How to Stop a Dog From Chewing Shoes?

How to Stop a Dog From Chewing Shoes?
How to stop dog from chewing shoes?

Dogs, our loyal and furry friends, have an instinctual desire to chew. This behavior can be traced back to their wild ancestors, who chewed to keep their jaws strong and teeth clean. Puppies, in particular, chew to help relieve the pain of teething. However, as charming as our canine companions are, their love for chewing can sometimes be directed at our favorite footwear. If you've ever found your best pair of shoes in tatters, you understand the need to address this behavior promptly.

In this guide, we'll explore why dogs chew shoes and how to redirect this behavior so you can keep your footwear and dog in harmony.

1. Understanding Why Dogs Chew Shoes

Before addressing the behavior, it's crucial to understand why dogs are attracted to shoes:

  • Scent and Taste: Shoes carry our scent, making them especially attractive to dogs. The unique combination of sweat, skin cells, and other natural odors makes shoes irresistible to a curious canine.
  • Texture: The material of shoes, especially leather, is very satisfying for a dog to chew on. It's not far from the texture of the rawhides or chew toys they might be given.
  • Teething: Puppies chew more when they're teething. Shoes can provide relief from the discomfort they're feeling.
  • Boredom: A bored dog will find ways to entertain itself, and shoes can be an unfortunate victim of this.

2. Preventative Measures

  • Store Shoes Away: The simplest way to prevent your dog from chewing your shoes is to keep them out of reach. Use shoe racks, closets, or even a dedicated room.
  • Provide Alternatives: Dogs have a natural need to chew. Supply them with a variety of chew toys. Rotating these toys can keep their interest and reduce the allure of your shoes.

3. Training and Redirection

  • Teach 'Leave It': This command is invaluable. Start by holding a treat in your closed hand. When your dog stops trying to get the treat and pulls away, say "Leave it" and reward them with the treat. Gradually move to more tempting items like shoes.
  • Redirect to Appropriate Toys: When you catch your dog with a shoe, don't scold them after the fact. Instead, replace the shoe with a toy they can chew. This helps them understand what's acceptable to chew on.

4. Exercise and Mental Stimulation

Dogs often chew out of boredom or excess energy. Regular walks, play sessions, and training can help tire them out and reduce unwanted behaviors:

  • Daily Walks: Ensure your dog gets enough physical exercise based on their breed and age.
  • Play Sessions: Games like fetch, tug-of-war, and hide and seek can keep your dog entertained.
  • Mental Stimulation: Puzzle toys, obedience training, or even agility courses can keep your dog's mind sharp and occupied.

5. Taste Deterrents

There are many safe sprays available that taste unpleasant to dogs. Spraying these on your shoes can make them much less appealing. However, always check that any product you use is safe and non-toxic.

6. Consult a Professional

If your dog continues to chew shoes despite your best efforts, it might be time to consult a professional dog trainer or behaviorist. They can provide tailored strategies and insights into why your dog might be exhibiting this behavior.

In Conclusion

Dogs don't chew shoes to spite us. It's a natural behavior that, with understanding and patience, can be redirected. By taking preventative measures, offering appropriate alternatives, and ensuring your dog is mentally and physically stimulated, you can protect your footwear and strengthen the bond with your furry friend. Remember, consistency is key, and with time, your shoes will be safe once more.