Dogs love to chew. You’ve probably seen your dog chewing on everything from the toys you give them to rocks they dug up from the backyard. But one thing you never want to see your dog chewing on is your shoes.
Unfortunately, your shoes are one of the most attractive items to your dog. They smell like you, strongly, and they’re just the right combination of soft and durable to give them a real good chew session.
But you don’t want to replace your kicks every week and you definitely don’t want to start feeling resentful towards your dog for chewing up your shoes. So, what can you do?
Well, we’ve found eight solutions for you. Try any or all of these simple tricks and you should be able to get your dog to stop chewing your shoes today. But before we tell you how to stop this behavior, let’s discuss why it’s happening in the first place. Here’s why dogs chew shoes and how to stop dogs from chewing shoes.
Why Do Dogs Chew Shoes?
Many people want to jump right into the solutions to get their dog to quit chewing. It’s easy to see the temptation, but your efforts will go much smoother if you understand why your dog is chewing your shoes in the first place.
While there are many reasons that a dog might be chewing, there are a few causes that have revealed themselves to be the most common culprits.
Puppies go through a teething phase on their way to maturity. During this time, it’s not uncommon for them to want to chew just about everything. If your puppy is still young and is chewing a lot more than just your shoes, then you might just have to use a few of these tricks to wait out this phase in your dog’s development.
Just like humans, dogs tend to act out when they get bored. If your dog is bored and has no entertainment and no way to occupy themselves, then they’ll likely turn to more destructive behaviors like chewing. The good news is that several of the tricks we’re going to share with you can easily cure your dog’s boredom.
Too Much Energy
Some dogs simply have too much energy and they’re chewing as more of a nervous outlet. These dogs might not be getting sufficient exercise or they may not have enough room to get the physical activity they need on their own.
Many dogs are prone to separation anxiety and it often manifests as destructive behaviors like chewing. Shoes are an easy target because they’re generally on the floor and they’re loaded with your scent, which can make your dog feel more comfortable as they chew.
The 10 Ways to Stop Dogs from Chewing Shoes
Now that we’ve discussed the most likely reasons for your dog’s chewing habit, let’s talk about some solutions. We’ve got 10 tricks here that are easy to implement, and most importantly, effective. But you shouldn’t just choose one at random and try it. Instead, think about what the root cause of your dog’s chewing is and try to pick the methods that are best-suited to curing that particular type of chewing.
1. Use Chewing Deterrents
One of the simplest and easiest ways to stop your dog from chewing on any specific item, including shoes, is to spray the items you don’t want to be chewed with an anti-chewing spray. These sprays are completely safe for your dog. Almost as importantly, they’re non-staining and won’t damage your shoes or whatever else you spray it on.
There are plenty of chewing deterrent sprays on the market, but we haven’t had great luck with all of them. One that did work well was the Bodhi Dog New Bitter 2 in 1 No Chew & Hot Spot Spray. This spray is made to help prevent your dog from itching and scratching, but it also has a licking and chewing deterrent built-in that’s great for getting your dog to stop chewing your shoes. It’s non-staining and safe for your shoes, and the smell isn’t too offensive. Most importantly, it works!
2. Provide a Chew Toy
It’s a known fact that dogs love to chew. If you don’t provide your dog with a specific item to chew, they’ll likely just look for whatever item seems the most chewable to them, regardless of what that item means to you.
For many dogs, simply providing them with an alternative toy to chew can be enough to stop them from chewing your shoes up again. The key is to find a toy that your dog really enjoys chewing. Not every dog is going to like the same toys, so you might have to experiment with a few and find the ones that really resonate with your pooch.
We’ve tried tons of dog chew toys over the years, but there are a few that we come back to over and over because our dogs just seem to gravitate to them. One of our top choices is the Petstages Dogwood Tough Dog Chew Toy. It’s made to look like a stick, which many dogs already love to chew. However, this is a much safer alternative since it won’t splinter in their mouth.
If your dogs weren’t immediately drawn to that one, you might try something a bit different like the KONG Classic Dog Toy. These toys can withstand chewing from even the toughest teeth. Plus, they bounce erratically, making them a great toy for dogs who love to chase and entertain themselves with their toys. Best of all, it’s available in six different sizes so you can find one that fits your dog perfectly.
3. Discipline During Chewing
Sometimes, our dogs just don’t know that what they’re doing is wrong and it takes a little bit of discipline to get the message across. But the key here is timing. Discipline with dogs is only effective if it can be administered at the time of the transgression. If you find a chewed shoe but it’s not in your dog’s mouth, then it’s already too late for discipline.
That said, if you do happen to catch your dog in the act of chewing your shoe, then you’re in the perfect position to make it clear to them that this is unacceptable behavior. With a firm voice but no anger, command your dog to drop the item.
If your dog hasn’t been trained to drop an item before, then you might have to work on this skill with them a bit. Check out this video for an easy way to teach your dog to drop any item in just a few minutes.
4. Claim the Shoe as Yours
If you do happen to catch your dog in the act of chewing your shoe, there’s another option available to you aside from discipline. Instead, you could claim the object as your own and make it clear to your dog that it belongs to you and only you.
This is a little bit more of an advanced technique that will require a good understanding of dogs. To do it, you’ll have to use your body language and energy to tell your dog that the shoe belongs to you. Remember, dogs don’t speak our language, even though many people believe their dogs can understand them.
5. Trade a Chew for the Shoe
You could think of this as redirecting your dog’s chewing. When you find your dog chewing your shoe, simply trade something else for your shoe. To do this, you’ll need to find something else that your dog will find desirable. It needs to be something safe to chew, preferably with a scent or flavor that can help to make it more appealing to your pup.
One option would be to give your dog a dog chew such as the Himalayan Pet Supply Mixed Dog Treats. These smell very attractive to your dog and taste just as good as they smell, making it hard for your dog to resist. They take hours of chewing to soften up, so your dog will be occupied for quite a while. They’re completely digestible, healthy for your dog, and even help remove plaque.
Another good choice is the Top Dog Chews 12-Inch Beef Trachea Dog Treats. These come in a larger quantity so you don’t have to get them as often. They’re 100% digestible and they’re healthy for your dog. They even help to clean your dog’s teeth while they chew. Plus, your dog will be getting glucosamine and chondroitin from chewing these, which can help keep their joints strong as they age.
6. Keep Them Out of Reach
It stands to reason that if your dog can’t get to your shoes, they can’t chew them. Try putting all of your shoes in a closet or some other place where your dog can’t reach them. This will also work with anything else you don’t want your dog to chew.
For many dogs, chewing is a phase that they’ll grow out of when they reach adulthood. Keeping your chewable items in closets, trunks, chests, and other places that are hard for dogs to reach can be a great way to make your dog forget about them completely until they grow out of their chewing stage.
7. Limit Your Dog’s Access
Of course, keeping your shoes and other chewable items locked away in closets and behind other closed doors isn’t the only way to keep them out of your dog’s reach. You could also limit your dog’s access to the house.
There are many different ways to do this. You could try just limiting your dog to one room, closing the door to keep them inside. If you have a bigger dog that needs more space, you can try limiting them to a single wing or floor of your home.
To do this, you may want to put a dog gate on one of your hallways or room openings. One of our favorites is the Regalo Easy Step Walk-Through Gate. It won’t stop you from entering and exiting the area, but your dog will be securely stuck behind the closed gate. This gate is designed so it won’t damage your walls and it can easily be opened with just one hand so you won’t be hindered when trying to walk through with an armload of laundry!
8. Exercise and Engagement
Many dogs are chewing out of boredom or an excess of energy. One of the best ways to do this is to engage them mentally and physically in some strenuous exercise.
The most exercise that many dogs get is a short walk once or twice a day. While this may be sufficient for some very small breeds, it’s not going to be enough for most mid-sized and larger breeds.
Try something more vigorous like a game of fetch. You can even make this more effective by standing on top of a hill that your dog will have to sprint up each time to return the ball to you.
Tug of war is another great game to play with your dog that will help to get rid of that excess energy that often manifests as chewing. Plus, you can teach your dog how to drop something on command while you play this one!
9. Provide Some Entertainment
Boredom is a major reason behind many dogs’ chewing behaviors. It’s a way of acting out when they have too much excess energy and nothing to keep them occupied. But this is easy to solve by simply providing some entertainment for your dog that will keep them occupied so they don’t even want to chew.
Toys are a great way to keep your dog entertained without having to give them all of your attention throughout the day. But some toys are much better at this than others. We’ve found that puzzle toys are some of the best for keeping your dog entertained and preventing boredom.
One of our favorites is the Frisco Hide and Seek Plush Chewy Box Puzzle Dog Toy. This plush chew toy comes with three smaller toys that you hide inside. Your dog then tries to dig the toys out through the tiny holes, providing hours of fun and entertainment.
Another awesome puzzle toy that will keep your dog engaged for hours is the Trixie Activity Poker Box. This is a series of small puzzles that allow you to hide tasty little treats inside. Your dog will work tirelessly trying to figure out how to open each chamber and get to the reward inside. Not only will this stop your dog from chewing your shoes, but it will also help to keep them mentally sharp as they get older.
10. Cure Their Separation Anxiety
A lot of dogs are chewing up your shoes once you leave because they’re anxious. There are several things you can do to attempt to mitigate this issue. For instance, you can try leaving some clothes with your dog that you’ve recently worn. Because these smell like you, they can help to calm your dog when you’re gone.
Another alternative is to give your dog an anxiety calming supplement such as the PetHonesty Hemp Calming Anxiety & Hyperactivity Soft Chews. These are easy and effective. You just feed one of these tasty treats to your dog about thirty minutes before you leave. Once the calming effect kicks in, your dog will be relaxed instead of anxious, which should end their desire to chew your shoes.
There are many reasons that your dog might be chewing up your shoes and just as many ways to fix it. Whether you need to provide your dog with some entertainment to cure their boredom or you need to simply hide the shoes until your puppy grows out of their chewing phase, there’s a trick on this list that’s sure to help solve your chewing problem.
Just take the time to first identify why your dog is chewing in the first place. Then, look through the list and find the method that’s most applicable with that reason for chewing and your lifestyle. If the first trick you try doesn’t work, then pick another and keep trying until your shoes are no longer getting new teeth marks!
Featured Image Credit: Lisa Hourin, Shutterstock