As much as we love them, dogs can cause quite a few problems around the home. They have a natural instinct to chew, they love our furniture as much as we do and they sometimes get into things they shouldn't. A few natural repellents can work wonders for keeping dogs at bay, although there is no one repellent that will work on all dogs.
Dogs respond better to taste deterrents than they do to odorous or touch-based products. Taste repellents are ideal for keeping your pup away from things he likes to chew on. Of the natural and homemade taste repellents, hot pepper spray is among the most effective. The active ingredient in hot peppers is capsaicin, the chemical that burns the tongue and skin upon contact. To make a spray, use about 2 tablespoons of crushed hot pepper powder to 10 cups of water. You can also boil some pierced or broken hot peppers in water to get a hot spray. Spray this on furniture or what your pup is chewing on. Use common sense when applying a spray; leathers and some materials should never get wet.
The smell of vinegar is more offensive to dogs than it is to humans as their noses are much more sensitive. A highly concentrated mixture of vinegar and water -- one part vinegar to five parts water -- can provide you with an odor deterrent that many dogs will steer clear of. The sour taste can also deter dogs from chewing. Use a clear vinegar, such as white vinegar, or even the mildly colored apple cider vinegar to make the spray. Again, use caution when spraying materials.
Other Natural Products
While hot peppers and vinegar are the most commonly used and recommended homemade, natural deterrents, a few other products also make the cut. Garlic oil, lavender, citronella and lemon juice are all natural products that have either scents or tastes that dogs find offensive. Again, no product works for every dog and you may have to try a few different things before finding the right product. Several natural products are also commercially available at hardware stores, pet stores and garden centers.
Training and Exclusion
Exclusion is by far the best method to keep your pup -- or other pups -- away from anything. Fences outside around your yard or garden are nearly fail-proof to keep dogs away. Using gates inside the home, or using a crate when you're away, can keep dogs away from your furniture, shoes or the trash. Training is also preferable as most dogs quickly take to positive reinforcement and training measures. The use of smell and taste deterrents can help during the training process.
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