Dogs have a stereotypical love of human shoes. The stinkier the better. The reason dogs love shoes is heart warming. It goes beyond a love to chomp down on leather. Why Do Dogs Chew Shoes?
Why Do Dogs Chew Shoes
Your dog has two huge reasons for chewing shoes. The first is a reason that will pull at your heart string. Your shoes smell like you. Dogs are known as good sniffers. Your feet smell like you. So it makes sense.
Our feet can produce a lot of sweat. A hot foot in a leather shoe can perspire up to a half pint of sweat in a day. This sweat is full of our scent and pheromones. Our scent is calming to a dog. Our shoes are the next best thing to us.
Why do dogs chew shoes? They chew shoes of the people the like most. I tasty shoe will not do. It has to be the tasty shoe of a person your dog loves. Dogs mark what they love and own with their scent. Dogs assume humans do the same thing.
If your underwear contains your sweat, your dog will love them. Wait, they do! But your dog can’t get to your underwear. They can get to your shoes. Everything else you wear is washed and prepped before you wear it again. Your shoes do not get washed.
The smell builds and builds over time. Your puppy things your shoes are your favorite thing in the world. You wear them everyday, you let the smell build and when your dogs snatches them you chase. That makes your shoes seem important.
When a Dog Hates the Shoe Owner
Another compelling piece of evidence is what dogs do when they get their paws on a pair of shoes belonging to a person they dislike. Dogs are happy and blissful when they are playing with shoes of someone they love. Of mean and grumpy neighbor who yells at your dog? Your dogs will destroy the shoes.
Not just destroy. Tear the shoes to pieces. Your dog wants to get rid of the grumpy neighbor but you will not let him or her. But your dog can destroy the grumpy neighbors shoes. The shoe owner gets angry, and your dog feels accomplished.
Good Ol’ Leather Shoes
When a dog likes you, the shoes get a different treatment. Why do dogs chew shoes? If the shoes are of someone they love, shoes are blissful. My puppy would grab my husbands shoes and run around the house until she found a proper place to hide.
She would then bury her nose into his shoe and lay with his shoe. Wagging her tail and acting happy until someone would play with her or feed her. Many times my husband would get home and then the shoe became worthless. He was important.
These were his garden tennis shoes. Made to wear when playing with grass clippings. Not his work boots or dress shoes. Eventually my husband started storing his leather work casual shoes on our shoe rack. Our dog would snatch them up and do her little dance of finding a place to sit.
When teething kicked in, she would gently nibble on the shoe. After a few weeks the leather would soften up and be even tastier. The more you chew good leather, the softer it is. The more slobber on leather, the stinkier it gets. We had a bad habit to break.
A Range of Fun Activities for Dogs who Chew Shoes
Shoes have tails. Or our shoe laces. They have a tongue, which is a chew-able flap ready to play with. But the rest of the details are what makes shoes fun.
Leather laces get soft over time, while cotton laces have plastic tips and are fun to destroy. Your shameful croc’s in the back of the closet are foam like and fun to destroy. Just like your high sole butt shaping shoes. The sole is all foam and made to play with.
Shoes are the perfect toy for a dog because your dog can get a new experience with any pair of shoes. Different textures to play with. Different materials to taste. Some shoes can be dragged around the house. Other can be chewed to pieces. But shoes are super versatile toys.
How to Stop a Dog from Chewing Shoes
The first step is to teach your dog that shoes are not toys. Dogs know shoes are important and will naturally not chew them. The problem isn’t that dogs do not understand, it is that we show the wrong signs when our dogs get shoes.
Yelling and chasing makes the event into a game. Ignoring and then taking the shoe will stop the notion that you are playing. Dogs gravitate to shoes from a young age because they are at a dogs level, so putting shoes high up during the puppy years will steer a dog in the right direction.
If all that fails, you can use anti-chew spray on your canvas shoes or condition your shoes in a dog repellent oil. This seems excessive to me, but I love good high quality shoes.
This leaves the compromise option. Shoe inserts. If you use shoe inserts like the Dr. Scholles shoe insert and put them into shoes you wear when sweating, your dog will want the insert and not your shoe if your dog is scent chewing.
If teething on leather, the compromise will just not work. Why do dogs chew shoes? Shoes smell like loved ones or enemies. Shoes are multipurpose play toys. A toy that can start games of chase. No other toy will get your attention as quickly as shoes will. Your dog has a favorite toy. Its’ owners shoes.