From experience, I know just how trainable and adaptable dogs can be. When my wife and I brought home our second dog, Bella, from the local animal shelter, I was sure she would take time to adjust to a new environment. Especially because we already have two other pets and Bella had been an ‘only child’.
To my surprise, however, they all got along perfectly right away! Not only did Bella fit in seamlessly, but she was also the one to initiate friendships – proving that dogs are incredibly friendly creatures.
That being said, we owners need to recognize that we’re the ones responsible for helping our beloved dogs rise to their full potential. Although they come pre-packaged with an amazing ability to learn quickly and be versatile within their environments, ultimately we need to understand why our furry friends do the things that they do if we want them to feel safe and secure in life.
So, what about putting shoes on these supposedly highly-adaptable pets? Why do dogs walk funny with shoes on? The quick and easy answer is: Shoes throw off a dog’s walking routine by lessening their ability to feel the ground, shoes also feel weird and uncomfortable on dogs because they usually lack the traction of a dog’s paws. Finally, don’t discount the fact that your dog isn’t actually walking in shoes but is really trying to shake them off.
The Top Reasons Your Dog Walks Funny With Shoes On
If you’ve ever cracked a smile while watching your dog walking with shoes on, you’re not alone! Maybe you had a reason for putting shoes on your dog, or maybe you just thought he would look cute.
No matter the reason, you, like many dog owners, probably found yourself wondering why your furry friend seems so awkward and unsure of himself when he’s wearing shoes.
I gave a quick rundown above, now I’d like to take a closer look at the key reasons for this strange, though amusing, behavior.
Diminished Sense Of Touch
Your dog has a diminished sense of touch when wearing shoes. When they are barefoot, dogs can feel and grip the ground better than they can while wearing shoes. The feeling of the ground and the pressure they sense in their feet and toe pads help them understand the terrain as they are walking or running.
This means that when your good boy is wearing shoes, he will not be able to get as much information from his feet as normal, making his steps much more unsure.
Slipping And Sliding
Most shoes don’t have great traction when compared to dog paws. So, a lot of times dogs will have difficulty not slipping and sliding all over while walking in shoes.
Of course, watching the slipping and sliding might seem hilarious to us, but rest assured that your dog probably isn’t enjoying himself.
Shaking Them Off
Dogs have lived happily for centuries, and your dog in particular has lived happily his entire life without shoes or anything else (except maybe a little mud) on his feet. In fact, shaking things off their feet is likely something that comes naturally to our four-legged pals!
So it makes sense that another major reason why dogs might seem to be walking funny with shoes on is that they are trying to get the shoes off rather than actually walking in them.
Routine Is Thrown Off
Putting shoes on your pup throws off his routine and changes how he navigates everyday activities. Rather than being able to stroll around confidently, without thought, like usual, now your good boy needs to think about every step he takes….which looks a little goofy as he adjusts!
The Shoes Aren’t Comfy
It’s important to consider the fit of the shoes you put on your dog too. If the shoes don’t fit correctly or aren’t comfortable for your pup he’s going to have a hard time with them.
Just like you wouldn’t want to walk in ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes, neither does your good boy!
Doing something new can make even the most normal thing (like walking!) seem weird and off. Especially if you don’t know why you’re doing it! Now you can imagine how your dog feels… He knows the shoes feel odd, and he has no clue why he’s wearing them!
As you can see, these factors combine into one overarching theme: Adjustment.
What you are mainly seeing when a dog walks funny in shoes is him trying to adjust to having shoes on.
Of course, all the slipping, nervousness, and shaking can lead to some funny and awkward steps from your good boy.
Why Would I Put Shoes On My Dog?
I just talked about how our furry four-legged friends exhibit a natural and instinctive behavior to not wear anything on their feet.
However, while your dog is probably more lovable than you, he’s not as smart. And there could be several practical and health-related benefits that could come with putting you putting shoes on your good boy.
The Ground Is Too Hot
When summer hits, you definitely don’t want to ignore the warnings about not letting your dog walk on hot asphalt or concrete. Burnt paws are no joke and real damage can be done to your dog’s feet.
While some breeds might seem tougher than others, when it comes to concrete and asphalt, no amount of toughness can protect them from the scorching heat during summer days.
I don’t encounter this often enough to train my dog to wear shoes. I suspect many people are like me and make sure their dogs avoid stepping on hot surfaces or use a hose or shade umbrellas to keep areas cool that your dog can’t avoid.
Heat isn’t the only thing that can pose a risk to your dog’s feet. On top of keeping their paws protected from the heat, shoeing up your pup may also help protect him from irritating and uncomfortable ice-melt products that are often used in wintertime to melt away snow and ice from driveways or roadsides.
Many of these products contain salts and other chemicals which can also get stuck in between the fur surrounding their toes. And, of course, your dog is going to excessively lick or chew to get them out. Which can potentially cause skin irritation or gastrointestinal problems. For this reason, having protective booties for your fur baby comes in handy during cold months when ice melt is present.
Apart from hot surfaces or icy conditions, sometimes putting foot protection on your dog can be necessary depending on where you take your good boy.
One of my close friends has ‘hiking boots’ for his dog because he likes to cover some pretty wild terrain. If you take your dog to places like this, remember that the jagged rocks and other sharp edges that you may come across could be dangerous obstacles for your furry friends. So take care when you’re out enjoying nature together.
Sadly, treacherous terrain isn’t only found when summiting mountains. Living in suburban and urban areas with broken glass or other carelessly discarded garbage strewn along streets and trails may make it wise to invest in some form of protective footwear for your dog too!
Should I Put Shoes On My Dog?
As I’ve discussed, putting shoes on your pup can provide numerous practical and health benefits, but the overall necessity of dog shoes depends on lifestyle. But then there is the flip side that started this whole thing…dog’s walking funny in shoes because they aren’t used to them and are struggling to adjust to wearing them.
So, with all of that in mind, I would put shoes on my dog only if necessary. I don’t think I’d train my dog to get comfortable in shoes unless there was a situation that called for it. Of course, you’re free to do what you want, but don’t use shoes for a cheap laugh at your dog’s expense.
How Can I Get My Dog To Wear Shoes?
It’s understandable to be hesitant when putting shoes on your dog for the first time. After all, getting a wiggly pup in shoes can be daunting and frustrating. But with the right equipment and some positive reinforcement, you can make sure your dog (eventually) feels comfortable enough to keep his new kicks on!
The Right Equipment
The first thing is first: Get well-fitting, comfortable shoes for your dog!
Make sure you follow whatever measuring directions are associated with the type of dog booties you want to get for your good boy. And pay attention to special instructions for specific breeds and activity levels.
You’ll also want to make sure the material of the shoe is appropriate for the time of year and terrain. If it’s cold outside, you might want to avoid materials that won’t provide proper heat insulation; if it’s summertime, opt for something designed to keep paws cool while they’re out and about!
Dogs will do a lot when their owner is petting them and handing out treats! It can be a great way to ensure that your dog stays calm while getting used to the new feeling of wearing shoes.
When introducing your pooch to footwear, practice patience and give lots of rewards while he gets accustomed to how it feels!
Don’t be bashful about handing out verbal praise too. A ‘good boy’ can go a long way to help your dog know he’s doing what he should.
Sure, being prepped and ready with all sorts of motivational tools is important but another detail will help this process too: making sure your dog’s nails are trimmed before putting on any shoes.
This extra step helps make sure that there’s no unnecessary pain or discomfort.
Summary: Why Does My Dog Walk Funny With Shoes On?
In summary, the main reason why dogs walk funny with shoes on is that they are trying to adjust to having them on. This can be due to a diminished sense of touch, lack of traction (when comparing their paws to shoes), and an overall feeling of unease about something that’s not part of their routine.
If you put ill-fitting or uncomfortable shoes on your good boy, he will have difficulty walking comfortably as well. By considering these factors when buying new dog booties for your furry friend you should be able to avoid any awkwardness while out and about!
Keep in mind that you should consider putting shoes on your dog for practical and health-related reasons. This includes protecting his feet from the scorching summer heat, irritating ice melt products, as well as dangerous terrain both in nature and urban areas.
If you decide your dog needs them, make sure to get a pair of dog shoes that fit properly so your pooch can walk comfortably while wearing them.
Getting your dog accustomed to wearing shoes doesn’t have to be a battle…just be sure to arm yourself with knowledge and patience from the start! With these tools, you’ll have no trouble getting your pup dressed up in his chicest duds without any awkwardness!