Some pet owners think that dog boots are just a peculiar human fashion statement, but dog boots actually are quite useful, especially if you live in an area with rough terrain or a harsh climate. Your dog may not need to wear boots on a walk around the block on an average day, but on days with harsh weather, dog boots can provide protection to the dog’s foot pads. Hot pavement can hurt your dog’s feet (think how you’d like walking on hot pavement without protection), and snow and ice can also be tough on paws. If you’re walking with your dog on a hiking path, you can protect your dog’s feet from sharp rocks and other debris with dog boots as well.
How do you actually get your dog to comply, though? Many dog owners say that their dogs aren’t into wearing boots and kick them off. Others say they don’t know how to get the boots on their dogs’ feet to start with. One important tip is to start training your dog to wear boots early—before winter strikes. That way your dog has some time to adjust and you won’t be so distraught when all that snow and ice actually arrives.
You can train your dog to wear boots using simple, positive reinforcement and a gradual approach. Many dog boots fasten so dogs won’t kick them off. The first time you try to put a boot on your dog, just put one on, and don’t fasten it. Then give your doggie a treat. Don’t let your dog walk around with the boot on, or else he could slip, which would definitely deter him in the future. Then take the boot back off and come back to the exercise the next day. Each day, try a different foot. Then try just two feet, and then two different feet. Each time, reward your dog with a treat.
After your dog gets used to you putting the boots on unfastened, start the entire exercise of one-boot-at-a-time again, but fastening the boots as you go. Fasten them loosely only, and then repeat the entire venture again fastening them more tightly (as you can see, this is all going to take a lot of patience for both of you). Gradually your dog will adjust not only to the boots but also the training process, which will make it go faster. Eventually your dog will probably be ready to walk around in the boots himself, since he’ll be excited to press on with things.
Don’t let your dog start out on a slippery floor, as this is dangerous and frustrating. Start with carpet if you can since carpet has plenty of traction. Reward your dog for walking around in the boots until your dog gets used to them. He may seem confused and irritated in the beginning, but come cold winter time, he’ll be very grateful to have some protection for his paws! You’ll also get a kick out of watching him adjust to the boots and learn how to walk in them!