If that cute puppy you've adopted has grown into a professional shoe thief, the damage can be costly. You might have tried chasing and yelling after your pet companion to get your shoes back, only to find that they've gone missing again. Incorrectly disciplining your dog can frighten him and even worsen the behavior, because he might enjoy the attention and think it's a game you're playing. To avoid this, stop your furry thief in his tracks and provide plenty of entertainment so stealing your shoes is the last thing on his mind.
Lock your shoes in a closet so your dog can't get to them. Avoid leaving them lying around in open view, because this is just asking your dog to run off with them—he won't be able to fight the temptation. Alternatively, close the door to the room with your shoes in it.
Schedule daily exercise sessions for your pet companion. Exercise is fun and helps your dog burn energy that he might otherwise spend on stealing your shoes. Take him outside twice a day to run and play for at least 20 minutes. Play a game of fetch or tug-of war with him or take him jogging.
Provide your dog with mental stimulation during times when he usually starts looking for your shoes. Mental stimulation can help prevent boredom and keeps him busy. Practice obedience training for about 10 minutes per day and give praise and treats for good behavior—your dog will enjoy the attention he's getting from you. Give him chew toys to play with and challenge him with food-stuffed dog toys.
Watch your dog like a hawk and clap your hands and say, "Leave it," when you catch him in the act. The noise will startle him and when you have his attention, show him a chew toy or a food-stuffed dog toy. When he shows interest in the toy, praise him lavishly. Consistently repeat this and over time, your dog will favor the toy and getting attention over your shoes.
Booby-trap your shoes to teach your dog that they are off-limits to him. Put small rocks or coins in empty soda cans. Stack the cans near the edge of a table so they resemble a pyramid. Tie a piece of sting to one of the cans at the bottom of the pyramid and tie the other end of the string to your shoe. Place your shoe on the floor and wait for your dog to come looking for it. When your pet companion grabs the shoe, the cans will fall off the table and startle him, teaching him that crime doesn't pay.
Spray a commercial dog repellent on your shoes. When your dog grabs the shoes in his mouth, he'll dislike the taste and most likely stop stealing them. Before applying the repellent, read the label to make sure that it's safe to use on the material that your shoes are made of.
Items You Will Need
- Dog treats
- Chew toys
- Food-stuffed dog toys
- Rocks or coins
- Soda cans
- Dog repellent
- Dog Lovers Companion; Paul McGreevy
- The Dog Bible; Tracie Hotchner
- The Dog Trainer's Complete Guide to a Happy, Well-Behaved Pet; Jolanta Benal
- The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals: Questions about Dogs
- Dog Training; Bobby Pitt
- Martin Poole/Digital Vision/Getty Images