Seeing a dog in boots is one of the best things you will see, ever. Walking out in the snow with their cute little snow boots on, matching with their human. Yet, you start to wonder. How did he get them on? Was it easy to put on the dog? The answer to that, at least for me, is no. I know I am not the only one who has a dog that doesn’t like their paws being touched. The question now is, how do we get them to be comfortable wearing their shoes. As owners, we want them to want to wear the boots that we bought for them. How do we do that? Let’s find out!
Fits like a boot!
Getting the right size dog boots is the same as getting shoes for us humans. It is better done in person, or in this case, in dog. One of the most important things that you need to do is getting the measurement of your dog’s paws. With this measurement, you can make sure that your dog’s paws are comfortable while you are taking a walk, a hike, or a run.
Buying the right size is just as important, you know have the measurements, put them to good use by purchasing the correct size. Some makers do not have sizes for giant dogs, but some do have larger dog boots. Each dog shoemaker has its own dog shoe chart that you may refer to. Additionally, we made a dog paw sizing chart for our readers. However, do not rely on this chart 100%, it is only here as a guide and may not be the same with other brands of dog shoes. Learn more about how to measure your dog’s paws in our blog post.
Pooch in Boots: How to train your dog to wear boots
Now that you have your boots, how do you get your dog to put them on? We have a few tips that can make your life easier, especially if you have a squirmy dog like mine or you have a dog who does not like their paws being touched. In this section, you’ll find out just how to do this as easy as 1, 2, 3.
I am a firm believer that we as owners need to be able to touch our dog anywhere we want. Desensitizing can be preventive and proactive. Preventative is avoiding the causes of touch sensitivity and proactive is teaching the concept of acceptance. One of the things you can do before putting on the boots is to desensitize your dog. You can do that by recreating the feeling of putting dog boots on by using stimulus to the paws.
You can use a sock or sometimes as simple as holding your dog’s paw can work. Start with shorter times and gradually increasing every time until he completely lets you hold or touch his paws. Positive reinforcements such as treats can be used as rewards every time he allows you to hold his paws. High-value treats that your dog would always respond to, will be best for this kind of training.
Counter conditioning is the next step to desensitizing. We not only want them to get used to the feeling, but we also want them to want to wear these boots. Counter conditioning is used to address certain behaviors that you may not want to see in your dogs such as aggression or even when being touched.
This training tool can be effective when putting on dog boots because you allow them to open up to the idea of wanting to wear the boots. Clicker training and marker words are often used with this kind of training. What you do is to put the boots on your dog keep it on for a certain number of seconds before taking it off. Reward your dog with a treat to reinforce good behavior (in this case, good behavior is putting on the boots).
Repeat this a couple of times while gradually increasing the time they have the boots on until they are accustomed to wearing it completely. Soon enough they will be begging you to wear their brand new boots. Watch this video to learn more about how to counter condition your dog to touch.
Our Final Thoughts
Training your dog can take a little time. Do not be discouraged if you think your dog is not responding to training. Better to keep at it until you see results. Training your dog for any behavior is never easy. One way or another, your dog is for sure going to enjoy these boots in no time. Some reminders when training your dog: always make sure that your dog is comfortable whenever you are training. It may cause more problems when you force them to do things that they are not keen on doing.
It is the common misconception that dogs hate wearing boots, where in fact, it is just not natural for them to be wearing anything on their paws that’s why it seems that they don’t like it. To learn more if dogs need dog boots, click here.