dogs love to chew! Electrical cords are certainly attractive to many dogs. To teach your dog there are far better things to sink his teeth into, follow the simple tips in this article. It could save Fido’s life!

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