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How to stop your dog from biting the wall/trim?

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  • May 10th, 2010 10:42 am
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[OP]
Newbie
Feb 4, 2009
32 posts
9 upvotes

How to stop your dog from biting the wall/trim?

I have a small 5 yr old dog who bites the wall/trim when we leave her at home. She doesn't always bite but she does it about once a month. Every so often we find a side of a wall that's been bitten, then she'll be okay for a month and then we'll find another bitten wall trim. We think that the problem is no one is home for 8-9 hours a day but we leave her with PLENTY of toys and space to run around. what are some inexpensive and effective ways to change her wall biting habits? :confused:
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Feb 16, 2010
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A 5 year old chewing on wallboard and trim ...hmmm! If she's being left alone for 8-9 hours a day without human contact and acting out, she's definitely not happy and bored. I suggest a few things, 1) can you budget for a dog walker to come in and walk/exercise and play with her for a period (usually up to 1 hour) once a day or several times a week, and 2) this worked for me, mix petroleum jelly with cayenne pepper and spread that on the areas she's chewing, including baseboard and other trim. It'll put her off from chewing and she may give up that nasty habit altogether. It'll also last and be more difficult to get through. Messy but if you confine her to a specific area for a while she'll only have that area in which to try to chew. I take it she's not crate trained? But even if she were, I don't recommend a dog sitting in a crate for a full day without a break from it at least once a day.

Dog walkers and petcare providers who visit dogs in this type of situation need to be commended because visiting them makes a world of difference in the quality of the dogs' lives and their owners see those benefits when they return home and are greeted with happy and eager dogs with no destructive behaviour issues. The dogs also wait with anticipation and excitement for that dog walker to arrive.

Good luck with that!
Member
Feb 26, 2003
235 posts
9 upvotes
Vancouver
what worked perfectly with ours is using a spray called bitter apple ($12). you spray it on anything you dont want your dog to chew and when they do, it leaves a very bitter nasty taste in their mouth. we did that with ours when he was a pup and he's never chewed any furniture except for an ikea coffee table leg when he first started chewing.

the key is to correct them when they chew furniture, then spray the bitter apple and correct them again. then put her snout on the furniture so they get a taste of the bitter apple and to never return.
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Aug 30, 2006
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olie11 wrote: what worked perfectly with ours is using a spray called bitter apple ($12). you spray it on anything you dont want your dog to chew and when they do, it leaves a very bitter nasty taste in their mouth. we did that with ours when he was a pup and he's never chewed any furniture except for an ikea coffee table leg when he first started chewing.

the key is to correct them when they chew furniture, then spray the bitter apple and correct them again. then put her snout on the furniture so they get a taste of the bitter apple and to never return.
I used that for my first dog 10 years ago, and I swear it must've been like a seasoning sauce for her. I think she bit the stuff I sprayed it on even more!
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 4, 2009
32 posts
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I tried apple bitter and he was ok for a few months. Then recently, he started the chewing habits again. I will look into the petrolum jelly / cayenne pepper but that seems a little too messy, Will it come off the walls? Also, it looks a tad bit weird when i have guests :D

I would put him in a crate but no one is home for 8-9 hours a day and I feel so guilty locking him up in a crate. We do confine him in the kitchen but he also bites the trim in another rooms so he isn't only biting the kitchen wall and when we are not home.
Jr. Member
Feb 22, 2007
139 posts
13 upvotes
I have the exact same problem as you do. My dog once in a while would chew the baseboard and door frame when I leave her at home while I'm at work. Just imagine my horror because I have a new house!

I know you don't want to do it, but the only way you can guarantee your dog not to chew on things is confining it to a certain area. If you don't want to crate, you can also look into using exercise pens. I have mine set up in the middle of the living room so there's no wall for her to chew on.

It's hard to do the correction when you're not home when the chewing happens. My dog has never chewed on the trim when I was at home. So it's difficult to correct when you can't help them associate the correction to the wrong act. Correcting hours after the fact is not going to work.

I've never tried bitter apple myself but from what I heard of other people trying it's hit and miss with the dog. Some dogs will stay away but some like the taste.

Good luck and let me know what solution you come up with. Mine is so far confining in exercise pen.
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Feb 9, 2003
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Take him for a long walk before you go to work.
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moocho wrote: I tried apple bitter and he was ok for a few months. Then recently, he started the chewing habits again. I will look into the petrolum jelly / cayenne pepper but that seems a little too messy, Will it come off the walls? Also, it looks a tad bit weird when i have guests :D

I would put him in a crate but no one is home for 8-9 hours a day and I feel so guilty locking him up in a crate. We do confine him in the kitchen but he also bites the trim in another rooms so he isn't only biting the kitchen wall and when we are not home.
It will come off the walls provided your walls weren't painted in a 'flat' paint. If you're not sure what you have, test a small amount in an inconspicuous area first and take it from there. Messy, yes but effective.

NEVER CRATE A DOG FOR A LONG PERIOD OF TIME WITHOUT SOMEONE LETTING THAT DOG OUT FOR A WHILE. And think, there are people who crate all day while at work, each time they're out and all night as well. Anyone who does that without seeing to it that it is exercised and freed from the crate for a period, isn't worthy of owning a dog and their actions could easily be tagged as animal neglect.
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Apr 23, 2009
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i6s1 wrote: Take him for a long walk before you go to work.
+1

I had a trainer come in to help with some problems with my dog when I first got her. She was not getting enough exercise so was therefore bored during the day. When I started walking her 2-3 times a day, most of the bad behaviour stopped. (morning walk is 30-45 minutes, an hour at night, sometimes a 15 minute walk around the block in between).
Member
Dec 18, 2006
436 posts
427 upvotes
I don't want to create a new thread but my girlfriend's dog likes to bite on electronics and other stuff...

He broke 3 cellphones since december. The one I got for her two weeks ago broke yesterday because he was biting it. He bites anything that he sees. Credit cards, wallet, mp3 players...and the list goes on.

We are already cautious not to leave anything out for him to get but once in a while we do rush and forget to put away something and 10 minutes later you find that its broken.

We already bought shoe trays to hide our shoes because he broke about 10 pairs already. Also when something is dropped on the ground accidently, he would pick it up and run away and start chewing on it...

Another behaviour we don't like is he always tries to stand up and place his hands on people. When we take him for a walk, 90 percent of the people are scared of him. Btw, he is about 9 months old and medium sized.

Anyone got solutions or will pet trainers help???

Thanks... Can't afford to buy more phones.
[OP]
Newbie
Feb 4, 2009
32 posts
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Has your dog been to any sort of training yet? If not , you should consider it.
Also, next time you catch him biting on anything, you should say "NO" in a firm but serious tone. Let him know that it is not a good behaviour. Then leave him alone for 5 mins. and pay no attention to him. If you say "no" and he stops chewing on whatever, then reward him with a treat. Postive reinforcements will work best. HTH.
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Sep 16, 2005
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U should feel guilty if u leave ur dog home alone for 8-9 hours a day, then when u get home and when u go to sleep, that's like another 8-9 hours of quietness. They need more playing. Also leave the radio on so they hear something at least instead of dead silence. Also leave the window open a bit so they can hear the outside, and it would be nice if the dogs have a place where they can look through a window and see what's going on outside.
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Sep 16, 2005
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U should feel a bit guilty if u leave ur dog home alone for 8-9 hours a day, then when u get home and when u go to sleep, that's like another 8-9 hours of quietness. They need more playing. Also leave the radio on so they hear something at least instead of dead silence. Also leave the window open a bit so they can hear the outside, and it would be nice if the dogs have a place where they can look through a window and see what's going on outside.
Member
Dec 18, 2006
436 posts
427 upvotes
No training classes yet. Any suggestion?? Will those at petstores do any good?

He gets punished when something serious gets broken. He feels guilty that night and hides. But when he wakes up the next day, he forgets and break something else. We are being firm with him but its not working that well. He just barks back if he doesn't get what he wants.
moocho wrote: Has your dog been to any sort of training yet? If not , you should consider it.
Also, next time you catch him biting on anything, you should say "NO" in a firm but serious tone. Let him know that it is not a good behaviour. Then leave him alone for 5 mins. and pay no attention to him. If you say "no" and he stops chewing on whatever, then reward him with a treat. Postive reinforcements will work best. HTH.
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Feb 9, 2003
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dk1021 wrote: No training classes yet. Any suggestion?? Will those at petstores do any good?

He gets punished when something serious gets broken. He feels guilty that night and hides. But when he wakes up the next day, he forgets and break something else. We are being firm with him but its not working that well. He just barks back if he doesn't get what he wants.
How does he get punished? Is the punishment immediate? Like within a few seconds? A dog only knows the moment that it's in now. If the pushment happens hours after he breaks something, then he has no idea what he's getting punished for.

Dogs don't feel guilty. They don't have a moral code, they simply respond by instinct. What you may feel is guild is simple sadness that he's being punished.

NEVER give into barking. Just ignore the dog while it barks. Don't give it another toy, don't distract it, don't look at it or talk to it, don't tell it to stop barking. When the barking stops, reward it with attention and a toy.

Leave a phone on the floor and when the dog approaches it, say "oops" or "stop" or "no" in a firm voice. If he ignores the command, then you have to start with simple obediance training, he isn't yet at a stage where you can train him to leave something alone. If he backs off, then reward him. Repeat that constantly. The important part is that you have to catch him in the act. Even if the correction is just a few seconds late, the dog might think that the correction means "playing with that is ok, but playtime is over now" instead of "never play with that".

I don't think that the typical person needs to use professional training. Certainly it helps, but there's a lot of tutorials and videos on the internet that a person can use. If you've got the money for a training class, then go for it, but the typical dog doesn't need it.

Also, don't allow a dog to chew on anything that isn't a toy. Some people will give their dog an old shoe to chew on, then wonder why the dog chews on new shoes. Or they'll give it a stick or a piece of wood, and then wonder why the dog chews on chair legs. I can't imagine that you've given a dog anything like a cellphone to chew on, so it's just some general advice.
Member
Dec 18, 2006
436 posts
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Thanks for your advice.
We just got home and we found two pair of shoes chewed down and a pair of prescription glasses broken. The glasses was on a table and shoes were inside the bin. No idea how he got onto them but yeah. We had to let our anger out this time(I know that's not the way to train him). We forgive him on the phone yesterday but he's at it again today. I'm going to try your suggestions and see how that goes .... the money we spent on replacement on household items are worth probably 5 times the price of the dog now or maybe more. The point is we're not at home until night time. Maybe we should lock him up in the basement like when he was little? He got older so we let him wander around the house. Maybe it was a bad idea afterall ...
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May 20, 2008
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olie11 wrote: what worked perfectly with ours is using a spray called bitter apple ($12). you spray it on anything you dont want your dog to chew and when they do, it leaves a very bitter nasty taste in their mouth. we did that with ours when he was a pup and he's never chewed any furniture except for an ikea coffee table leg when he first started chewing.

the key is to correct them when they chew furniture, then spray the bitter apple and correct them again. then put her snout on the furniture so they get a taste of the bitter apple and to never return.
Try that on my dog and you'd see every spot you sprayed coated with pee when you are back home. Doesn't work with every dog unfortunately.
Sr. Member
Dec 12, 2007
771 posts
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Going back to the OP, our dog did the same thing for a little while. We would come home to find the bottom half of the door covered with blood from her trying to chew her way out. After a few days, we realized that the new ice maker in the fridge must have been frightening her. And trying to confine just ended up with more problems because she was trying so hard to get away from the noise. Now, she has free reign of the house and just goes upstairs where it's quiet.

The radio idea never worked well for her either. It was almost as though she felt someone was home but ignoring her cries. So it drove her to destruction. Once I stopped with the radio she was fine.
Newbie
May 3, 2006
35 posts
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Though I am sure it is not a recommended practice, we used hot sauce. the dog would chew up the baseboards when we were outside, so i coated the "select" few boards and brushed them with hot sauce. He has never touched them since.

A friend of mine tried the same thing, but the dog just licked all the hot sauce off and chewed the baseboards anyways! So I guess what works for one dog wont work for others.

Our dog is usually crated for 2-3 hours during the day and they both sleep in the crate at night, they are generally walked very late (1:30-3:00am), i find their energy levels are off the charts and thing like shoes, electronics, garbages, kids toys, clothes and food packaging are chewed if they don't get their walk.

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