10 smells dogs hate that are perfect for training

Smells dogs hate

Dogs possess a dazzling sense of smell, they are in the top 10 most powerful sniffers in the animal kingdom, so naturally, there are some smells dogs hate.

Their sensitive noses are a powerful and effective crime-fighting tool used daily in aeroports and on the roads to detect drugs. they are also used to help track missing people or fugitives and plenty of other missions.

However, their sensitive noises are vulnerable to some strong smells that repel them.

In this article, we will be sharing with you 10 of the smells dogs hate the most.

The information presented in this article could be used for training purposes, However, we seriously advise against using it to harm dogs.

None of the things we mention in this list should be used directly on the dog nor left unattended in the presence of one.

Some of the smells dogs hate are of products we all have in our homes such as chili and citrus and we should be careful not to harm our four-legged partners without knowing it.

So what smells do dogs hate?

Smells dogs hate


I bet you’ve all laughed to the videos of dog’s hilarious reactions to citrus, well I sure did but have you ever wondered why don’t they like it?

Unlike babies (also hilarious and cute) who react to the taste of citrus dogs hate the smell of citrus.

Just peeling an orange or a lemon next to your dog will make him leave the area on the spot.

To most dogs, the smell of citrus is repellent but not all dogs hate it. So you want to check if your dog is among the vast majority of citrus smell haters.

The test is easy to perform just peel an orange or a lemon close to your dog if he runs away then you’ve just found a natural repellent that you can use for training.

We don’t really know why dogs hate the smell of citrus but the most logical explanation is that the acidic fruit burns their sensitive noses.

Apparently what smells refreshing to us is definitely not for dogs.


For us, vinegar is great for cooking or cleaning but for dogs, its smell is too acidic to handle.

Dogs are more vulnerable to vinegar than they are to citrus, and most dogs will not stay in a spot where they can smell the vinegar.

The dog’s powerful and extremely sensitive sense of smell can’t tolerate the smell of vinegar, no wonder why it is part of every homemade dog repellent.

Using vinegar as a dog repellent is one thing but spraying a dog directly with it is just cruel.

The strong nose of dogs can’t handle most acrid smells that don’t particularly seem strong to us.

When used to repel dogs vinegar is not used concentrated but with water as a spray often 1/5 vinegar.

This is one of the smells dogs hate but we use it in our everyday life so we should be extra careful when using it around our partners.


Hot chili is quite an obvious dog repellent while cutting a chili if we inhale some of the smell it irritates us, you can only imagine what it does to dogs whose sense of smell is way more sensitive than ours.

The powerful smell of the chili irritates dogs and causes them to sneeze and itches their noses.

I see some videos of people recording reactions of dogs to chili, and that’s purely dog abuse.

Chilli is one of the items that can be found in any house and could hurt your dog so be careful when cooking not to harm your dog.

Some people do use chilis ass dog repellent but I personally advise against it since they dogs not only hate the smell of chili but it irritates them.

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol sure stands on top of the scents dogs hate, they just can’t stand its smell.

Whenever they smell alcohol they leave the area on the spot, not only rubbing alcohol but most products with alcohol in them.

Even beverage is considered toxic for dogs and most dogs but not all would avoid it.

I read online that some people suggest using rubbing alcohol on places you don’t want your dog to be in but I do not stand by that if they get the smell on their coats it’s going to last for a while and it will make them uncomfortable.

Perfume or cologne

Perfume or cologne may smell great to us but for dogs, it is mostly a strong smell they hate.

When around dogs it is better to avoid strong perfumes as it irritates them.

You can notice a few changes in your dog’s behavior if you put on a strong perfume.

Perfumes are scents dogs hate however, they don’t work great as dog repellent so don’t count much on using them for training.

Cleaning products

Cleaning products mostly smell nice for us but our sense of smell does not detect the chemicals that those cleaning products are made of.

Not all cleaning products have smells dogs hate, but they generally don’t hang around when we use them to clean.

You also have to be careful when cleaning the dog’s house or crate not to use something that would repel the dog.

Using the wrong product to clean the dog’s crate would make weeks of hard crate training go away.

I recommend using this stain and odor remover from only natural pets, I trust their products and it is effective for most stain.

Beauty products

Some beauty products have odors dogs hate, some are obvious like nail polish which is strong even for us but other products may seem fine to us but dogs really hate their smell.

Beauty products aren’t really good as repellents for dogs since they just hate the smell but not to the point that they won’t play around you if you had some put on.

However, ladies be careful when playing with your dog if you have any strong smells beauty products on don’t touch the dog’s nose or facial area with it.

Also, be careful where you put your beauty stuff ladies some dogs are curious and may get in contact with something that would irritate their sense of smell.


Mothballs don’t really smell god for us so you can only imagine how it smells to dogs.

They have smells dogs hate and they are also poisonous for both dogs and people, so it would be a bad idea using them as dog repellents.

Be careful where you place mothballs and make sure they are out of reach for both kids and dogs.

Mothballs are used to kill moths and other kinds of insects and they contain Naphthalene that slowly releases fumes that are repellent to most pets and not only dogs.

Mothballs are toxic to dogs especially when ingested but still, long-term exposure could have the same results.

Ground spices

Most ground spices have strong flavors and smells that make most of us sneeze if inhaled, so they sure are stronger to a dog’s sensitive smell sense.

However, none of the ground spices other than chili that we already talked about is harmful to dogs, they just hate the smell like most strong smells.

Inhaling it directly or touching it with their nose will cause them to sneeze a lot and feel uncomfortable for a few moments but nothing more.

ground spices are no good as dog repellents and they’re smell does not last long unless you get in contact with it directly.

Neem oil

Neem oil is used for plenty of things like gardening as a pesticide or sometimes for the skin.

It has one of the smells dogs hate and they won’t get near a spot where they smell it.

Ironically neem oil is used sometimes as a natural alternative to repel fleas and ticks. you can check out this article from dogtime.com for more details.

It is usually how much you use of neem oil that will determine if the dog can or can’t tolerate the smell.

How can you use smells dogs hate?

The items in the top ten list of smells dogs hate I presented earlier can be used for multiple purposes but mainly to repel dogs or to enforce training.

So what are some examples of how you can use smells that dogs hate?

Smells dogs hate to stop chewing

Chewing is one of those annoying things some dogs do, sometimes it’s natural like in case of teething but sometimes it’s a sign of stress or anxiety and it could be just a bad habit the dog acquired.

Whatever the reason chewing can really be a stressful thing since you have to protect everything and watch the dog all the time.

So using smells dogs hate can be a great way to repel your dog from the furniture or stuff you don’t want him chewing on.

Of course, there are other methods to be used to cure the chewing problem but meanwhile, a repellent smell is a fast and efficient way to do it.

You can use vinegar or citrus spray of course not concentrated but with water and test the concentration by observing your dog’s reaction since every dog’s tolerance to these smells is different.

Smells dogs hate to stop barking

Believe it or not, odors dogs hate can be used to make them stop barking for no reason.

I would think of this as a last resort since it is a bit unpleasant for dogs.

What you do is make a citrus and water spray (since it’s the least harmful to dogs mostly just annoying) and spray it into the dog’s mouth whenever he barks without any apparent reason so he associates the bad smell and test he hates with barking.

But as I mentioned earlier trying out other methods is preferable.

Smells dogs hate to stop digging

Digging can be a serious pain when you love your garden. There are many reasons dogs love to dig in the yard but it can become annoying.

Using a repellent smell that dogs hate can be an effective solution.

On this one, you can go hard and target the spots your dog loves to dig in and spray concentrated vinegar.

This would for sure repel the dog and push him away from the area. doing it multiple times in many spots will gradually make him lose interest in digging.

Smells dogs hate to stop peeing

Now, this is the main problem why dog repellents were made for.

We all know that if your dog pees somewhere it’s officially claimed-land for them.

It is really hard to make a dog change his potty area and dog repellents are a great way to do it.

You can use vinegar or citrus to do that however I personally prefer that you use a professionally made repellent for this one as it’s safer and it mostly has a deodorant that keeps the area clean.

The odor eliminator I recommend is Angry orange(click here to check the current price on Amazon) it takes about 10 minutes but it’s like a lemon bomb landed on the spots you spray it on.

Smells dogs hate to stop pooping

The pooping spots are a bigger problem than pee spots are. and the same thing goes for both.

It is always hard to make a dog change his pooping spot once he claims it.

Repellent smells are a great solution for this problem also but you need something professional as I mentioned for pee stains.

Use the same product I recommended before it is really efficient and tested.

Why are smells dogs hate good for training

Training dogs is essentially based on associating good and bad emotions with things you want your dog to do or not to do.

Dogs are emotional pets they will do and love things and places associated with good memories smells or food, and will avoid and hate places or things or behavior associated with bad memories smells…

So when training a dog you have to use motivational tools like treats praise and toys, but you also have to be smart and use things dogs hate to correct their behavior.

This is why using smells dogs hate is such a great tool to correct behavior and help training.

Using repellent smells for crate training

Crate training is such an important step in housebreaking a new dog and providing him with a safe den.

If you are thinking about crate training your puppy, check out the articles I wrote on the subject I provided every detail you could need to crate train a dog to perfection.

One of the main problems when crate training a dog especially an adult dog is to make him change his den.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with crate training dogs are den animals and will make a den within the house anyway. so the idea is to make that safe den a crate which provides an environment we can control.

The difficult part for an older dog that has been living in the house for some time is that he sure has a safe place already that he is not ready to change, and this is where repellents come in handy.

Because the idea for a dog is to have a spot where he can relax and feels safe if there is an irritating smell in it every time he goes there it’s just not doing the job he chose it for and therefore not worth it.

This is when you present the better alternative which is the crate and you make a big effort into making the crate great.

I personally use the same product I suggested earlier the odor eliminator Angry orange(click here to check the current price on Amazon) it works for this also and dogs won’t spend too much time in the spots you spray with it.

Using repellent smells for potty training

Unlike crate training, potty training is not optional and if you don’t want to live in a house that stinks with dog pee you want to consider potty training your dog from day one.

Of course, accidents do happen and dogs can pee somewhere they’re not supposed to, but the main problem with potty training is that dogs tend to pee in the same spot again and again.

That’s why you want to use a repellent made of smells dogs hate to spray any area the dog claims as his potty space.

You can use the product I suggested or use homemade repellent using citrus or vinegar.

These sprays and repellents make potty training faster and easier.

How to make a dog repellent at home

Many of the products I shared on the top ten list of smells dogs hate are poisonous or very irritating to dogs, I would only recommend using citrus and in some cases vinegar and nothing else.

Some pet parents use chili powder but I wouldn’t since it can cause problems if not used properly or if it gets in the dog’s sensitive nose.

Most dogs will avoid citrus and if they can tolerate it there is always vinegar so no need to go wild and aggressive on your dog.

The whole idea is to stop your dog from chewing on something or going somewhere not punishing him.

Fresh citrus peel is effective enough and lasts for a while, so you can brush it on the spots you don’t want your dog in. you can also put the peels in a spray with hot water in it and spray the area.

And in cases of strong smell or recurrent behavior, you may use vinegar with warm water 1/5 vinegar and spray it on the spots you want.

Final thoughts

  • Dogs have a powerful and sensitive sense of smell, strong smells may harm them with long term exposure.
  • Some products that seem and smell fine to us are actually very irritating for dogs so be mindful where you put those products.
  • using smells dogs hate as a punishment tool is cruel, harmful, and dog abuse.
  • Using smells dogs hate for training purposes is smart if done the right.