Teach Your Dog to Wear Boots and Shoes
Winter can be as much fun for your dog as it is for you, and continuing exercise even when the weather is unpleasant is important. But it’s also essential to make sure you protect your friend from the elements. Snow and ice can be hard (as well as cold!) on your dog’s paws, and salt and other chemicals used on sidewalks can irritate pads and can be poisonous when your dog licks her feet. And of course, snow and mud on the carpets isn’t great for anyone. The ultimate answer to these problems is dog boots. But most dogs don’t naturally take to boots. So how do you bring them around?
As with any dog training, the most important thing is patience. You won’t train your dog to wear boots in a day or two (though pushing too hard can turn her off to boots for good). So take it slow, focus on rewards and make sure it’s a safe experience. Also, remember that all dogs are different. If boots are easy for your dog, go faster. If not, take it more slowly.
- Make sure you have well-fitting boots. Too small will be uncomfortable or painful for your dog and too large can cause her to trip or slide.
- Start with just one paw. Have your dog on a non-slip surface where she feels safe and put one boot, unlaced, for a short period. Take the boot off and reward her. Don’t let her walk around with the unfastened boots on, they will be uncomfortable (think about wearing untied shoes) and won’t provide good traction and a slip could scare her.
- Repeat this step later or the next day (don’t rush!) with a different paw until you’ve tried a boot on each paw. Repeat as often as necessary to make this step easy.
- Once she’s comfortable with one paw, try two paws, being sure to reward her. Repeat until she is comfortable with this. Once you get to two paws, gradually moving to three and then four should be quick. Again, be sure not to let her walk around at this point.
- When she’s comfortable with all four boots, try one boot but this time fasten it. Take it off promptly and reward. Your dog will be used to the boots and you handling her feet but fastening the boot will be a different experience for her so take it slowly.
- Work your way up to two, three and then all four boots fastened. With all four boots fastened, give your dog the ultimate reward – an immediate (but short) walk in the boots. Not only is it a great reward but it’s also a great distraction (who can think about boots with so much to smell!).
- Once your dog is comfortable with all four boots fastened, practice increasing the time they are on, always rewarding her with a nice walk.
- Remove the boots promptly after you are finished with them. Don’t tempt your dog to get into the habit of trying to take them off.
With a little patience, almost all dogs can be trained to wear boots, and your winters will be more active, fun and safe. Check out a full selection of dog boots and dog shoes from hundreds of online stores at LuckyPetStore.