Ask an Expert - Foot-wear fetish
Q: It seems my dog, Birdie, has a footwear fetish. How can I prevent chewed shoes? Obviously putting them away would be a good start but this just doesn’t always happen.—Soleless in Sonoma
A:You’re right that putting away your shoes is a sure fire way of ensuring Birdie doesn’t destroy them. Remember,too, it’s not fair to get angry with her for chewing your shoes if you leave them lying around. She’s a dog. Dogs chew—especially if you leave a buffet of really delectable soles where they can reach them. Your shoes smell like you, so they can be very appealing to your dog.
To help redirect Birdie’s teeth, give her something else to chomp on. Try stuffing some hollow rubber chew toys. Smear a thick layer of peanut butter in the bottom of the opening. Then layer in some of Birdie’s kibble, along with some really tempting treats.Add another smear of peanut butter to glue it all together and stick a dog cookie out of the end. Give this to Birdie when you can’t supervise her. It’s like a doggie pacifier.If she gets really good at vacuuming the goodies out of the toy, try freezing it first.
You can also exercise Birdie’s brain as well as her jaws with a variety of puzzle toys. You hide food in the toys and Birdie works to get the food out. You can put Birdie’s breakfast and dinner kibble in the toys and make her work for her meals, which is great exercise. If she’s chasing toys around the house, she’s not munching on your stilettos.
Find other safe temptations for Birdie to chew, such as bully sticks or deer antlers. Be sure to rotate all items so she doesn’t get bored.
In the meantime, make yourself a note to put away your shoes and leave it where you can easily see it every day. Otherwise,you’ll be spending a lot of time and money on new footwear!