How Often Do You Spray Bitter Apple to Teach Dogs Not to Chew?

by Elton Dunn
Spray objects fully to ensure they're properly coated with bitter apple.

Spray objects fully to ensure they're properly coated with bitter apple.

John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Bitter apple spray tastes so gross to your dog that it can stop him from chewing your shoes, your furniture and other unwanted household objects. Since the spray is liquid, it evaporates over time. Regular applications keep the object bitter-tasting and render it unattractive to Rover.

How it Works

Once your dog bites into that bitter apple-coated shoe, he'll recoil. His treat now tastes terrible. He'll leave it alone and find something else to chew, like his dog toy. Of course, once the apple scent evaporates he may try it again, hence the need for regular applications. The ASPCA suggests applying bitter apple to a cotton cloth and letting your dog taste it. He'll nibble then back away in disgust. This teaches your dog that the awful smell and taste of bitter apple go together, so he'll avoid tasting things with that smell.

Time Frame

Reapply bitter apple spray when the objects you've coated dry off or your dog begins to sniff or chew them again without recoiling. The latter is a sign that the spray has worn off. The ASPCA recommends reapplying once every day up to twice per day. After two to four weeks of consistent application, your dog should be conditioned not to chew unwanted objects.


Before you cover your sofa in bitter apple spray, test the spray first on a corner of the fabric. Make sure the apple spray doesn't damage or discolor any object before you spray away. While most dogs will hate the smell and taste of bitter apple, some pups like taste deterrents like bitter apple spray. Should your pooch enjoy bitter apple, try other taste deterrents.


Couple the spray with telling your pooch "no" when you catch him chewing to reinforce the behavior modification. Offer your pet a toy he loves to chew, and when he takes it and begins to chew, praise him. This redirects his need to chew onto objects he's allowed to gnaw on.

Photo Credits

  • John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

About the Author

Elton Dunn is a freelance writer with over 14 years experience. Dunn specializes in travel, food, business, gardening, technology, beauty and fashion writing. His work has appeared in various print and online publications. Dunn holds a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from Emerson College.

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