We love a good pair of dog shoes, boots or booties to keep your dogs' paws safe from weather, mess, sharps or chemicals. However, we have all seen the videos of dogs doing funny walks in their new shoes. So how do you get your dog to wear shoes, without making them cranky? Here are a few tips and a great video to help you and your dog move in the right shoe direction.
1. Make sure they fit well
Just like hooman shoes, you need to make sure that your dogs' shoes are not too tight or leave too much space at the end and the shoe is uncomfortable. Different breeds of dogs have differently shaped paws, so check out a few different kinds and try to match them up to the shape of your dog's foot. It's a good idea to start with softer pairs, made from fabric or silicone and then work your way up to the firmer, sneaker-like shoes.
To get the right size, put a piece of paper on a hard surface, and put one of your pooches paws on the paper. It's a good idea to lift up the other front foot so that the weight is on the foot you are measuring. Draw the outline of the paw and then measure the height and width to get your dog's paw dimensions. Check the size chart to see which one is the best size for your dog. Always round up to the bigger size.
2. Putting Them On
The easiest way to get your dog into their new shoes is to get your dog standing up and then straddle your dog to keep them from moving around too much. You can also try with your dog lying down, if they prefer that or if they are a small dog. Undo the fasteners on the shoe and make sure they are loose. Press any dewclaws inwards to make sure the shoe is comfortable on the foot.
Put on one shoe at a time and strap it up. Make sure the dog's paw is flat in the shoe and the straps are snug on the leg. If the shoe is too loose it will come off or be uncomfortable. Make sure your dog gets a treat reward for getting their shoe on.
Once all the shoes are on, let your dog get used to them in small doses. At first, they will be a bit awkward, but after awhile your dog will get used to them. Once your dog is comfortable in the shoes around the house, then you are ready to try your first walk.
3. If your dog hates shoes
Some dogs are just not cut out to be shoe wearing canines. They may jump around, pull at the shoe or refuse to walk. If your dog is very negative towards the shoes, take a step back and start again more slowly after a day or two when they have calmed down. You can try just the front two paws to get them used to the shoes. And always try lots of treats and positive reinforcement.
Keep a close eye on the shoes and your dogs' paws. If you see any redness, irritation, blistering or your dog seems like he has sore paws, take the shoes off immediately and consult your vet.