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Most Dogs Hate the Smell of Citrus
Does yours?
The odor of an orange to most dogs is like the odor of trash to most humans--ugh.

Typically, dogs like going for walks, eating chicken, belly rubs and chasing squirrels. Sure there are exceptions, but these truths apply to most dogs. Similarly, there is general agreement among canines about what is undesirable, or even repulsive. At the top of that list is the smell of citrus.

Dogs’ distaste for oranges, lemons, grapefruit or the smell of same can be useful. Many dogs can be deterred from chewing on items that have been treated with citrus odors. (To be fair, a small percentage of dogs just consider these flavors to be the icing on the cake, so to speak, and are even more likely to go after any object covered with such an odor. This is nature’s way of preventing any of us from ever feeling confident that we know what is going on.) To see how your dog feels about these fruits, peel a messy orange so that your hands are covered with the sticky juice and put your fingers near your dog’s nose. If your dog backs away, making a face, then you’ve got a member of the citrus-hating majority. If your dog licks your fingers, then you don’t.
If your dog dislikes the smell of these acidic fruits, it may be possible to use the scent or juice of them as a deterrent. However, be mindful of using these odors to scent your home for your own pleasure. You may inadvertently be making your home smell as bad to your dog as a trash dump would to you.
This video shows Aspen turning away from an orange. She is among the citrus-hating majority of dogs.


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist and Certified Professional Dog Trainer whose clinical work over the last 17 years has focused on the evaluation and treatment of serious behavioral problems in dogs, especially aggression. Karen has been writing the behavior column for The Bark since 2012 and wrote The Bark’s training column and various other articles for eight years before that. She is an adjunct professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Northern Arizona University, and teaches a tropical field biology course in Costa Rica. Karen writes an animal column, The London Zoo, which appear in The Arizona Daily Sun and is the author of five books on canine training and behavior. She is working on her next book, which she expects to be published in 2017.

Photo: left-hand, Flickr

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