Why does my dog chew my shoes?

small dog big shoeIt soo very frustrating to come home and discover that your dog has destroyed your beautiful shoes. Soo why does she do this? It might not make sense to people but dogs have very good and sound reasons to why they chew up shoes.

Your shoes are  a weird combination of everything your dog loves: They are great to chew and they carry your smell. Therefore your shoes are just too tempting for your dog.

Of course they never do this to upset you, they simply can’t resist the temptation. So the easiest and quickest way to stop a dog from chewing your shoes is simply to put your shoes away from your dog’s reach. However this might not always be practical so let’s take a look at the question: Why does my dog chew my shoes and what can I do about it?

Puppies Teething

puppy chewing several shoesPuppies chew on almost anything they can get their teeth into. They do this to releive the pain and itchiness that comes from the growing adult teeth. Furthermore puppies has to learn what they may chew and what they may not. The best way to avoid problems later on is to start training your dog not chew shoes and other valuable items already when he/she is a puppy. A simple and effective way to do this is to redirect chewing. This is done simply by taking the “non chewable” item from the puppy, firmly say NO and then show the puppy what he is allowed to chew. Praise the puppy and reward him when he is chewing the “right thing” You can see a video on how to do this on this page:

How To Stop Unwanted Chewing

Anxious and bored dogs

often chew excessively as chewing burns off nervous  energy and gives a bored dog something to do. If your dog is home alone for many hours every day he might be chewing simply because he is bored.If your dog is bored you can try to provide him with some good chewable items such dog toys or even old rags or a piece of wood. Crating your dog is good for two reasons: 1. it will keep non chewable items out of his reach and 2. the dog will feel safe inside the crate and anxiety will decrease. If you can hire a dog walker this would also be a great help in reducing stress and boredom for your dog.

Your dog might also be suffering from separation anxiety and this can create a number of unwanted, destructive behaviors in a dog. If your dog is howling, barking and ripping just about everything apart then this is likely to be caused by separation anxiety. If this the case with your dog I propose you take a look at this post: Help dog separation anxiety- simple tricks to cure it! Separation anxiety is a serious problem which needs to be tackled differently than unwanted chewing.



Rhodesian ridgeback chewing army bootsDogs “see” the world primarily through their noses. Dogs sense of smell are extremely powerful (their smell is a thousand to ten thousand times as sensitive as a human being) Dogs discover the world and find their marks by using their smell. Your shoes smell of you and therefore it becomes very appealing to your dog, The smell of leather may smell like food to a dog and when you are out walking your shoes will pick up a number of scents along the way. so to your dog, your shoes is probably telling an interesting story of where you have been and what you done. No wonder that shoes are soo popular with dogs.

Chewing might be a great way to get attention

Chewing dogtoy
Praise a dog doing the right thing such as chewing a dogtoy

Dogs love to get attention and hates to get ignored. If you tell your dog off everytime he chews your shoes then he will learn that chewing shoes is a great way to to attention. Dogs learn quickly and if he figures out that chewing shoes gets him more attention than chewing a paper roll then he is likely to run off with one of your shoes.

The thing to do here is to simply take the shoe from him and walk away without speaking to him or looking at him. You must avoid giving him attention when he does something he may not do. When he does the right thing (such chewing a dog toy) give him plenty of attention and affection. This will teach him that doing the right thing will give him attention, and doing the “wrong thing” will make him ignored.

Learn more about how to stop unwanted chewing

If you would like to learn more  I suggest you visit my page: How to stop Unwanted Chewing This page is about how to stop unwanted chewing in general and it has an excellent video where professional dog trainer doggy dan shows exactly what to do in order to stop unwanted chewing.

If you have any other tips and tricks you would like to share, please leave them below.

Comments 9

  • Hi there
    A really informative post.Most of the time when dogs start to chew shoes, socks, and even the sofa, people lose temper with the animal without taking the time to try and understand why.
    From experience, dogs mostly chew shoes and socks because of the smell and if/when they`re bored.
    I know when I had to leave my puppy alone to work, he spent his day chewing what he could find.and like most unknowing dog owners, I was confused why, that`s till I found out he did not chew on weekends when I was home.
    Checking the patterns was enough for me to know he did it out of boredom so the next step was to train him how to play with his toys and not chew shoes and carpets.
    Very informative post on understanding our pets which I really find helpful, thanks for sharing.

    • Hi,

      you really seem to have found the right approach to solving this problem. Starting out by trying to figure out why your dog does a certain thing (in this case chewing shoes) and then giving him an alternative. Understanding a dog’s behavior really goes a long way to solving various dog related problems. In your case you figured out he was bored since the chewing only occured when you were away and then you taught him to chew his toys instead of your shoes. Well done and thank you for your input.


  • Hie Jojo
    This is such an interesting post. Thanks for the information. I also had problems with my dog chewing my shoes, especially my rubber slops. When she was a puppy I assumed it was because of the itchy teeth but three years in, she was still doing it. I do take her on walks so its probably the scent issue you talked about or the attention. I understand her now, won’t be mad next time 🙂
    Thanks again.

  • I can relate to this all too well. My dog suffers from separation anxiety and loves to go after shoes, especially shoelaces. Such a frustrating issue but it’s not done on purpose, she’s anxious or stressed when no one is home. We have the issue under control now using stuffable toys, crating, and lots of training. Thank goodness!

    • Well done, being patient and persistent pays off and I am happy to hear that the issue under control. There are soo many possible reasons as to why a dog is chewing shoes and/or other things. Separation anxiety is one of them and it can cause all kind of destructive behavior in a dog. If you have a problem with your dog you need to find the cause of it in order to find a good solution.

  • Hello! I enjoyed your article very much! As an experienced horse trainer myself who is sensitive to my animals’ needs I could never figure out how to successfully train dogs.

    This article offered a lot of good insight on why my dog might be chewing – which might be due to boredom or anxiety! I will definitely be looking to crating him with hopes that he will stop eating up everything in the house!

    Thanks again!

    • Thank you! The key to training dogs properly is to know how the function and how they think. Once you know this you can quite easily set up an effective training strategy. As an experienced horse trainer I am certain that you can do this for your dog as well.

      I wish you good luck


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *