My dog ate my jimmy choo shoes, how to stop destructive canine chewing

Dog’s chew; this is what they do. Just like a baby or a child, it’s their way of exploring the world. Chewing is actually a good thing when it’s on a rawhide bone, a carrot or another appropriate toy. It can aid tremendously in reduction of tarter build-up plus disperse excess energy. But when it’s the “Jimmy Choo” designer shoes, your favorite slippers or the coffee table, something must be done.

Begin by putting away the shoes, slippers and other loose items you don’t want your dog chewing on. It’s the human’s responsibility to create a safe environment and train their cuddly canine. If you left out those “Jimmy Choo” shoes or your cell phone and never fully trained your dog in regards to chewing, who is really to blame for those teeth marks on the heels and toes and slobber on your keypad?

Also, don’t give your dog an old shoe to chew on. Your dog cannot distinguish between the old shoe and the new ones (they both smell like you and 1 shoe is as good as another). Make your dog’s toys obviously different from your shoes, socks and cell phones.

Get them a toy box. It doesn’t have to be fancy. A plain box works just fine. Your dog just needs to be able to get their head inside the box to the bottom and pull out a toy. This helps your dog learn where the “good” toys are and assists, along with the training, in keeping them out of your closet.

Next, you need to determine the core reason why your dog is chewing by asking yourself the following questions:

1. Is my dog a teething puppy or energetic adolescent (up to 3 or 4 years)? 2. Is my dog lonely or bored? 3. Do I spend enough quality time with my dog every day? 4. Is my dog seeking attention through destructive behavior (negative attention is better than not enough). 5. Have I trained my dog to only chew on what’s appropriate? 6. Is my dog afraid of something he/she is hearing, smelling or seeing? 7. Does my dog have separation anxiety?

Most importantly, you must catch your dog in the act of chewing on something that’s inappropriate. When you see them chewing on your shoes or the garden hose, first get an appropriate chew toy and then interrupt your dog’s chewing by clapping your hands once or saying something like “hey”.

The sound will distract your dog (puppy or adult) and they’ll look up. Once they look up, immediately say “good boy/good girl” (you’re praising them for listening to you), take the shoe or hose out of their mouth gently and replace it with an appropriate toy. Then say “good boy/good girl” again (this is to let them know chewing on this toy is very good). Usually they’ll wag their tail and continue chewing. Congratulations! You just took your first step at training your dog.

Keep in mind it typically takes more than 1 time before your dog is trained to chew only on their toys and not your shoes. Some dogs learn in 3 or 5 sessions, while others it takes 10. Be patient. Be consistent. Your dog will learn.

Be sure you spend plenty of quality time with your dog every day. This can help; along with chew training, ward off boredom, loneliness or “I need attention” destructive chewing. A 20-30 minute walk in the morning or evening does wonders for you both. You can also spend 10-15 minutes a day playing with your dog by tossing a ball, Frisbee or a stick.

If you think your dog is seeing, hearing or smelling something that frightens them do your best to investigate what’s going on and either remove the perceived threat, move where you dog stays while you’re gone, take them to a doggie day care or use desensitization techniques for anxiety. This may take some time and effort, but your precious pooch is worth it.

If you think your dog may have separation anxiety, do some research. Search for the article “5 Signs of Canine Separation Anxiety and What to do.” It’s a place to begin.

NOTE: Please do not punish your dog after the fact. If you come home and your dog has chewed up your glasses, the book you’re reading or your favorite lawn chair, it’s too late to re-direct them. Your precious dog will not make the connection and will cower only because their human is upset. You must catch them “red handed” in order to re-direct them successfully.

Also, please do not ever hit your dog. They don’t understand this action and will become fearful of you. This will not stop them from repeating whatever it was they’ve done. Your dog needs to be trained on how to behave and it’s your responsibility as their human friend to show them the way.

As always, if you have questions or concerns regarding how to care for your dog, please consult with your Veterinarian or veterinary technician.