If you find your dog getting terrified by shoes, this post will shed some light on why he is behaving so.
In most circumstances, dogs love to chew or have their mouth on their owner’s shoes as the smelly scent from the shoes certainly makes them thrilled.
However, there will always be certain exceptional situations where you will find your dog gets fearful of your shoes (instead of liking them).
Your dog is scared of shoes as he associates shoes with a negative experience. He could have been scolded or punished for chewing on shoes. The unfamiliar design, color and scent of the new shoes make him feel uneasy. He is fearful of you and as your shoes carry your scent, that makes him freak out as well.
He Is Associating Shoes With Negative Experience
Your dog could have an unpleasant experience with shoes when he is still a puppy or in a shelter before you adopt him.
He could have been scolded, yelled at or even suffered from physical punishment by his previous owner as the result of chewing on shoes.
This causes a long lasting fearful feeling, and he may be afraid to go near shoes, even if he finds them right in front of him.
If you don’t correct his thinking, he will spend a lifetime being afraid of them.
This can be changed easily if you are patient and take the time to train your dog properly.
The first step in teaching your dog about shoes is to show him that they are harmless objects, and you are not going to scold him for going near the shoes.
To do this, you can use a shoe that has been worn out. Look for a quiet place and have your dog sit close to you and place the shoe on the floor, about an arm’s length away from you.
Have your dog stay with you and let him investigate.
When he is close enough and starts to touch the shoe, pet him and say “Good Dog!”.
Reward him with a high value treat.
Remember to give him a reward ONLY after he has touched the shoe.
This is to make him associate touching the shoe with a positive, rewarding experience.
Keep repeating this training using various types of shoes, until your dog is comfortable with the shoes beside him.
If your dog is still getting very nervous, you can get him a ThunderShirt while you carry out the training.
You can also make use of this technique to train your dog if he is scared of a broom by associating the broom with something pleasant for him.
He Is In Fear Of You (Shoes Carry Your Scent)
Your dog isn’t really scared of the shoes. He is in fact in fear of you and that makes him afraid of anything that carries your scent.
And certainly, your shoes are going to be one of them, as you wear them almost every day, and they are soiled with your sweat.
And when your dog learns to associate these shoes with your presence, he will start to freak out.
You would also probably see him trying to avoid you or hiding from you whenever you are at home.
Did you do anything that upset or terrified your dog lately?
More often, you might unintentionally throw your temper at him (yelling or scolding him in a fierce tone) and that makes him grow his fear instinct on you.
And to remove this fear, you would need to “earn” back his trust in you.
Make him see you as his pack leader — someone who cares for him and is worthy of his loyalty.
So the first thing that you need to do is to let him know that you love him.
Get him to come over to you willingly (do not force him or chase after him) and the best opportunity to do so will be during his meal time.
Let him feel your calm energy and feed him with your hand. This will make him learn that you are going to be the one that gives him food and provides all his needs.
This is what a pack leader would do for his members in the wild, provide them with food and shelter.
When you are calm and nice to your dog, he will learn to love you and will want to follow you around all the time.
He will also see the shoes not as a threat but as something that he loves to sniff around.
Scent From New Shoes Leave Him Feeling Uneasy
If your dog only stays away from you when you are wearing those NEW shoes, he could just be wary of the unfamiliar scent that comes from the new shoes.
The new scent is too strong for him to ignore and, as he starts his investigation, it may cause him to become more cautious than usual.
He will be on his guard as he tries to approach you, take his sniff at your new shoes and then go away.
You would likely see him perform these actions many times (could even take up to a few days) for him to get used to the scent of the new shoes and to decide that it is safe for him to get close to you.
So, make use of all opportunities to “introduce” your new shoes to him.
I would suggest that his meal time will be an ideal moment for you to wear the new shoes.
He will be around with you as you are feeding him his food and he will get to smell the scent of the new shoes.
This will make him start to associate the scent with a pleasant experience as he is enjoying his food.
Gradually, he will learn that the new shoes do not harm him, and he will be more willing to come closer and sniff them.
Striking Color and New Design Of The Shoes Make Him Thrill
It’s hard to figure out what’s going on in your dog’s mind as what seems to be a simple and colorful shoe could make him behave irrationally and get so fearful.
A new color, a new design or even a new manufacturer’s name on the box can cause him to behave like a timid pet.
Well, a dog has a natural instinct to defend himself from perceived danger, and when he sees a shoe with an unfamiliar design that he has never seen before (maybe this is the first time you are buying a high heeled shoe) that comes with a striking color, that can easily trigger his fear and anxiety.
So it is his natural instinct to take special precautions till he is sure that there is no real danger and that the shoe does not pose any threat to him.
And for that reason, you should not be surprised if your dog behaves very strangely around that shoe as he is doing his investigation mission.
You may want to consider starting your dog on a socializing training. The benefit of socializing your dog is that he will learn how to interact with the world around him positively, without unwarranted fear or aggression.