If you forget to put your shoes away when you take them off, it is highly likely that you will soon find those shoes hanging out of your dog’s mouth, probably covered in drool. This is one of the more frustrating habits your dog may do, and it may seem like there is nothing you can do to teach them not to do it. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to teach your dog that shoes are not toys.
Why do dogs chew shoes?
Puppies are highly likely to chew on shoes, and this is generally because they are feeling discomfort as their adult teeth start to grow through their gums. Puppies have a lot to learn as they grow, and they may not have learned yet that certain things are off limits. It is important during the puppy learning phase that you keep shoes out of sight and you praise them when they chew on items that they are supposed to chew. Chewing is a very necessary step in puppy’s growth, so you should provide them with plenty of things to chew on so that they do not look for things around your house to chew on.
Your dog may also be chewing on items around the house if they are bored or anxious. A great way to avoid a bored dog is to give them lots of exercise. Puppies only need a short amount of time to rest before their energy is recharged, so giving them frequent, long bouts of exercise will help them expend the energy they would otherwise use to chew on your shoes. You can also keep your puppy in a crate during the day when they do not have someone at home to play with. Provide them with puzzle toys to keep them occupied. Puzzle toys are a great way for you to provide your dog with treats while also having them use some energy to figure out how to get the treats out.
If your dog chews when they are anxious, you may want to look into getting them some treats and tools that will help them remain calm. For example, you may want to get a thunder jacket for your dog. Thunder jacket wraps have been shown to be quite effective in helping your dog calm down. They are helpful for helping dogs who are prone to anxiety, over-stimulation, or compulsive barking. Thunder jackets work by applying gentle pressure around your dog to help them calm down. This can be helpful to your dog is they are prone to stress-chewing, because it will help them calm down and direct their energy elsewhere. It may also be helpful for you to look into stress-reducing collars, which are generally filled with herbs that can soothe your dog, which can be especially helpful for anxious dogs. The effectiveness of these collars is on a dog-by-dog basis, and it may not be effective for all dogs.
If you reprimand your dog for chewing, you are actually giving them exactly what they are seeking while doing that behavior. Your attention is a treat to your dog, and yelling at them when they are doing something wrong is rewarding them for bad behavior. Dogs can learn very quickly, and this will teach them that they will get a stronger reaction out of you if they chew on shoes. The best way to avoid this is to give your dog lots and lots of attention when they are calm so that they are more likely to try to seek attention from you when they are behaving well instead of when they are misbehaving.
Some dogs may lick and chew on fabrics, which is believed to be a sign that your dog was weaned too early. If you find your dog specifically licking or chewing on fabric for an extended period of time, and you find that you are having trouble distracting them from chewing, there is a possibility that this behavior has become compulsive for your dog. It might be useful for you to see the help of a certified applied animal behaviorist for help training your dog not to do this.
Your dog may also be chewing on your shoes because they are hungry. If you are not feeding your dog enough calories, protein or fat, they may feel the need to chew on shoes in an attempt to get more. Typically this behavior is directed at things that either look like or smell like food, but it can happen with any object.
How to stop the chewing
It is important to keep in mind that the only time you can discipline your dog for chewing on the shoe is when they are actually in the act of chewing the shoe. If you find a shoe that has been chewed on an hour after your puppy was chewing on it, it is useless to try to punish your dog. They will not be able to understand that what you are punishing them for is chewing on the shoe, because there are a number of other things they could have been doing in that hour.
If you do catch your dog in the act of chewing on your shoe, you should stop it immediately with a firm, verbal command or a loud noise. When your dog stops the chewing, provide them with an appropriate chew toy and give them praise when they continue to chew on the toy and not the shoes. It is important that you do not provide your dog with a chew toy that resembles a shoe or anything around your house that you do not want them to chew on. If none of these tricks seem to be working, there are a number of products you can apply to items around the house that you do not want your dog chewing on. Generally, these products smell or taste bad to your dog, and will deter them from chewing on that area. These are not harmful to your dog’s health or offensive to humans.
What are the best toys to distract from chewing shoes?
Any toy that you purchase for your dog should be appropriate for their size and energy level. Toys that are too small for your dog can cause a serious choking hazard. Hard rubber toys come in many shapes and sizes and can be very fun for your dog to carry around. Some of these toys even provide a puzzle for your dog to try to figure out how to get treats out of them. Dogs who enjoy playing tug of war and chewing on interesting textures will enjoy long ropes and textured toys that they can work at. Tennis balls are very good toys for playing fetch, but they will not hold up very long to chewing, especially with larger dogs.
Soft, chewable toys are a great alternative for dogs to chew on instead of your couch cushions or slippers. Some dogs enjoy carrying around their toys, so you should pick a soft toy that is the correct weight and size for them to carry around without a struggle. Many dogs want to shake their toys quite aggressively, so you should pick a soft chew toy that will be sturdy enough to withstand that wear and tear.
In order to preserve your dog’s toys, you should rotate them out once a week, making only a few toys available at any time. You can leave your dog’s favorite toy out all of the time, or purchase several versions of the same toy, so that you can switch them out and hopefully help them last longer. Each toy should serve a different purpose, such as one that they can throw, one that they can chew and one that they can roll around.
It is very important for you to supervise your dog as they learn the new house rules. They should stay on the leash inside the house so they cannot start chewing on household items when they are out of your sight. If you would prefer not to keep them on the leash while they are inside the house, you should confine them to one particular space so that you control which items they have access to. Your dog should also have plenty of people time, so that they can learn how to behave appropriately.
Tips for dealing with puppy chewing
You should dog-proof your house as much as possible during this chewing phase, putting away anything that is of value to you and your family. Keep your shoes, clothes and any other items that may be of chewing interest to your dog out of sight and off of the floor. You should do as much as you can to help your dog succeed.
When you provide your dog with many appropriate options for chewing, then they will be less likely to want to chew on something they should not. These items are usually bones, since they feel good for your dog to chew on and also take a long time to work through. However, you should only give your dog natural bones that are sold specifically for chewing. You should never give your dog cooked bones such as leftover t-bones or chicken wings. These types of bones can splinter very easily, and could cause an injury. If your dog is a particularly intense chewer, some bones may splinter or chip, and they may even chip their own teeth in the chewing process.
Keep an eye on what times of day your dog is most likely to start chewing things they should not. It may be that your dog is getting bored or restless around the same time every day, and that is when they are on the hunt for something to chew. This is a great time to give them a puzzle toy to distract them from the need to chew. This process will take a while, and you should make a point to supervise your dog at all times when they are awake until you are confident that they will no longer chew.
If you spend a lot of the day at work and your dog is at home, you should use a crate or put your dog in a small room so that they have limited access to other household items. Provide a variety of toys for them to play with, and remove anything of value. When you get home at the end of the day, play with your dog for a long time in your yard, take them for a long walk, or bring them to do the dog park so that they can get all of their excess energy out.
Dogs will find a way to chew on your shoes, and there are a number of reasons why your dog might be chewing on your valuable items. Most likely, the chewing is a result of puppyhood, and you will simply need to train your new dog on what is appropriate for chewing and what is not. If your dog is not a puppy and starts chewing on your shoes all of a sudden, it may be a sign that something in their day to day lives is not working correctly. They may have a lot of excess energy and do not know how to handle it, or they may be underfed.
If you have tried all of the above tips and tricks and you are still struggling with a dog that likes to chew on anything but their own toys, it is best to consult your veterinarian. Your vet may be able to do some medical tests to see if there is anything going on beneath the surface that may cause your dog to need to chew, such as underlying pain. They may also be able to recommend toys that will be more effective at redirecting your dog’s attention.