How to Train Your Dog to Wear Boots

Medium
2-4 Weeks
General

Introduction

There is nothing like seeing a dog walking next to his human buddy, both of them wearing boots to protect their feet from the snow. While at first, this might seem a bit funny, when you stop to look at the big picture, it makes great sense. A good set of puppy booties will protect your pup's feet not only from the wet and freezing cold snow, but they will also protect his paws from the chemicals used to treat the roads and any sharp objects that might be buried in the snow.

However, keep in mind that there is nothing about wearing boots that comes naturally to your dog. It is likely to take a bit of time and effort getting him used to wearing them. Be sure to go to a pet store to buy your dog boots. Just like you, your pup needs the right size boots to fit his paws. 

Defining Tasks

In this case, the idea behind the command is that when you tell your pup "time to put your boots on" he comes over to you and patiently allows you to put his boots on before you go for a walk. Once he finally gets used to wearing them, you may find he starts asking for them and no longer wanting to get his paws wet. Be sure you take the time to make the boot fitting process as much fun as possible as this will go a long way towards getting him used to wearing them.

The more time you spend getting your pup used to wearing his boots, the easier it will be teaching him how to walk around in them. Most forms of training start with letting your pup get used to a new item or situation.

Getting Started

The best place to start is at your local pet store that sells dog boots. Be sure you take your pup into the store with you and make a big fuss out of finding the right boots. At the same time, make sure the ones you choose fit him properly or he won't want to wear them. The only other things you need are:

  • Treats: For rewarding him when he agrees to wear the boots.
  • Time: You'l' need time for getting him used to wearing the boots and then for getting used to walking in them outside.
  • Patience: This task is going to take a bit of time, so be patient.
  • A quiet place to train: The best time to train your dog is when the house is quiet, as there will be fewer distractions.

One last thing, if your pup is already used to having his paws handled for things like nail trimming and fur trimming, you may find the training process goes a bit faster. Also, during the fitting process, just have your pup stand in the boots, do not let him try to walk around in them. Make it fun, make it a positive experience, and use plenty of treats and kind words. 

The Toy Basket Method

Most Recommended
3 Votes
Step
1
Call him over
Call your pup over to you and have him lie down.
Step
2
One paw at a time
Slip one boot on at a time, praising him and giving him a treat after each boot until he is wearing all four.
Step
3
Keep him inside at first
Don't try to take him outside quite yet, there is still some indoor training to be done.
Step
4
Bring out the toy basket
Bring out your dog's basket of toys and encourage him to play with one or more of them for a little while. This will help to keep his mind off those new boots on his paws, allowing him to get used to wearing them around the house.
Step
5
Give him time
Give your pup plenty of time to play around the house in his new boots, this will let him see that putting on his boots leads to something fun.
Step
6
Take him for a walk
After he has had some time to get used to the boots on his feet, take him outside and go for a walk. Be sure to keep an eye on the boots to make sure he doesn't lose one. Go out and enjoy walking in the rain and the snow knowing your pup's feet will be clean and dry when you get home.
Recommend training method?

The Grooming Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Start on your regular grooming day
Have your dog come over to you for his regular grooming and lay down.
Step
2
Slip a bootie on
While he is laying on the floor, slip one boot on and give him a treat, praise him for doing a good job.
Step
3
Remove the boot
Take the boot back off and go on about his grooming.
Step
4
Make the switch
The following day, switch the paw you put his boot on, repeating this process until he seems comfortable with them. Then try putting all four of them on.
Step
5
Stand and deliver
Once your pup is comfortable laying there with his boots on, have him stand up and get used to standing in them. Enjoy watching your pup pick up a paw and shake his new boot around.
Step
6
Off you go
Start off walking at a slow pace allowing your pup to get used to walking in the boots. Finally, you can go out on rainy days and not worry about your pup's feet getting wet and muddy.
Recommend training method?

The One Boot Method

Effective
0 Votes
Step
1
Boots smell good
Place your pup's new boots on the floor and give him plenty of time to sniff around them and get used to them. Give him a few treats and lots of encouragement.
Step
2
Call him over
Call your pup over and have him sit in front of you.
Step
3
Show him a single boot
Pick up one front boot and show it to him then ask him to give you a paw. When he does, give him a treat.
Step
4
Put the boot on
Put the single boot on his paw, fasten it in place and let your dog go. This is where you get to have fun watching him try to sling the boot anywhere but on his foot. The fun won't last long, but do try to hide your laughter for the sake of your pup's feelings.
Step
5
Add one more
Once he has gotten used to the idea of having a boot put on his foot, add another, and another until he is used to wearing all four and walking around the house in them.
Step
6
Practice inside first
Take some time to walk your pup around the house over various surfaces so that he can get used to walking in the boots.
Step
7
The time has come
The time has finally come for you to take your pup out for a walk in his boots, just remember to start out slow and work your way back up to your normal walking speed. This will give him time to become acclimated to them and ensure a safe and fun walk, free of mess when you come in from a rainy walk.
Recommend training method?

Success Stories and Training Questions

Training Questions and Answers

Question
Clint
Chihuahua
7 Years
0 found helpful
Question
0 found helpful
Clint
Chihuahua
7 Years

Hi, I was wondering how I could help my dog wear his boots. I got two sets of boots and socks but they keep falling off his feet. They were the only size I could find and the sizing chart assured me they would stay on; is it a sizing issue or am I doing something wrong? I really want him to wear them when the pavement is hot. So far, in the summer I just pick him up and let him walk on grass to make sure he doesn't get hurt, but now it's snowing and I worry he'll freeze his little feet!

He's 12 pounds, if that helps.

Thank you!

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Cheyenne, I suggest trying the boots without the socks first. If they still fall off after that, it's either a fitting or style issue. I am assuming that pup's boots have velco. If so the velco tightness may need to be adjusted better - without being there I can't specifically tell you how but you will just have to experiment to see if adjusting it helps. If non of those things help, it's probably an issue with how the boots are made or sizing. Unfortunately not all dog boots are made well and stay on. I personally use dog boots at times for my own dog and had to do a lot of research to find some that would stay on, then had to play with different adjustments with the velco to ensure the right fit. Many of the brands I looked at before purchasing had reviews that stated that the boots didn't stay on. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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Question
Annie
Lhasa Apso
4 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Annie
Lhasa Apso
4 Years

I'm trying to get my dog to wear boots. I followed the steps using treats to slowly get her accustomed to them. When I put her on the floor with the boots on, she won't move. Then she lays down.

Darlene Stott
Darlene Stott
Dog Trainer and Groomer
85 Dog owners recommended

Thank you for the question. Yes, getting a pooch to wear boots is sometimes a challenge! Have you tried putting the boots on and then carrying Annie outside right away? Perhaps the distraction will take her mind off these very strange things on her feet. When outside, encourage her to come to you by offering her favorite treat - or even a new one that will pique her interest. Take her out for short spurts and then praise her highly when you bring her in and take them off. Keep trying outside, and extend the length of time you leave them on each time. Another option is to take her to the dog park with them on and she may be so excited to play that she forgets all about them! She's a good girl for cooperating to put them on. Best of luck and have fun with Annie!

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Question
Aspen
White Shepherd
6 Years
1 found helpful
Question
1 found helpful
Aspen
White Shepherd
6 Years

I have been able to get my dog comfortable wearing shoes before, so I didn't think getting protective shoes would be a problem. She is okay wearing soft cloth shoes, but since the texas pavement gets so hot, I bought a pair to protect her paws, but she flips out when I put them on. She kicks and shakes until she gets them off, and her back paws are much smaller so the fall off. Why are these harder for her and how can I help her wear them more comfortably?

Caitlin Crittenden
Caitlin Crittenden
Dog Trainer
662 Dog owners recommended

Hello Abigail, A number of reasons might be causing her to dislike them. First, examine the inside of the shoes and make sure they are not uncomortable due to how they are made or fit - such as stitching that is rubbing or a lump that's digging into her paw - quality could be to blame. If the shoes are good quality and fit correctly, it could be because, unlike the soft shoes, she can't feel the ground and that makes her feel like she lacks traction while walking, or the stiffness or heaviness of them is an odd adjustment for her. I suggest using her daily meal kibble to get her used to doggie socks or soft shoes again first. Put a sock on her and reward her every few seconds for ignoring the sock and interrupt her whenever she tries to bother it. When she ignores one sock for thirty minutes, add more socks and work up to her wearing all of them - since she tolerates soft shoes, this may go quickly but do it anyway to set the expectation that this is a fun game. When she will tolerate the sock, add one shoe and do the same thing for a few minutes each session - rewarding every few seconds she ignores it, interrupting bothering it, and gradually adding more shoes later as she gets good at this game. Doing all this will help her to enjoy the shoe fitting game even before you put the shoe on her (through practice with the sock), and ease her into all four shoes and the weight or feeling or lost traction by starting with one shoes and allowing her to continue to feel like she has good traction while adjusting to the feel. Best of luck training, Caitlin Crittenden

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