Proven Strategies: How to Effectively Train Your Dog to Stop Chewing Shoes

Proven Strategies: How to Effectively Train Your Dog to Stop Chewing Shoes

Ever walked into a room to find your favorite pair of shoes in shreds? You’re not alone! Many dog owners share this frustration. Chewing is a natural behavior for dogs, but when your footwear becomes their favorite chew toy, it’s a problem that needs fixing.

Understanding why your dog is targeting your shoes is the first step to stopping this behavior. It could be boredom, anxiety, or even teething. Once you’ve pinpointed the cause, you can tailor a solution that’ll keep both your shoes and your furry friend happy.

Key Takeaways

  • Dogs may chew on shoes due to a variety of reasons such as teething, boredom, or anxiety. Understanding the root cause is the first step to addressing this behavior.
  • For teething puppies, providing appropriate chew toys can help as they find comfort in chewing on objects to soothe their gums.
  • Boredom can be a major factor in comestic dogs. Regular exercise, mental stimulation, and regular interaction can help in keeping dogs engaged and preventing destructive behaviors like shoe chewing.
  • Anxiety-induced chewing can be addressed by providing attention and creating a comforting environment for your dog. Shoes may offer comfort as they carry the owner’s scent.
  • Redirecting your dog’s chewing behavior to appropriate objects like chew toys can help significantly. The process requires patience and understanding and includes catching them in the act of shoe-chewing and then redirecting their attention towards the chew toy.
  • Providing appropriate chew toys is critical. Quality, size, and type of the toy should all be considered along with the dog’s preferences. A rotating system for toys can keep the dog’s interest.
  • Consistency in rules and positive reinforcement are critical in training your dog to stop shoe chewing behavior. Establish clear boundaries and reward your dog promptly when they make the right choice.

Proven strategies to prevent your dog from chewing on shoes can greatly alleviate the frustration many pet owners experience. Addressing this behavior involves understanding its causes and implementing effective training methods. The New York Times provides a practical guide on how to train your dog to stop chewing on shoes, which includes using deterrents and offering appropriate chew toys. For specific training tips and how to implement them effectively, The Spruce Pets offers a comprehensive article detailing strategies like redirection and positive reinforcement.

Reasons why dogs chew shoes

Reasons why dogs chew shoes

Before you can effectively address your pup’s mischievous shoe-chewing habits, you’ll first need to understand the root cause behind the behavior. Let’s delve into some common reasons why our furry friends are drawn to your footwear.


The primary reason puppies gnaw on everything in sight– including your favorite pair of sneakers– is teething. Just like human babies, dogs go through a teething phase as well. During this time, they find comfort in chewing on objects to soothe their gums and help their baby teeth fall out. This phase typically continues until a dog reaches six months of age.


Believe it or not, boredom can actually be a major factor in your dog’s shoe chewing antics. Dogs are naturally active creatures and require daily physical and mental stimulation. When that’s lacking, they may resort to destructive behaviors like shoe chewing to entertain themselves.

Shoe chewing is often a sign of unmet physical or mental needs.


Anxiety is another significant culprit behind this troublesome behavior. Some dogs may start chewing on shoes as a response to feeling anxious or stressed. It’s a form of self-soothing for them.

Although it doesn’t take a pet psychologist to figure out shoe-chewing triggers, determining your dog’s motivation can still be a bit tricky. Be sure to observe their behavior patterns closely and take note of any surrounding factors when the shoe-chewing event occurs. It will give you a better understanding of what’s causing the habit, equipping you with valuable insights for crafting a targeted intervention strategy.

Identifying the root cause

Identifying the root cause

To fend off your dog’s nasty chewing habit, we’ll first need to examine the root cause. And you’ve probably guessed it, the reasons usually boil down to three key triggers: teething, boredom, and anxiety.

Teething is a natural phase every puppy goes through just like human babies. It can be quite painful for them and as a result, they tend to chomp on anything – yes including your favorite pair of shoes.

While teething is unavoidable and only lasts until they mature, there’s still something that you can do. One good step is to make sure to have plenty safe and chewable toys around for them. This not only relieves their discomfort but also teaches them what is okay to chew on.

Meanwhile, it’s a different story for adult dogs. Chewing can be a sign of boredom or anxiety. If left alone for extended periods, dogs can get lonely and bored—and your shoes might just become the chew toy they never knew they needed. On the other hand, dogs suffering from separation anxiety may chew on your shoes as a coping mechanism. Why? Because they smell like you, and that offers them comfort.

However, do not fret! There are several ways to address these issues:

  • Regular exercise: Long walks or play sessions can help burn off their excess energy.
  • Mental stimulation: Puzzle toys can keep them occupied for hours.
  • Attention: Interact and play with them regularly to alleviate any feelings of loneliness or anxiety.

Understanding your dog’s needs and behavior is critical. It helps you create an environment that is both stimulating and addresses any emotional struggles they may have. Remember, while it can be frustrating when your furry friend goes after your shoes, reacting with anger won’t solve the problem. Instead, try to understand why they’re doing it, and respond with patience and proper measures.

Now that the possible root causes are identified, the next step is to look into more specific remedies and prevention methods which we’ll be diving into on the next part of this article.

Redirecting your dog’s chewing behavior

The act of Redirecting your dog’s chewing behavior requires consistent, intentional effort. In the midst of this process, it’s essential to display patience and understanding. Remember, dogs aren’t being destructive to spite you. They’re merely dealing with their feelings the only way they know how.

Firstly, you need to provide them with an alternative. This is typically a chew toy or a treat-dispensing toy to keep them mentally stimulated. Chew toys come in various forms like ropes, squeaky toys, and puzzles. It’s recommended to have a variety on hand to cater to your dog’s particular mood or preference at any given time.

Chew ToysPurpose
RopesEffective for teething puppies
Squeaky toysCan keep dogs distracted
PuzzlesProvide mental stimulation

To get your dog familiarized with their new chew toy, you could lather it with a spread which your dog loves. This could be anything from peanut butter to a specially flavored canine paste. This encourages your dog to give it a try and to associate good things with it. Always supervise your pup when introducing a new toy, as some dogs can be excessively vigorous and might ingest small parts.

Next, you need to catch your dog in the act of shoe-chewing. Instead of punishing them, redirect their attention towards the chew toy. Make it exciting, wave it around, make it squeak, or toss it gently and encourage your dog to retrieve it. This reinforces positive behavior and helps create a connection – chew toy means fun; shoes don’t.

Lastly, invest time in playing and exercising with your dog. Physical and mental exertion can act as effective deterrents for destructive chewing. Taking your dog for walks, engaging in play sessions, or teaching new tricks are all ways to keep your dog’s mind sharp and wear them out physically.

Indeed, preventing a dog from chewing shoes is a gradual process. It involves a lot of patience, consistency, and understanding. Be prepared for some mishaps along the way. What’s vital is that you remain persistent in teaching your dog the right behavior.

Providing appropriate chew toys

Taking the initiative to provide your dog with the right chew toys is a vital, non-negotiable step in diverting your dog’s attention from your favorite shoes. Quality chew toys can help satisfy your dog’s natural urge to chew while keeping them mentally stimulated and entertained. It’s a win-win!

When selecting chew toys for your dog, consider your dog’s size, breed, and personal preferences. Some dogs prefer novelty toys that squeak or make noise, while others find satisfaction in gnawing on flavor-infused bones. Get to know your dog’s preferences and stay attentive to what kind of chew toys hold their interest.

It’s important to note, however, not all chew toys are created equal. Quality should be a primary concern when buying chew toys for your dog. Look for sturdy and dog-safe materials that can withstand your pet’s chewing without fragmenting or breaking apart. It’s crucial to prevent any choking hazards, after all.

Set up a rotation system for your dog’s chew toys to maintain novelty and keep your dog interested. Stick to introducing one new toy at a time to keep it exciting and enticing. A toy that’s always been on the floor won’t attract your dog as much as something new and unseen. Consistency is key here; make sure the new toys introduced are the ones capturing your dog’s attention away from your shoes.

Beyond the act of just providing chew toys, remember to praise your dog when they show interest in the toys. Positive reinforcement is a powerful motivator for dogs, and you’ll want to use this to your advantage. Praise them vocally, or even give them a treat when they choose to chew on their toys instead of your shoes. By doing this, you’re reinforcing the behavior you want.

In short, providing appropriate chew toys isn’t just about throwing a dozen toys at your dog and hoping for the best. It’s about making a strategic and considered effort. By following these suggestions, you’ll be well on your way to curbing your dog’s troublesome shoe-chewing habit.

Consistency and positive reinforcement

Consistency and positive reinforcement

In this ongoing battle of saving your shoes from the gnawing jaws of your dog, you’ll quickly realize that being consistent and providing positive reinforcement can make a huge difference.

Let’s understand what these two crucial approaches mean. Consistency, in this context, refers to maintaining a stable, unchanging environment for your dog. It’s about not confusing them with mixed signals. For instance, if you playfully give them an old shoe to chew on one day and scold them for chewing the next, that ambiguity can be confusing. Therefore, it’s essential to be clear and consistent about what’s acceptable behavior and what’s not.

Positive reinforcement, on the other hand, is all about encouraging good behavior. It’s essential to let your dog know when they’re doing something right, not just when they’re doing something wrong. This can involve rewarding your dog with a treat when they choose their toy over your shoe.

Consider the following tips to enhance the effectiveness of these approaches:

  • Establish Rules: Make sure your dog understands the boundaries. Clearly communicate which items are theirs and which are off-limits.
  • Prompt Rewarding: Your reaction time matters. Once your dog makes the right choice, promptly reward them. The quicker, the better for them to make the connection.
  • Step-Up Treats: Not all treats are the same. Consider “upgrading” the reward when your dog has done exceptionally well.

Remember, these methods require patience. It’s a gradual process, and changes in behavior will not be immediate. But stick with these suggestions, persevere, and you’ll find your shoes remaining untouched more often. The strategies of consistency and positive reinforcement, while requiring time and effort, are indeed invaluable tools in the dog training realm.


You’ve now got the tools to stop your dog from chewing shoes. Remember, consistency and positive reinforcement are key. Keep your rules clear and reward your dog promptly when they make the right choice. Don’t be stingy with those high-value treats for top-notch behavior! It’s not an overnight fix, but with patience and perseverance, you’ll see a change. Your shoes will thank you and your dog will thrive with the clear guidelines and positive feedback. So, start implementing these strategies today and create a shoe-safe environment in your home. Your journey towards a chew-free lifestyle has just begun.

What is the importance of consistency in training dogs?

Consistency in training dogs is crucial. It involves providing a stable, unambiguous environment that allows dogs to understand what is expected of them.

What is the meaning of positive reinforcement?

Positive reinforcement refers to the act of rewarding a dog for displaying good behavior. This can involve giving treats when the dog makes a positive choice, thus encouraging the repetition of the behavior.

How can clear rules benefit dog training?

Clear rules essentially offer a guideline for your dog to follow. The clarity can help the dog determine which behaviors will result in desirable consequences and therefore should be repeated.

When should good behavior be rewarded?

Good behavior should be rewarded promptly. This immediate reward ensures the dog associates the positive reinforcement with the good behavior, strengthening its occurrence in the future.

What are “higher-value treats” in dog training?

Higher-value treats are treats that are especially desirable to dogs. They can be used as a powerful tool for reinforcing exceptional behavior as they encourage the dog to repeat that performance.

What is required of pet owners for these methods to work?

Patience and perseverance are required from the owners. Changes in behavior will take time and it’s crucial that the training methods are continually and consistently applied until the desired behavior is achieved.

What is the end goal of these training methods?

The ultimate goal of these methods is to train your dog to leave shoes untouched. Utilizing these strategies effectively will result in a well-behaved dog that respects boundaries.