How to Break a Dog's Shoe Chewing Habit

Dog chewing shoes

A shoe chewing habit can quickly sour the relationship between and owner and pet. Share one visitor's dilemma and desperate search for a solution.

How Do We Break a Shoe Chewing Habit?

My dog is an eight-month old, crate-trained and house-trained Shih Tzu/Yorkie mix. He is a wonderful dog that went through many of the typical puppy issues growing up, such as whining, nipping, etc. Just recently, he started stealing shoes off the shoe rack to chew.

We have been very good at disciplining and curbing past bad behaviors, but we are stumped on this one. No matter what we do, he won't stop. We have tried the recommended procedure of giving him his toy when he has a shoe, but that hasn't helped. We have waved the shoe at him and yelled no. Out of desperation, we have even smacked him on the bum with the flip-flop. Yes, we know that's not appropriate, but we're only human.

If we walk downstairs and he has a shoe, he hides under the table which means he knows he shouldn't be doing it. He will even pick one up right in front of us, as though he has no idea there's anything wrong with that!

We are completely beside ourselves and have no idea how to address this issue. For now we are removing his access to the shoes, although eventually we will want to keep them where we want them. What do you make of this behavior from an otherwise well-behaved dog? Any help would be appreciated.

~~ Michelle

Expert Reply

Hi Michelle,

I truly appreciate your frustration, but smacking won't help and you don't want to teach him to fear you. The biggest attraction the shoes hold for him is the fact that they carry the scents of the people he loves.

I think you've already done the right thing by moving the shoe rack so he can't get near it. You need to break the cycle for a while, and give him appropriate things to chew on. However, there's no guarantee that he won't pick the behavior back up if you move the shoes back to their old spot.

I think the best solution is to keep the temptation out of his reach on a permanent basis. It may seem odd right now, but you might get used to keeping the shoe rack in the new location. If you can't, then you might try purchasing a baby gate to keep him out of that room.

Thanks for your question~~ Kelly


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How to Break a Dog's Shoe Chewing Habit