If your dog is constantly running away with your favorite pair of shoes, you may be wondering why this keeps happening. Dogs are wonderful companions, but they are also complex creatures, and there are numerous explanations for their behavior.
Dogs steal shoes for various reasons. It is most common that when your dog steals your shoes, they are signaling to you that they wish to play or want attention. Dogs are especially attracted to shoes because this piece of apparel often has a high amount of scent and pheromones that remind them of their owner.
Shoes may not be the most convenient thing for your dog to steal, especially if you are trying to get out the door in the morning. However, it is usually normal behavior for dogs. Keep reading to learn details about why your dog steals your shoes, along with some things you can do to get them to stop.
Why Do Dogs Love Shoes?
Dogs often love shoes, and there are multiple reasons for this tendency.
Dogs Love the Smell of Shoes
Many dogs are attracted to the unique scent and pheromones, which are chemicals created by all living creatures that are left behind in the shoes even when you’re not wearing them.
Dogs are devoted to their owners, and when they detect anything that smells strongly of you, it is normal for them to be very interested in this object, especially when you are not around.
Shoes Are Convenient For Dogs
Dogs may also love to steal shoes because they have the following features that make them convenient to steal:
- Shoes are lightweight
- Shoes are a comfortable shape for dogs to bite
- Shoes are a good size for many dogs’ mouths
Although the blanket on your bed may smell as much like you as your shoes do, your dog is more attracted to stealing footwear because it is easy for them to access and carry.
What is Your Dog Telling You When They Steal Your Shoes?
Dogs are intelligent creatures, and when they behave in a certain way, it is natural to assume that they are attempting to communicate something to their owners or are responding to a need that they have. When dogs steal shoes, they could be signaling a variety of things.
If your dog frequently takes your shoes, which causes you to run after them, your dog may view shoe-stealing as an exciting game.
Additionally, if your dog has a strong interest in playing with toys, such as tennis balls or other standard dog toys, he or she may come to see the shoes as just another one of their many objects to play with.
Similarly, if your dog does not have very many toys, they may steal your shoes because he or she wants something to occupy them.
With their high level of intelligence, many dogs need something to occupy their minds, especially if you are frequently busy or away from the house and not able to entertain them. By taking your shoes, your dog may be signaling to you that they are looking for something to do.
Even if your dog is not in a playful mood, he or she may steal your shoes because they are looking for you to respond in some way and pay attention to them.
Dogs respond very well to behavioral conditioning when acting in a certain way causes them to get a response from their owners. This is why dogs are so easy to train compared to other species.
When stealing your shoes causes you to get up and pay attention to them, they may continue to do so because they wish to spend time with you and know that this behavior gets a reaction.
Is It Bad If My Dog Steals My Shoes?
Whether your dog stealing your shoes is a bad thing depends on the circumstances. The following signs will tell you if this habit is a reason for concern.
Watch for Concerning Behavior
If your dog acts strangely when they steal your shoes, this can be a sign that you should try to get your dog to stop.
The following are considered concerning behavior:
- Aggression, especially when you try to get your shoes back.
- Allergic reactions to the shoes themselves, such as swelling or disturbance of the eyes or nose.
- Disruptions to normal patterns of food and water consumption.
Although it is unlikely, stealing your shoes may cause your dog to behave in a way that is not typical for them. If this happens, contact your veterinarian and remove the shoes to an area where your dog can’t access them.
Is Your Dog Chewing on the Shoes?
If your dog takes your shoes, they may chew on them as well. If your dog starts doing this, you may need to correct their behavior as this can be very destructive.
Maybe your shoes are inexpensive and worn out, and you do not mind your dog chewing on them. If this is the case, your dog stealing your shoes should not be an issue.
However, if you have an expensive pair of shoes or if you wear them frequently for work or other professional occasions, you may wish to take them away from your dog if they show any tendency to damage them.
How to Get Your Dog to Stop Stealing Your Shoes
Even if they aren’t being destructive, you might prefer that your dog is not always stealing your shoes. If this is the case, there are things you can do to correct their behavior.
Buy Dog Toys
Your dog might be less likely to steal your shoes if they have designated toys of their own. Popular brands, such as Kong and Nylabone, make toys that are designed specifically for dogs and can be a good option as a replacement.
Spend Time With Your Dog
If your dog is bored, he or she may not be getting enough quality time with you. Make sure you are designating time in your day to pay attention to your dog. This includes playing with them, taking them on walks, or just being around them.
If you are a very busy person, it may be worth investing in a dog walking service or some form of doggy daycare to make sure your dog’s needs for stimulation and companionship are being met.
Your dog is a part of your family, and their behaviors can be so unique and complex that they may seem at times like humans. Your dog stealing your shoes is just one way he or she may be attempting to tell you something about their needs.
If your dog constantly taking your shoes seems to pose a health concern, be sure to call your vet. Additionally, if the shoe-stealing is a nuisance, you may wish to invest in other toys that can keep your dog occupied.
Dogs deserve the best care and attention. If your dog is stealing your shoes, take some time to figure out the cause of this behavior. You can then determine if it is something that needs to be fixed. With some careful observance, you and your dog will continue to live a happy and rewarding life together.