Why does my dog chew my shoes?

If you saw office dog Monty’s appearance on BBC Business News with our CEO James, then you may have detected his penchant for trouble.

Monty recently chewed the heel of one of the tails.com team’s expensive shoes that she had left under her desk. Naturally, she wasn’t too pleased. Some dogs have the tendency to destroy things that they shouldn’t, but why do they do it?

Possible reasons for chewing:

  • Boredom: dogs need to be stimulated. Whether it’s through exercise, games or training, their minds need to be stimulated.
  • Separation anxiety: dogs can often be upset or anxious when left alone, causing them to chew items that they aren’t supposed to.
  • Early lessons: if your dog wasn’t taught the difference between acceptable and unacceptable chewing as a puppy, they won’t learn automatically.
  • Comfort: it’s thought that much like compulsive behaviours in humans, licking and chewing objects can release endorphins and become addictive for anxious dogs.
  • Appealing objects: tastes, textures and flavours of certain objects can be appealing to a dog’s senses eg: leather handbags, shoes or even smelly socks!
  • Attention seeking: if a dog finds that such behaviour brings interactions from their owner, they may continue to do so as a way of gaining attention.

Chewing is a natural behaviour for dogs, especially for puppies. They’re constantly learning about the world by watching, listening, playing, interacting with other dogs and people as well as chewing new objects they find to test them out.


Chewing also soothes the discomfort of teething on sensitive gums as a puppy’s adult teeth grow in. Providing a dog with plenty of stimulating dog toys can prevent temptations to items such as expensive shoes.

If a destroyed item is discovered on the scene after the crime has taken place, it’s important to avoid punishment or scolding as the dog will not be able to associate it with the deed. Being firm and saying ‘no’ or scolding will only work if you catch your dog in the act.

Monty is yet to learn the difference between appropriate and inappropriate chewing, but the office remains in hope that he soon will.

Related blog: Your dog’s dental health

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