Are Dogs Born With a Sixth Sense About Shoes?

Man and dog jogging

Money, it's gotta be the shoes!

It’s an interesting question, and one that I believe, deserves scientific study. As Mars Blackman said, “Money it’s gotta be the shoes!”, and I think most dogs agree.

If you’ve ever had a puppy or a young dog, you’ve probably lost a pair of shoes to them. What interests me is not the fact that they chew and destroy shoes, it’s which shoes they choose to chew and destroy. Your old tennis shoes, boots, and other assorted footwear, used to take the dog outside to play, are never touched. But a brand new pair of tennis shoes or work shoes, not worn when playing with the dog, are targeted for termination. I smell a conspiracy here and it smells a lot like puppy breath!

I’ve done my own informal scientific survey, I’ve listed the shoes my wife and I wear, their relevance to my dogs, and their likelihood of destruction.

Old Sneakers Belonging To Me Or My Wife

  • Dogs Attitude Towards Them – Excited anticipation. These shoes predict a walk or some playtime in their immediate future.
  • Probability of Destruction – Low

New Sneakers Belonging To Me Or My Wife

  • Dogs Attitude Towards Them – Feigned indifference. These shoes hold the promise of future walks or playtime, but not at the present.
  • Probability of Destruction – Depends of the price of the shoes. The more expensive, the higher the probability!

Dress Shoes Belonging To Me Or My Wife

  • Dogs Attitude Towards Them – Obvious distaste. These shoes predict the immediate departure of all sources of food, play, and bathroom breaks.
  • Probability of Destruction – Terminate with extreme prejudice. If our dogs could talk to us, they would tell us it’s the leather smell that attracts them, but we know better.

My Beat Up Moccasins

  • Dogs Attitude Towards Them – Depends on their bladder. These shoes are for short bathroom breaks.
  • Probability of Destruction – Very low. They have holes in them to begin with, but that doesn’t stop them from licking the insides, ensuring a nice soggy moccasin to put my foot into.

My Wife’s Flip Flops

  • Dogs Attitude Towards Them – Worship. These shoes are for one thing and one thing only. Filling up the sacred doggie pool.
  • Probability of Destruction – Zero. If my dogs had opposable thumbs and could use a hammer, they would build an alter for them.

So there you have it. My highly scientific study of dogs and shoes. If you have your own hypothesis, leave a comment and let us know.

On the serious side, if you have a dog or a puppy that chews your shoes or other valuables, here are a few simple things you can do to remedy the problem.

  1. Put your shoes out of the reach of the dog.
  2. Find some toys that your dog enjoys chewing on, and have some of these toys in each room the dog has access to.
  3. If you your dog is chewing on something inappropriate, like your shoes, don’t yell at him. Simply give him something he is allowed to chew on and praise him when he chews on it.

Chewing is necessary for developmental health, and is a stress reliever as well. If your dog excessively chews on the wrong things, you may want to contact your vet or a qualified trainer.