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Puppies are an adorable addition to your family. However, sometimes we create little shoe eating machines when they are cute and chewing on anything and everything around. Then we are left wondering when they adult dogs why we often find our shoes in their mouths. There could be many reasons why your dog chews on your shoes. Maybe you gave him old shoes to chew on when he was a puppy, and he cannot tell the difference between a ratty old shoe and your very expensive Italian leather loafer or stiletto. Allowing your dog to continue to eat your shoes could lead to him chewing on other things as well. So, the best time to teach a dog not to chew or eat certain items is when he is a puppy. Some owners end up with full grown dogs who exhibit bad behavior as a result of habits developed in puppyhood.
Teaching your dog to stop chewing on your shoes requires patience and persistence. Your dog may need to be reminded for several weeks that this is bad behavior. He will also need rewards and alternatives. Sometimes eating indigestible objects such as shoes stems from boredom. For some dogs, eating objects stems from lack of nutrition. However, if your dog is chewing on your shoes, it might be because they remind him of you. You could work on a few habits with your dog and start changing his patterns, ensure he has proper treats and meals to eat, along with enough toys to keep him entertained and give him positive time away from you while you are away from him in ways which won’t destroy your shoes.
As stated, you will need time and patience. Be prepared for repetition. Your dog will need to be reminded several times to completely change her behavior. New chew toys, a cloth, towel, or an old t-shirt that smells like you, and some good treats to eat instead of your shoes are just a few things you could use to make these methods work in your home.
The Alleviate Boredom Method
If your dog is chewing on your shoes because she is bored, you will need to catch her in the act and keep her entertained.
When you see your dog chewing on your shoes, offer her an alternative toy to chew.
Be sure to make it fun and exciting for her.
Providing toys with treats inside will give her something to eat as she plays, steering her mind away from your shoes.
Each time you catch her with a shoe, gently take it away from her and offer her an alternative toy. Praise her for accepting a more appropriate treat to eat and toy to chew.
Repeat this process several times until she accepts her toys as hers and your shoes as something she should not eat.
The Accessibility Method
Some dogs find themselves eating items which are indigestible because they are searching for nutrients their bodies are lacking.
As with the 'Alleviate Boredom' method, redirect your dog's behavior away from your shoes and onto something more appropriate.
Offer your dog a bit of nutrition to eat instead of shoes when you catch her eating your shoes. Take the shoe away and offer a healthier treat for your dog to eat, such as a bully stick or tendon.
Out of reach
Keep your shoes out of reach and away from your dog.
Your habits may need to begin to change as well if you are used to leaving your shoes in a place where your dog can get to them.
Repeat the steps above, offering your dog an alternative to toy or a treat to chew on in lieu of your shoes
The Your Sweet Smell Method
Dogs who are left free reign of the house when you are away may find themselves in more trouble than just chewing on a pair of shoes.
If your dog is suffering from separation anxiety, she may find your shoes and lay next to them, nibble on them, eat them, or even destroy them while you are away merely because they remind her of you.
Out of reach
In this case, keep your shoes out of reach from your dog.
Supply your dog with alternatives while you are away such as ropes and chew toys specifically made for dogs.
Offer your dog a piece of clothing you have worn or even slept with as a substitute for your shoes. Keep this individual item of clothing in your dog's special spaces such as her crate or her bedding area, encouraging her to snuggle and lay with it.
The scent of you she will find on the piece of clothing may help calm her and keep her out of trouble and away from your shoes.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 11/30/2017, edited: 01/08/2021
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