Dogs that chew shoes can definitely be a big source of frustration, but it is an annoyance that is shared by many who take on the job of raising a dog. Don’t let the situation get you down. There are a few things you can try before pulling out your own hair.
Let’s start by looking at why dogs chew. Keep in mind that it is their natural instinct. Dogs use their mouths to explore their surroundings, so it is best not to put anything of value in an area where they can access it.
Teething is a big cause of chewing among puppies. They chew to soothe the pain in their gums. Boredom is another reason.
Some dogs don’t like to be left alone. Take a moment to think about it. They have been uprooted from a litter and befriended by you. You leave the house; the dog panics for fear of losing you too.
In order to solve a shoe-chewing problem, you need to figure out why the dog is chewing. Is it boredom? Did he or she do it while you were out of the house? Is it because the smell and taste of leather is too hard to resist?
The best thing you can do is to put shoes somewhere that the dog cannot access. Don’t provide the temptation by letting shoes lie around.
In the case of teething, it can be helpful to provide items that the puppy can chew when trying to relieve the discomfort of teeth trying to poke through sensitive gums. Provide plenty of toys. Rawhide chews can help, but be sure to supervise the puppy so that he or she does not swallow large pieces that can block the intestines. Try refrigerating or freezing puppy toys because the cold helps to numb the pain. There are specialized toys available in pet stores that are designed to help eliminate teething pain.
If boredom is the problem, try providing more exercise time. Make sure the dog has plenty of toys. Kong products, which are available in pet stores, that can be filled with peanut butter can provide hours of entertainment.
If your dog gets upset because you’re leaving, try to make your departure uneventful. Don’t make a big fuss over the dog before walking out the door. Make sure the dog has had plenty of exercise before you leave. A tired dog is much more likely to pass the time sleeping rather than chewing your favorite sneakers.
There are also a host of commercial products that can be sprayed on shoes to discourage chewing. Check with your veterinarian or local pet store for suggestions.