Do you ever come into the room to find your dog has your shoes? If yes, you may be wondering why does my dog steal my shoes? This article will address some of the possible reasons why dogs like to steal shoes as well as how to redirect their behavior to a more appropriate item.
Reasons Why Dogs Steal Shoes
There are various reasons why your dog may be stealing your shoes, these reasons can include the following:
Your Dog Wants your Attention
One of the big reasons your dog will steal your shoes is that they are looking to gain your attention, especially if this behavior is out of the ordinary for them. Maybe you have been busier than normal, and they haven’t gotten as many play sessions as usual.
Dogs learn quickly, so they typically know that if they take something you care about (i.e. your shoes), they will get your attention pretty quickly. If they take your shoes once, and you react in any way (positive or negative), they will know that’s how they get your attention the next time.
Your Dog is Bored
Another big reason dogs steal shoes is out of boredom. Often times, when we get busy, our dogs don’t get the same level of exercise or play they are used to receiving. When this occurs, they get bored, and when a dog gets bored, they try and find ways to entertain themselves. This is where your shoes come in.
I find that the busier my schedule is, the more creative my dog gets with trying to come up with different things to keep herself busy.
Your Dog is Teething
If you have a puppy that is stealing your shoes it could be due to teething. Puppies lose their teeth between the age of 3 months and 6 months old. During this time, they will be more likely to looking for things to chew on to help their mouths feel better.
If your puppy is teething, look for puppy teething toys that your dog can chew on instead of chewing on your shoes or other household items.
Lack of Exercise
Not having enough exercise is another reason why you dog may become more interested in your shoes. All dogs require exercise, but some breeds need more exercise than others.
Look up your breed of dog to find the exercise requirement for your breed and make sure they get at least that much activity each day. Walks, playing fetch, going to the dog park, or playing with toys around the house are good forms of exercise to include in your daily routine.
Dogs have a strong sense of smell, and they like items that have their owners’ scent on them. Shoes is a clothing item that carries a lot of scent because we wear them for extended periods of time, and we also sweat in them. Accordingly, when our dogs want something to steal, they are most attracted to things like shoes or socks that have a higher concentration of our scent on them.
Another reason your dog could be stealing your shoes is because they want to play. A dog quickly learns that taking something that belongs to you will lead to a fun game of chase, so if they want to play, they will find an item that you care about to run around with.
Many times, shoes are left on the ground within reach of your pooch so that is something that is easy for them to grab to get you to play.
Lack of Toys to chew on
Another reason you dog could be chewing on your shoes is because they don’t have enough toys to chew on. If your dog is looking to chew and doesn’t have any toys to chew on, they will find something else to chew on.
This could be your shoes, your furniture, or any other item left lying around within their reach. Make sure you get chew toys appropriate for your sized dog and have those handy for when your dog is looking to chew.
How to prevent your dog from stealing your shoes?
A shoe stealing dog can get annoying, but the good thing is this behavior can be curbed. Here are some ways to prevent your dog from stealing your shoes:
Keep your shoes out of reach
One of the reasons dogs go for our shoes is because they are normally left in a location that is easily accessible to them. Try keeping your shoes in a closet or in a higher place that they can’t reach. They can’t steal or chew shoes that they can’t get to.
Tire your dog out
A tired dog is a well-behaved dog. Giving your dog plenty of exercise is a good way to ensure they don’t take your shoes out of boredom or to get your attention. When you dog is tired, they are more likely to be content while you are busy then looking for a way to keep themselves busy.
If you know you are going to be busy, try and tire your dog first with exercise or a play session, so they will be content when the busy time comes.
If you are going to have a super busy day and don’t have the time to tire out your dog yourself, consider letting someone else do it for you. Doggie daycare is a good way to keep your dog busy while you are busy and tire them out at the same time.
When your dog gets home, the last thing they will be thinking about is stealing your shoes, they will be so tired they will be taking a nice long nap.
Do’s and Don’ts after your dog steals your shoes
If you dog steals your shoes here are some does and don’ts for how to handle the situation:
If you dog is seeking your attention, any attention is good attention, even yelling. You are teaching your dog that they will get a reaction out of you from stealing your shoes, which is exactly what they are looking for, but yelling won’t prevent it from happening in the future.
Don’t punish them
Identify the reason your dog is stealing shoes. Many times, you will find that the reason they took your shoes is your fault and not your dog’s. Punishing them because you didn’t have time to walk them so they got bored isn’t their fault it’s yours.
Do redirect their behavior to an appropriate toy
If you find your dog has your shoes or any item you don’t want them to have, pull out a toy and try and get them to focus on the toy instead. You will find that once you pull out a toy, the shoe is dropped immediately.
Redirection is a great way to correct this behavior because you aren’t punishing them or yelling you are just showing them something more appropriate to play with.
Do move the shoes to a harder place for them to reach
This is self-explanatory, but if your dog got your shoes once, they will likely get them again. Move them to another spot that is harder for your dog to reach going forward.
Dogs can steal our shoes for a variety of reasons. Most of the time this is our fault, not theirs. Dogs will get bored or look for attention because we got busy and couldn’t give them enough exercise to tire them out. Try keeping your shoes in a place that more difficult to reach, tire them out before you get busy, and provide more chew appropriate toys for them to steal instead. I think you’ll find doing these things will stop your four-legged shoe stealer in their tracks!
Does your dog steal your shoes? Let me know in the comments!