So Domino has been a fairly predictable when it comes to us leaving for work and such; she has her food and water in the kitchen and she can run around the living room and play with her toys, lay on her pillow, etc. She has been relatively well behaved since we started giving her the living room as a confined space instead of kenneling her. However, she has recently (about the last two weeks) been getting really bad about chewing on our shoes!

We usually would leave a pair of sandals each (one mine, one my boyfriend's) next to the front door so they would be easily accessible for walking her. I also on occasion leave a pair of work shoes there. Well so far she has destroyed one pair of my sandals and one pair of Matt's, his only pair to be exact. On occasion she'll also take my Dr. Scholl's inserts out and rip out the lining of the bottom of one of my work shoes. Mind you, that I don't mind as much considering the shoes are old and I could stand a new pair anyway; I don't condone it still, but I don't mind it as much as say her chewing up my nice pair of black Volcom sandals.

I don't know of anything that could have provoked this behavior. I do however want to know how to stop it so I'm not having to case my living room for any and everything she might possibly destroy while we're away. Any ideas?

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Mine will chew about anything, rugs, chairs, books..well about everything. Their play space is puppy proof, everything off limits is out of reach. They have lots of toys to chew on. All that works for me is to keep shoes and stuff out of their area.
Bear's crate is by the door and we keep our shoes on top of it. He loves shoes and socks, maybe because they smell like us? Plus they're often on the floor where we keep his toys, so he doesn't see the difference between his toys that are on the floor and our shoes. In his mind, if it's on the floor, it's fair game.
From the day we got Samantha I gave her an old pair of slippers (mine) to chew on. I know they don't know the difference between old or new but this seems to have pacified her. She knows some how that those are hers and leaves the rest of the shoes or slippers alone. Maybe if Domino had something with your scent on it like an old towel, blanky etc. that could be drug around when you are not there it might help. But the best thing on shoes is to keep them out of reach when you are not there and correct when you are. Good luck.
Violet is quite the chewer herself. She's chewed the strap off my gym bag, pretty much any bag that gets left within her reaching abilty, paper products of all kinds, tissue is probably her favorite but newspaper is pretty fun too. Anything leather is fair game for her too. She see's me get my shoes and purse and she pretty much hops right in her kennel and waits for me to lock the door. We tried bitter apple and we tried lemon juice but they didn't make a difference. I've heard tobassco sauce works but I think that's cruel. We decided we'd hate to come home and find she'd chewed up an electrical cord so we decided she will always be kenneled when we're gone. It gives us peace of mind knowing she's safe.
This week my gym bag was finished off. Violet chewed the zipper off and the remaining handles when my husband was home alone with her. He moved my bag onto the floor and came down later to find it chewed up. He found the zipper so at least she didn't swallow it.
It's so individual to the dog, isn't it? Bertie seemed to always understand what was mine versus what was his. But Ethel thinks everything is hers and especially loves flip-flops. So I tried to buy her some chewy toys with similar feel to them -- but she prefers my flip-flops (and shoe inserts in my regular shoes) -- maybe you're right, the stench of me is just too attractive. She doesn't chew socks, but does hide them in her bed. My only way of getting her to stop is to not leave anything out that she can get into. Because I never catch her doing it -- I just find the pieces afterward. So that's not very helpful, I suppose. I'm hoping she'll grow out of it, but at 18 months, there's no sign of it yet. Oh, and I should say, she's especially found and chewed stuff when she's been home alone too long (well, alone with Bertie, but he doesn't count as company, I guess) -- so if I'm going to be gone for more than just an hour or two, I crate her, and she doesn't seem to freak out quite so much.
Jack was a terrible shoe-chewer. We could not leave shoes around or he would find them and chew off bits. I'll tell you how I broke him of the habit and some people might think I'm a big meanie....

Until Jack was about a year old, I firmly followed the "no hard corrections/learning is always fun" rule. A firm "no" was the worst correction he got. So I would take away a shoe, say "no" and replace it with an appropriate toy, then mentally reprimand myself for leaving a shoe where he could get it. The ONLY really stern lecture he ever got as a pup was when he accidentally bit me, hard, when playing. He was old enough that he'd already learned the "no teeth on me" rule, and he was big enough to be more careful with his teeth, so I gave him the growly "if you ever bite me again, so help me God...." lecture. But everything else was just a firm "no".

We worked hard on the shoe thing. I would put one on the floor in front of him, and if he went for it, I would say "no" and stop him. And lots of "good boys" when he would ignore it. We did this a lot, and it seemed to work. From the time he was almost one til he was maybe, I dunno, around 14 or 15 months, he was pretty good. Then he decided the heck with what I thought, shoes were fun! Within about a week period, he ate a pair of my shoes, and a pair of my husband's, and then as the final insult I walked in to the living room one day and found he had stolen a pair of my clean undies from the laundry basket and was merrily shredding them.

At this point he was several months over a year old and had had many, many, many firm "no's" on not taking things that were not his. Sooooo, I did what I call "put the fear of God into him." Please understand I did not physically manhandle my dog in any way, nor do anything at all painful to him. I DID hold him by the collar or perhaps the scruff (can't recall which) and told him in my growliest voice that I was utterly displeased with his behavior til he gave me a very submissive look and started to apologize to me (we're talking maybe 10 seconds of lecture here, not a long drawn-out affair) then showed him the offending item and he looked away from it. Showed it to him again and he looked away. And that was the very last time he ever took something that was not his. He won't even touch things, like empty boxes, that we let him play with unless I actually give it to him. The only thing he's not reliable with are tiny bits of things, like pieces of foil or something, that fall out of the garbage can or whatever.

I guess I finally decided that after months of training on this matter and gentle but firm correction, and having reached nearly a year-and-a-half in age, my dog was both mature enough to control his behavior AND had ample opportunity to learn that eating shoes was unacceptable. I caught him red-handed (and I would never correct a dog for something I found after the fact) and at that point I believed it was more of a lack of a discipline thing than a lack of self-control. I do believe training should always be positive, and I do use positive reinforcement on my dog all the time, but if a dog is several months past a year old and is being openly bold, I think that sometimes a sterner correction is in order. I would not recommend that, however, if your dog is dominant-aggressive, as someone could get hurt.
:) As unfortunate as it is for our material objects, it is nice to see that Domino isn't the only shoe chewer. The funny thing about it is that she won't do it every day, only sometimes. And she doesn't chew on anything else that isn't hers (well, that isn't always true); but most of the time she knows what is hers and that our stuff is to be left alone. But when no one is home to catch her in the act. . .

The funniest act of misbehavior I have seen from her is when my boyfriend was folding his clothes she waited for him to look away and grabbed a ball of his socks from the basket and wiggled under the couch. :) I couldn't stop laughing at how mischievous she was being, and she wasn't even a year old yet.
The thing with Jack and the shoes is that he knew it was wrong, but I think that the self-reward of chewing them was more positive than my "no's" were negative. The part he liked was finding the tabs or other bits on them and working on the seams til he pulled them off. I normally walked in too late (I would find the shoe, but not the dog with the shoe in his mouth). Until the day I found him with the undies. LOL.

Which is why I decided a sterner correction was in order. I wish I could explain the growly-voice lecture I use when he's openly defiant. I make my voice as low as I comfortably can, and just sorta put some growl in my voice as I talk. What I'm saying is not as important as how I'm saying it. In this case it was probably something like "I have told you not to eat my stuff, and so help me I'll have your head on a plate if you touch one more thing of mine." LOL Of course, I would not really but the dog does not know that.

If you watch a cat hiss at a dog, or one dog growl at another, there does not have to be any violence involved. However, you can tell by the demeanor of the animal doing the correcting that they have every intent of following through with a bite or scratch if the first dog does not back down. So, even though I have no intent of carrying through with the implied threat to kill the dog if he ever does it again, I try to put myself in the mindset that I would if I had to, so I sound like I really mean it. LOL I've only used that sort of very forceful verbal correction three times on my dog.

At maturity, ideally, your dog should be of the attitude that every single thing in the house is yours. If the dog has something, it's through your good graces. So, for example, when I put my dog's food dish down, I make him wait til I say "ok". It's usually only a few seconds I make him wait. If I am giving him a new toy, I make a big deal of saying "Here Jack, do you want this?" As long as a dog is still stealing stuff, they are not completely convinced that everything in the house is yours. That is, once they meet maturity. If your dog is still a puppy then they are not mature enough to completely control their own behavior. And of course a dog that chews out of anxiety or fear when left alone is an entirely different matter.

I've always saved really stern corrections for things that could be dangerous to the dog, and I've only had three instances where I needed to use one. One was the hard bite while playing, one was chewing things that are not his (because one day he could get something that hurts him), and once was when he found food on the ground at the park and would not "leave it" when I told him to; we had just come home from Niagara Falls, and there had been a string of poisonings at a dog park in Toronto, so the danger of eating found food was clearly in my mind.


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