How To Stop A Puppy From Biting And Why You Should

Don’t worry, you don’t have to live with your shoes always being in tatters. It’s important to understand that human language is very hard for dogs to understand and that it’s easy for the dog to get lost in translation.

Because we don’t want to teach the dog that all chewing is bad, nor that chewing shoes means it’s time to play "Catch Me If You Can," it’s important not to scold your dog for chewing on an inappropriate item.

As we have seen, there can be various reasons why dogs chew shoes. Tackling shoe-chewing behaviors in dogs may, therefore, require several strategies. In many cases, the following below strategy may be all that's needed.

First Off, Never Donate Shoes to Dogs!

OK, not everybody does this, but just in case, it's important to point this out. It is outdated to give puppies and dogs old slippers and shoes to gnaw on.

Perhaps you may have thought this is a great idea and a crafty way of providing young dogs with some entertainment. Perhaps you don't want to spend money on dog toys, so why not have Rover rip shoes to pieces rather than just tossing them in trash can? After all, it's so fun watching a dog have fun carrying the shoes around and ripping them to pieces.

This is a big mistake and can turn even costly in the long run. Your dog has no way to know the difference between those prehistoric smelly tennis shoes you have owned for a decade and those brand new expensive Gucci suede and leather sneakers you recently purchased from a boutique.

Shoes Have Their Own Places, You Know?

The best way to tackle shoe chewing in dogs is to simply keep shoes out of the way. No, out of the front door is not the most sensible option as they become vulnerable to becoming wet, heat-baked, or a temporary residence for pesky bugs. Closets and shoe racks were invented for a reason. With shoes out of the way, the problem is easily solved. Out of sight, out of mind.

Many busy dog owners though aren't happy with this easy peasy solution. They want their dogs to just not touch them. They want their shoes off limits. That's understandable. We lead busy lives and we forget things around. It's not easy to put shoes always away when we endure a tough day at work and all we dream of is taking our shoes off, relaxing and forgetting all about chores.

A Word About Deterrents

It's tempting to tackle destructive behaviors in dogs by making the prohibited items or the prohibited activity less appealing. Many dog owners use taste deterrents like Bitter Apple Spray, to accomplish that.

The goal is to make shoes taste bad so that dog learns to leave them alone. However, taste deterrents often fail in their goal and for a good reason: dogs have their bitter-detecting taste buds located at the rear part of their tongue. When dogs chew, the flavor may not register or the dog may care less. Actually, anecdotal evidence from reports of dog owners seems to suggest that some dogs even appear to enjoy the taste.

Another common method is to place the shoe on a low table and attach one shoelace to an empty soda can filled with coins. Once the pup grabs the shoe, he will drag the soda can on the ground too. While this booby-trap method may sound brilliant, this will only startle dogs. This is not an ideal approach especially in noise-sensitive dogs or dogs already anxious or stressed! It also fails to address what you want your dog to do rather than not do.

And leaving shoes around to booby-trap your dog just to scold him or physically correct him (scruff shakes, alpha rolls, etc.) only causes your dog to fear and mistrust you. It also risks affecting your dog's natural predisposition to approach, investigate and pick up objects, which can cause huge hurdles that day you may want to train your dog to pick up objects for you or perform cute tricks.

Provide Appropriate Chew Items

The best way to stop dogs from chewing shoes is to organically turn shoes into a boring object because in comparison there are far better things for the dog to chew on. To outrank shoes, these chew items need to share one important criterion: they must be either edible or contain something edible.

There are many toys and products designed for dogs to chew on that are healthy and beneficial. For example, there are treats that take longer to eat and help with tooth tartar buildup and bad breath.

Other notable toys are ones that can be stuffed with treats for your dog to take their time on, using their teeth and tongue, such as the Kong toy or Buster Cube. These are also rewarding to use because they add a mental challenge.

There are also special bones, antlers, hoofs, or even special Himalayan hard cheeses that will all take a long time to eat and encourage happy, healthy chewing.

If you have a puppy, make sure the chews are suitable for him. Not all chews are good for puppies under 6 months. Also, never to give your dog cooked chicken bones or other types of bones as they splinter and can cause a health emergency!

Catching Your Dog in the Act

What should you do if you catch your dog in the act, that is, chewing or about to chew your shoes? Keep your cool, and don't start madly chasing your dog around the house.

Instead, keep a ready assortment of legitimate chews handy, and whenever you see this happening, calmly walk up to your dog with an appropriate edible chewing item as those described above. Show your dog the item and swap it for the shoe. Do this very calmly and nonchalantly. If your dog is prone to resource guarding, play it safe and consult with a dog behavior professional, using humane behavior modification.

To put leaving a shoe alone and dropping it on cue, learn how to train your dog the leave it and drop it cue. These will come in handy in many life scenarios and have saved oodles of dogs from chewing on or even ingesting things that can do harm and even lead to scary outcomes and expensive surgeries.

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