How to Keep Dog Shoes On

Sawyer needs shoes to go with his bandana
Sawyer needs shoes to go with his bandana (Image: Photo by Ryn Gargulinski)

Dog shoes may look silly at first, but you'll find they serve a vital service in protecting your dog's paws. Even if you end up liking how they look, however, your dog may not appreciate the shoes and try to pull or chew at them. Dog shoes can also slip off while your dog is romping about, unless you follow some steps to ensure that they are secure.

Things You'll Need

  • Dog shoes
  • Treats

Get the right size. Dog shoes usually come in at least three sizes, ranging from small to large, and sometimes even extra small or extra large sizes. Sizes are based on the paw's width or the dog's weight and a chart is often available on the shoe box or in the product description. Measure your dog's paw by having him step firmly on the floor and gauging the width from each side of his outer toes. Don't be fooled by furry paws. Measure from the toe edges, not the side of the fur. Your dog's weight should have been noted on your last trip to the vet.

Make the shoes attractive and roomy as you put them on your dog. Make shoes roomy by inserting your fingers into each shoe and spreading it out as far as it can go. Make them attractive by introducing them to your dog in an excited voice, giving him treats when he sniffs the shoes and using an upbeat tone of voice so he knows dog shoes are a very good thing.

Strap them as tight as possible. Insert your dog's paw into each shoe, adjusting the straps as tight as they can possibly go. Strap them so they almost look too tight for the dog. This will not hurt the dog but will insure the shoes will stay in place.

Nip bad behavior in the bud. Test the shoes on your dog a few times before wearing them outside. Have him wear the shoes for brief periods and follow you around the house. Watch his every move. If he starts chewing at them, sternly tell him "No."

Use positive reinforcement. When he completes a test session successfully, with no chewing or clawing at the shoes, reward him with a treat.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure to pick the right shoes for the right terrain. Some dog shoes are specifically constructed for flat surface, while others for rocks and uneven terrain. Using the proper shoe will help ensure they stay in place.

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