Does your dog enjoy chewing on your shoes? Do you feel frustrated when you come home to find your house is a mess and your favorite footwear is ruined? While your furry friend jumps and barks to welcome you home, you cannot help but be angry with him for the chew damage he has caused. It is no secret that dogs enjoy chewing on things, especially your shoes!
While dogs use their sharp sense of smell and above average vision to explore the world around them, using the mouth to touch or chew things is a favorite way to learn about the world around them. Chewing shoes not only damages your wonderful wardrobe, but could also hurt your dog’s mouth or teeth, or he could die from choking. In the information that follows, you will learn how to save your shoes from a chew-happy canine.
Why do dogs like chewing on shoes?
If you want to solve the destructive issue of your dog chewing on your shoes, you must track this negative habit back to its origin. Owners can then choose the appropriate training methods to make dogs stop chewing on their footwear. In the information below, you will find some of the more common reasons why dogs like chewing on shoes.
Dogs chew on your shoes because they are teething and exploring their world.
Puppies like to explore the world around them, especially by putting things in their mouth. Just like infant children, when puppies are teething, they will try to make the pain in their sore gums feel better by chewing. This is why puppies will often chew on everything, even your favorite pair of shoes.
You cannot prevent your dog from exploring the house and chewing on things to alleviate pain, but you can train him not to chew on important possessions, such as shoes. If you forbid the puppy to chew on your shoes and offer him a more appropriate chew object, such as chew toys or rawhide treats, you will eventually train your puppy not to be destructive.
When dogs experience Separation Anxiety, they will often ‘act out’ by chewing on shoes. Separation anxiety simply means that your dog harbors a fear of being left or abandoned at home, alone. If your dog barks excessively, displays negative housebreaking behaviors, or chews your shoes while you are not home, this could mean that your dog hates being left alone.
These negative behaviors can be observed when your dog is so anxious and upset that he cannot help himself from doing something that is considered bad, primarily because he cannot calm his nerves. This is when your dog might do something destructive, such as chew up your shoes, in an effort to release his anxiety and frustration on other things, especially shoes – which are often left near your door.
Your dog is likely to become destructive, such as chewing on shoes, out of boredom. Dogs who are left at home, alone, will often look for something to do while they wait for owners to come home. Your puppy may find that chewing on your shoes is an entertaining way to kill time.
If you were to stay at home for a long period of time, it is likely that you would find many things to do, such as watch TV, read books or even play computer games. However, when you are a bored dog, you would likely decide to chew on something for entertainment and to pass the time. If your dog can find another way to chase the boredom away, you have successfully saved your shoes from destruction.
Many of your dog’s behaviors and decisions are based on sensory reactions to the world around him. Do you sometimes wonder why your dog only chews on shoes, but never the other possessions around your home such as clothes and hats? This is because dogs can usually gain easier access to your shoes than to your other things, as these are often lying around on the floor.
In addition, clothing and other possessions will have a weaker scent than your shoes, easily detected by your dog’s keen sense of smell. While shoes commonly have an unpleasant scent, owners should also realize that leather shoes often smell like food to dogs.
Your dog’s sharp sense of smell can detect even the slightest odor, encouraging him to chew on your shoes. It is also believed that dogs often feel secure while they are chewing on your shoes. Perhaps your dog chews on your shoes in an effort to be close to you while you are away or distracted.
Like small children, your dog may chew on shoes in an effort to gain your attention. Sometimes, dogs look for ways to gain your undivided attention, including negative attention such as chewing on your shoes. If you yell at your dog when he is caught chewing on your shoes, or if you laugh at his destructive behavior, your dog might learn that chewing is a game that works to get your attention.
While you are nearby, your dog may chew on your shoes to catch your attention, hoping to get a rise out of you. Once dog owners realize that strong reactions are not conducive to proper training, and can actually reinforce the pet’s bad habits, they can train their canines not to chew on shoes, when they are at home or away.
Best Steps to Prevent Your Dog from Chewing on Shoes
Now that you know several reasons why dogs opt to chew on shoes rather than other, more flavorful options, you will be more equipped to take to proper precautions to deal with the problem of chewing on shoes. Now, you should read on to discover some of the best tips to stop this destructive habit before the problem gets out of hand.
Help your dog to develop better habits by offering appropriate chew toys and treats. If your dog is just a puppy, now is the time to develop good habits such as chewing only on appropriate items. Because chewing is one of your dog’s most basic instincts, it is going to be near impossible to make him stop.
You can easily train him not to chew on shoes as a puppy by offering him appropriate toys, treats and other chewing options. During this training phase, keep your shoes off of the floor and out of reach. Additionally, a freezing wet washcloth can help your teething puppy to alleviate pain and soothe his gums.
Remain calm when your dog acts out and chews on things he shouldn’t. Your dog might become excited or afraid when you unleash your anger on him, and this behavior can often make things much worse. In fact, if your puppy becomes even more upset, it is likely that he will seek something else to chew on, in an effort to calm down.
Irrational or improper reactions displayed by owners when dogs chew on their shoes can also lead to more negative behaviors, as the dog has now learned that the chewing activity gets him more attentions. It is important to remain calm during training by simply taking the shoes away without speaking or making eye contact, and walking away.
As a responsible dog owner, you should provide safe and proper chew toys. After taking the shoes away from your destructive canine, offer him some safe and appropriate chew toys. These can relieve your dog’s stress, and protect his mouth and teeth. There are many dog toys for sale in pet stores and online, some of which are even shaped like shoes! Lavish your dog with attention when he is chewing on a safe chew toy.
Do not punish your dog long after he has chewed on your shoes. If you find your shoes have been chewed on or destroyed while you were away, it is too late to punish or scold him. This is because your dog cannot associate the punishment to an action that occurred several hours ago.
Prevent this from happening by giving your dog plenty of physical exercise to chase away the boredom and promote exhaustion so he will rest when you are away. The amount of exercise given should be based on your dog’s age, breed, and health condition.
Understanding the reasons why chewing your shoes is so tempting to your dog can help prevent him from repeating this negative behavior again. Consult a dog professional for help if your pet exhibits bad housebreaking and separation anxiety behaviors. Making sure your dog gets enough physical and mental activity can not only solve the problem of chewed up shoes, but it can also help by spending your dog’s excessive energy and building better overall health.