How to Train Your Dog to Wear Shoes
It never fails... You find the cutest pair of shoes for your dog, win the battle of getting them on all four paws, and within seconds, your pup has yanked them off.
Shoes are the safest way for your dog to walk outside without getting hurt or sick, but is it worth the fight to keep them on? The answer, of course, is yes. Though it doesn’t have to be a struggle every time you want your dog to wear their shoes.
The problem is that it’s a new and unusual thing for your pup. It’s going to take some time and training to get them used to wearing these funny things on their feet. With these tips to guide you, you can train your dogs to not only wear their shoes but enjoy having them on, too!
Why Can’t Dogs Walk in Shoes, Anyway?
It’s not a natural behavior for canines to know how to walk with shoes on. But if you think about it, it didn’t come easy for you, either. As a toddler learning how to put one foot in front of the other, the addition of shoes on your feet took some adjusting to get the hang of it.
There’s a legitimate reason why your dog resists wearing shoes at first. These foot accessories prevent Fido from being able to use his paw pads to feel his way along the ground. The pads grip the ground and keep him from sliding, and they’re what makes him feel safe.
Why do dogs walk funny in shoes? Well, without being able to feel the ground directly, your dog probably walks stiffly and uncomfortably. The wrong kind of shoes can even make the dog slide on any kind of slippery surface, scaring them even more.
Since their paws weigh more with shoes on, it takes practice for dogs to get used to wearing them. In the meantime, they’ll be lifting their feet higher, causing them to lose balance.
As they attempt to shake off these weird things on their feet, their adrenaline increases. The anxiety and stress can actually cause them to injure themselves as they try to get rid of the shoes.
Try to look for dog shoes that are not too thick so they can feel the ground when they walk.
Training dogs wearing boots for the first time takes preparation on your part, so they know what to do on theirs.
How to Keep Dog Boots On
Before you can teach your dog how to walk in their new shoes, first you need to train them to simply keep them on their paws.
Easier said than done, right?
Not if you know the tricks.
Dog shoes are an important step to help keep them safe from hot and cold surfaces, avoid bites, stings, and sharp objects, and stay clean. If you don’t measure your pup’s paws before you order their boots, they’re going to fit awkwardly.
Using a soft tape measure, get the measurements of your dog’s paw across the widest part. Then, measure the length of the paw, depending on the way the type of shoe you’re looking for fits. If you’re going to buy leggings, you will need to also measure your pup’s height.
The next tip is to make sure you invest in dog shoes that are made by reputable manufacturers. Cheap is nice, but if you don’t want to end up with poor fits or shabby material, stick with companies that have good reviews.
Booties are easy for dogs to slide off, no matter how great of a fit they are. Have you heard about Doggie Leggings?
Walkee Paws are a new invention with boots attached to 4-way stretch leggings that connect over your dog's back so you will never lose a dog boot again. The boots are super comfy and flexible as they are made from a stretchy natural rubber and designed so your dog can feel the ground when walking.
Training Your Dog to Wear Shoes
Dogs love to walk with their humans, especially outside. Just as you wouldn’t go for a walk without shoes, your dog should have something protecting its paws from the ground, too. Even if the ground isn’t extremely hot or cold, there are lots of dangers out there, including bacteria and fungi.
The right shoes will protect Fido’s feet from bug bites, insect stings, and sharp debris. In cold climates, snow boots are a good form of protection against freezing temperatures that cause chapped and cracked paws. Hot climates require a layer between the sensitive paw pads and the burning pavement, too.
But wearing shoes and boots doesn’t come naturally to any dog. They’ll need the right size fit, and then training to wear them.
To train your dog to wear boots, you’ll need to start by deciding on a command. These should be the words you use every time you want Fido to wear his shoes, such as, “Let’s put your shoes on!”
Once you settle on a command, use it every time you want Fido to let you put his boots on. Eventually, the goal will be for him to come to you and calmly wait while you slide the shoes on his feet.
As you put the shoes on, make it fun, not stressful. Treats are helpful to teach your dog to wear the boots. Start by letting Fido get used to wearing them in the house before you take him outside. Give him a treat when he lets you put the boot on and he leaves it on.
You know that dogs love to sniff everything, especially new things. Since you want your pup to recognize their shoes and not fear them, give them as much time as they need to smell their footwear. While they’re sniffing, talk kindly and encouragingly about the new shoes. You can even tell your dog why these new items will be so helpful!
When you’re ready to slide the shoes on, use your decided-on command words. At first, your pup won’t know what they mean, but eventually, they’ll recognize the command. Pull out one shoe and ask for Fido’s paw. When he gives it to you, give him a treat. Then, put the boot on, fasten it, and let Fido do his thing.
Chances are, he’s going to run around trying to get the shoe off. But remember the answer to, “Why can’t dogs walk in boots,” and don’t laugh too hard. He’s having a freak-out moment, and he’s scared. You know he’s safe, but he doesn’t.
Calm him down with another treat, then repeat the steps with his other paw. Slowly, he’ll realize he’s safe, and he’ll stop trying to fling his shoes off.
Give him plenty of time to practice wearing the shoes inside the house. This is where it’s a good idea to have similar indoor and outdoor footwear. Inside shoes have grips on the bottom that keep your pup from sliding around on slippery surfaces.
Take your dog to different surfaces and let them get used to wearing shoes before you head outside.
Walkee Paws leggings have thin rubber stretchy boots attached that provide more security for Fido as he can feel the ground as he walks. It may still take a few minutes to get used the the sensation of the leggings, but it will be a lot easier to adjust to than thick-soled shoes
With these steps, by the time you’re ready to walk around the neighborhood, your dog will be willingly wearing their shoes. And you’ll get to show off your pup’s cute new footwear accessories!