Dog Forum banner
1 - 1 of 1 Posts

· Registered
Joined
·
316 Posts
The root of the problem = shoes are yummy ;)

Adolescent dogs love to chew. They especially like novel objects, like things they don't get to chew very often, or things that are fun to take apart. This can seem an awful lot like "loves to chew everything that's off-limits!"

It doesn't really matter whether you want to train the issue away or simply save $$$ on new shoes, the first step is the same: put the shoes away. All training starts by controlling access to reinforcement. Clearly, shoe-chewing is a self-reinforcing activity, meaning that the more he gets to do it, the more he's going to do it in the future, plus it sounds like an expensive habit to indulge. If a closet isn't secure enough, a latching plastic bin or high shelf can also work...I have been known to hang shoes on a coat hook, when handy.

I like to rotate toys. Every day, my dog gets 3-5 "new" toys from the toy bin, and the "old" toys go back in (or get washed, as needed). When my dog was a little younger, I included cardboard boxes (like empty cheerios boxes, etc.) stuffed full of wadded-up newspaper as "new toys," so she could satisfy her urge for destruction without actually costing me money. If you like spending money on toys, you could certainly look for some that mimic some of a shoe's qualities. There's the kind where the dog pulls stuffies out of a toy (like this: Amazon.com : Outward Hound 31001 Hide A Squirrel Plush Dog Toy Squeak Toy 4 Piece, Junior, Brown : Pet Squeak Toys : Pet Supplies), which might be kind of like pulling laces out of a shoe. Or your local pet store might have other interesting options.

By rotating toys, I keep the novelty factor high...after a few days, my dog thinks an old toy is "new" and exciting again, or maybe just gets excited about rediscovering an old friend ("OH! Decapitated rabbit stuffy, how I've missed you!!"). Novelty can be important for dogs, so varying your routines and going to new places, taking a different route on a daily walk, and so on can do more than you think.

If you want to train an automatic leave-it for shoes, that could be a good way to provide some mental stimulation for both of you, and maybe let you hope that you can someday go back to leaving shoes around the house without fearing their loss. I like the "It's Yer Choice" game (https://paws4udogs.wordpress.com/2011/10/24/its-your-choice-teaching-self-control/). Start by training it with food, then work up to using a running shoe as your "distraction" (but still food as your reward), and build it slowly-but-steadily to see where you get.
 
1 - 1 of 1 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top