Does your dog or puppy keep chewing your shoes no matter what you do to stop them? If so, this guide was written with you in mind.
By the time you’ve finished reading, you should have a good understanding of why your dog likes to chew your shoes, and what you can do to redirect this behavior to something more appropriate.
Puppies are very likely to chew things around the house (including your shoes) when they are going through the teething process. This can be quite an uncomfortable time for your dog, but they will get some relief by chewing things.
So if you don’t have anything more suitable for your dog to chew (such as their own toys), then your shoes will seem like a pretty good solution for the discomfort they’re going through.
Is Your Dog Bored?
If your dog isn’t teething, but still chews up your shoes, then they may be feeling bored or anxious. This is especially common if they spend a lot of time on their own during the day, without the company of people or other dogs.
The act of chewing gives your dog some mental stimulation, and it also releases endorphins which are going to make them feel more content. Again, providing an alternative item to chew is important here – but if your dog is bored, then it’s possible the behavior will manifest in other areas.
In this case, the best solution is to give your dog more physical activity and find time to play with them and take give them for more walks. If this isn’t possible, then hiring a dog walker can be useful.
Is Your Dog Lonely?
Separation anxiety can cause a range of destructive behaviors, and chewing things they shouldn’t can be one of them. Shoes are a popular target, and they may seem more interesting to your dog than any other toy, too.
Primarily, this is because your shoes will smell like you, and they’ve undoubtedly picked up a variety of other scents and interesting smells if you’ve worn them outside on many occasions. This can make them highly stimulating to your dog, so the only solution may be to keep these shoes out of their reach.
Changing Your Dog’s Behavior
One of the most effective ways to stop your dog from chewing your shoes (or any unwanted item) is to use positive reinforcement. This technique begins by catching your dog in the act of chewing the shoes. Next, you’ll make a loud sound (such as a clap of your hands, or a loud “no”). When your dog stops and looks at you, provide them with a different toy to chew.
Once your dog takes the new toy, heap on the positive praise, so they learn to associate your approval with the new item. If this is repeated often enough, the behavior should begin to change.
Shoes can often be very interesting to your dog, due to the variety of smells and flavors they have picked up during your travels. So to make them less interesting, you’ll need a more interesting toy!
Many dogs are happy with Nylabone or Kong toys, so these are a good place to start. Often, these toys will be very appealing due to the fact that you can store treats in them, or in the case of many Nylabone toys, they are already flavored. Alternatively, if you shop around you can find many interactive toys that may work better at holding your dog’s attention and keeping him entertained.