Why Do Dogs Chew Shoes?

dog_chewing_shoe

There’s nothing more frustrating than coming home to discover that your dog has destroyed your gorgeous shoes. Even the cutest dog looks slightly less adorable with a shoe in his/her mouth (although it can be kind of funny sometimes). And while chewing doesn’t always make much sense, dogs actually do have reasons for doing this. So why do dogs chew shoes?

Cutting Teeth

Puppies chew on nearly everything to alleviate the pain of cutting adult teeth. They also haven’t yet learned that some things are off-limits, and will put anything in their mouths. You should begin training your dog not to chew during puppyhood by giving him alluring dog treats, keeping shoes out of his reach and rewarding him for selecting an appropriate chew object over an inappropriate one. However, because chewing is so engrained in puppy behavior, it is unlikely that your puppy will stop chewing on shoes until he is done cutting adult teeth.

Boredom and Anxiety

Chewing burns off nervous energy and provides bored dogs with something to do. If your dog is home alone for long periods of time each day, he might be chewing out of sheer boredom. Keeping your dog in a crate, providing him with treat-releasing dog toys or hiring a dog walker can all help keep his boredom-related chewing at bay. Similarly, some dogs chew when they’re anxious during storms and separations. If your dog is anxious and chewing, a crate is an absolute must that will provide him with the sense of security he craves.

(they may chew other arbitrary things for this reason too, like tissue paper)

Smell

Dogs are driven primarily by their noses, and dogs’ sense of smell is a thousand to ten thousand times as powerful as humans’ sense of smell. Even the slightest interesting smell can encourage your dog to chew on your shoes. Leather shoes may smell like food to dogs, and any shoe you’ve worn smells like you, making it instantly appealing. Shoes undoubtedly pick up a variety of interesting scents out in the world, and chewing on your shoes may just be your dog’s way of figuring out what you’ve been doing all day.

Attention

If you yell at your dog when he chews on shoes, you may be teaching him that chewing is a great way to get attention. Dogs are quick learners, and if your dog learns that chewing a shoe gets a stronger reaction than, say, chewing a toilet paper roll, he’s much more likely to take off running with your shoe. To prevent this kind of attention-seeking behavior, lavish your dog with attention when he’s being calm or chewing on an appropriate toy. When he grabs a shoe, simply take the shoe without speaking or making eye contact and walk away.

Source: The Nest

How to Help Them Stop

Remain calm. Unleashing your anger on your dog won’t accomplish anything. In fact, it can further unbalance your dog – and move him to seek another object to chew to calm down!

Correct your dog. Do not try to grab the object away or take the dog away from the object. Instead, you can use a light touch correction on the neck or hindquarters to get your dog’s attention away from the object.

Redirect the behavior. If the correction didn’t get your dog to drop the object, find something else that will, such as the scent of a treat or another toy.

Claim the object. Use your energy and body language to communicate to your dog that the object is yours. It can be helpful to imagine an invisible boundary around you and the object.

Find safe chew toys. Many dogs use chewing as a way to calm themselves. Puppies who are teething chew to relieve pain. Provide an object that they can safely chew, such as a chew toy or a bully stick.

Source: Cesar’s Way

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