The first time your dog wears boots, he or she is likely to do a funny walk or dance (get your cameras ready!). You can see these videos of dogs doing high kicks circulating all over the internet, and they can give dog shoes a bad reputation because people assume dogs don’t like wearing boots. However, just as dogs may have a negative reaction to wearing a coat or harness for the first time, all dogs can adjust with repeated wear. The same holds true for dog shoes. With a little time and patience, your dog will acclimate to the new sensation of wearing boots.
- KEEP NAILS TRIM
Too long of nails may prevent a secure fit and cause discomfort for your dog. Make sure your dog’s nails are trim prior to wearing dog boots.
- START SLOWLY
Introduce your dog to the boots gradually. Do not force your dog to wear all four shoes right away. Instead, let he or she sniff the boots and get familiar with them. Praise your dog for interacting with the boots with positive reinforcement and treats.
- TRY SHOES ON THE FRONT PAWS ONLY
Once your dog is familiar with the boots, it’s time to try them on. Start by putting two boots on the front paws only. Distract your pup with treats, and get he or she to walk towards you in your home. It is normal for your dog to walk funny in the beginning. Don’t worry, this reaction will lessen in time. After 5-10 minutes, stop for today and try again tomorrow. Your pup will acclimate best to wearing boots if you stretch training out over the course of a few days.
- ADD SHOES TO THE BACK PAWS
As your dog becomes more comfortable with the boots, it’s time to add the back shoes. Just like before, you want to distract your dog with treats and give lots of praise. Have your dog practice walking in them for 5-10 minutes / day over the course of a few days before going on your first walk.
GO FOR A WALK
Now that your dog is used to the sensation of having shoes on their paws, it’s time to go for your first walk. Begin with short walks outside, gradually increasing the time spent in the boots. Not only will this help break-in the boots, but your pup will get more accustomed to wearing them. The more your dog wears his or her shoes, the more flexible and comfortable they will become. Keep some treats on hand and praise your dog often to encourage them to keep wearing the boots. You can also make the walks more exciting by exploring new areas, introducing a new toy, or trying new activities.
- CHECK THE FIT
Each time you use dog shoes during the break-in period, check your dog’s paws for any rubbing or hot spots. It is also important to make sure that your dog’s paw is in the boot all the way, and that the straps are secure.
- ADD SOCKS
Just as our shoes are more comfortable with socks, the same holds true for dog shoes. Socks are great to help prevent any possible rubbing or hot spots, especially for dogs with prominent dew claws. Some dog owners find that socks also improve the fit of their dog’s boots.
PATIENCE IS KEY
Some dogs take to wearing dog boots almost immediately, while others need to be trained over several days. Your investment into training your dog to wear shoes now will pay dividends in the health and well-being of your pup. Visit www.airpup.com to find a set of high-quality dog shoes and dog socks for your furry friend.