How to Train a Puppy to Not Chew on Electrical Wires

Medium
2-3 Weeks
Behavior

Introduction

Puppies like to chew anything they can, even electrical cords! If your puppy is chewing on an electrical cord, they can compromise the insulative coating of the wire and make contact with the conductive materials, resulting in an electric shock to the mouth. While this may deter him from chewing on cords in the future, you would be surprised how often it does not! 

More importantly, receiving a shock from a compromised electric cord can result in severe electrical burns to your puppy's mouth, requiring veterinary attention. Even worse, a severe enough shock can be fatal to your new puppy. Even if your puppy does not manage to shock himself, chewing on electrical cords will soon become expensive, as electrical appliances are ruined by this dangerous habit. 

Puppies chew for a variety of reasons. Like all babies, including human ones, when their teeth are coming in they experience discomfort that is relieved by chewing. Also, puppies are curious, and they have not yet figured out what tastes good and what is good to chew, so they are constantly investigating. Dogs and puppies also chew to strengthen teeth and gums, or to relieve boredom or anxiety. Puppies are easily bored or become anxious when left alone and taking precautions to avoid your young dog becoming injured from inappropriate chewing is necessary.

Defining Tasks

It is imperative that your puppy not chew electrical cords that could result in serious injury or even death from electrocution if he bites into an electrical wire. Because this is critical, supervising your puppy and preventing him from having access to wires is important. There are several strategies to keep wires away from puppy until he learns to leave them alone as he matures, including moving or covering wires or creating a safe wire-free zone for puppy. During training, you will want to provide alternatives, distract your puppy from wires, create a negative association with chewing on electrical wires, and create a command you can use to instruct your puppy to leave wires alone. A 'leave it' command can be used to direct your puppy not only to leave wires alone, but can be applied to lots of other dangerous or unsavory items he may be motivated to chew on, and is useful in a variety of situations.

Getting Started

You will want to ensure you have treats on hand to reward leaving wires alone and redirect your puppy away from wires.  When teaching your puppy to “leave it”, treats of varying value can be used to establish the command. Alternatives such as chew toys and rawhide bones can be used to meet puppies' chewing needs and will be useful in redirecting behavior. During training, it will be important to make sure puppy doesn't accidentally have access to or chew wires. Covering wires or investing time in moving, unplugging, and putting wires out of reach is important for your dog's safety.

The Leave It Method

Most Recommended
2 Votes
Step
1
Present closed hand
Hold a low value treat, like regular dry dog kibble in a closed hand and present it to your puppy.
Step
2
Introduce 'leave it'
As your puppy investigates your hand with the kibble, say “leave it”, ignore his attempts to reach the treat. Keep your hands closed. When your puppy gives up, repeat “leave it”, and provide a high value treat from your other hand. Repeat several times.
Step
3
Use open hand
Present a low value treat in your open hand. When your puppy approaches, say “leave it”, If your puppy hesitates, immediately supply a high value treat from your other hand. If he approaches the low value treat, close your hand, repeat “leave it”. Practice until your puppy is leaving the treat in response to the command.
Step
4
Leave treats out
Start leaving kibble around the house and using the “leave it” command to teach your puppy to leave the kibble, when he complies, provide a better treat.
Step
5
Apply to wires
Supervise your puppy around electrical wires. When he approaches a wire, say “leave it”, when he hesitates, reward him. Continue supervising and rewarding your puppy for leaving electric wires until your puppy is complying to the 'leave it' command.
Recommend training method?

The Deter Method

Effective
1 Vote
Step
1
Contain puppy
Keep your puppy away from cords when unsupervised by using a crate, or creating a safe play area with barriers, where there are no wires present.
Step
2
Remove cords
Remove the opportunity by putting cords up out of reach, unplugging appliances and coiling up cords, or using painter's tape or duct tape to elevate cords out of reach.
Step
3
Use taste deterrent
Make sure there are no cracks or breaches in electrical cords that will allow liquid in, and cover or spray cords with foul tasting deterrent. Deterrent is available at pet stores, but can also be made with a combination of lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water.
Step
4
Use aluminum foil
Unplug wires and wrap in aluminum foil. When your puppy goes to chew on the cord he will get a harmless shock, an unpleasant sensation, but because the cord is unplugged he will not be in danger of electrocution.
Step
5
Make a noise
Supervise your puppy and whenever he approaches wires or electric cords, make a loud noise with a whistle or a can full of marbles or rocks to startle him, and say “no” in a loud, firm voice.
Recommend training method?

The Redirect Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Prevent accidents
Supervise your puppy whenever he is around electrical cords. Keep him separate from cords by moving them, or containing him when you are unable to supervise, like at night when you are sleeping or when you are out of the house.
Step
2
Distract
When your puppy approaches an electrical cord, call his name, get his attention, and toss a chew toy in the opposite direction.
Step
3
Reward
When your puppy retrieves the appropriate chew item, say “yes” and praise him.
Step
4
Repeat
Repeat directing your puppy away from electrical cords with alternative chew items, play, and praise.
Step
5
Reward avoiding cord
When you “catch” your puppy approaching an electrical cord and then hesitating on his own. Say “yes”, praise him, and throw a big treat party to reward your puppy for leaving the cord alone.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers and Success Stories

Question
Evangeline
German Shorthaired Pointer
6 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Evangeline
German Shorthaired Pointer
6 Months

She likes to chew everything and has destroyed house appliances and wires. She listens occasionally.

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
691 Dog owners recommended

Hello Kelsey, Check out the article linked below to deal with the household item chewing. Pup especially needs to be crate trained and tethered to yourself with a 6 foot hands free leash right now while learning and in a heavy chewing phase. While pup is tethered to yourself, you will have lots of opportunity to practice commands like Leave It and Out to help pup learn better self-control. Be sure to give pup a dog food stuffed chew toy - like a Kong, or frozen Kong to chew on instead also. https://www.petful.com/behaviors/train-dog-not-to-chew/ Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Chika
Mix/Jack Russell Terrier
14 Weeks
0 found helpful
Question
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Chika
Mix/Jack Russell Terrier
14 Weeks

I am wondering how to train our 14 week old puppy to prefer to go to the bathroom outside, but be able to use a puppy pad in a pinch. We live on the 5th floor of an apartment building, no elevator. For now with the pandemic I’m home all day, but that will change soon and sometimes I do need to go out for a half a day. I know how important routine and consistency is, and I’m worried if I start training her to go outside by taking her out every hour or so, watching for signs, treating her when she goes outside, etc. that she will get confused if we’re unable to go out and I want her to use the puppy pad. Is there a way to train for a balance of both?

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Question
Scooby
Chihuahua
4 Months
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Scooby
Chihuahua
4 Months

He won’t use the puppy pad or use the restroom outside. He goes anywhere inside except those two places.

Alisha Smith
Alisha S., Dog Trainer
114 Dog owners recommended

Hello! I am going giving you information on potty training. You can apply the methods to both the potty pads and your outdoor area. Potty training: Know Your Pup. As you spend time with your puppy, learn your puppy’s love language. Just as some people prefer gifts, touch, or time spent together, puppies can be the same way. Some puppies love praise or pets, while others prefer treats. As you get to know your puppy, consider what reward your puppy loves the most. Create a Daily Schedule. It is best to have a routine for your puppy. A schedule helps them understand when to eat, play, and “go to the bathroom.” Your puppy should go out frequently and the routine should be the same every time. When? Start the day by taking your puppy outside, and repeating based on age and ability. They should also go out after napping, chewing, playing, and within 10 to 15 minutes of eating. Although some puppies can sleep for seven hours, it is important to set an alarm and take your pup out during the night. When you do, don’t make a fuss about it. Quietly take them outside with minimal stimulation and light. Praise them if they go to the bathroom and gently return them to their bed or crate. You don’t want them to get stimulated and ready to play in the middle of the night! As you get to know your puppy, you will become aware of their individual habits. Click here to learn more about house training schedules for puppies. Where? Take your puppy to a specific area to urinate or defecate. Be consistent. You can create an area by using urine-soaked paper or bowel movements to help create an aroma to stimulate your puppy. How? Take your puppy out on a leash so they can focus on the desired activity. This will help prevent them from wandering off to play. Once your puppy is in the selected area, use your verbal cue, such as “Hurry Up,” “Poopies,” “Go tinkle,” or any phrase your puppy responds to. What? Know the signs that your puppy has to go to the bathroom. Every animal may have a different “I gotta go” gesture, which often include restlessness, sniffing around, circling, scratching at the door, barking, and, eventually, squatting. At the first sign that your pup has to go, calmly and quickly take them outside to their bathroom spot. Deal with Accidents. Accidents are a normal part of house training a puppy. What to Do If you see your puppy in the process of urinating or defecating inappropriately, calmly and quickly interrupt them in the act. Tell them to stop (either by a jarring sound or command), and immediately take them to an appropriate location for elimination. After your puppy goes to the bathroom, lavishly praise them and offer a treat. Thoroughly clean up accidents, so your puppy is not attracted to this area again. Create a consistent feeding and watering schedule. Depending on the age of your puppy, they will eat three to four times a day. A consistent feeding routine can create a regular bathroom schedule. Take away water about 2 hours before bedtime. Learn more about ideal dog schedules here. What NOT to Do Don’t punish your puppy when they have an accident. At that point, it is too late. When a puppy has an accident in the house and they walk away, within seconds they have already forgotten about what they did. Taking them to the scene of the crime and yelling and/or rubbing their nose in it does not help and, in fact, can harm your puppy! Supervise. The best thing you can do is to prevent accidents and the best way to do this is to supervise your puppy at all times. You can tether your puppy to your waist with a five or six-foot leash and carefully observe them for signs that they need to go to the bathroom. If you can’t supervise, then crate or confine your puppy. The more accidents your puppy has in the house, the more confusing it will be for them and this can delay house training. Reward, Reward, Reward. It is important to give your puppy a reward for their good behavior. This can be for commands such as sitting and coming to you, or for appropriately eliminating outside. In a puppy, a reward can be a couple kibbles of puppy food or a treat, such as a small piece of meat. The treat should be exciting for them and only available as a result of good behavior.

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