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How to Introduce Your Dog to Wearing Boots

Let’s face it, dogs don’t wear boots in the wild, so wearing shoes isn’t the most natural thing for them.

Getting canines used to wearing protective booties will take a slow, calm and fun introduction, but it will be worth the effort when you see how they keep your dog’s feet safe from the elements and slippery surfaces.

If you want to order a pair of Ruff Wear boots from our Gear Shop, first read these instructions from Ruff Wear before you ever go near your dog’s feet with the boots. We guarantee you’ll both have a more enjoyable introduction to them.

How to Introduce Dog Boots, by the Ruff Wear Crew

Here are a few tips to keep your dog from doing the moonwalk in their Ruff Wear boots (or at least keep the moonwalking to a minimum!).

Work them. When you first get the boots, work them in your hands so the sole becomes more pliable.  Because of their weight, small dogs have a particularly hard time softening the outsole, so breaking them in with your hands can really help them become more comfortable, quickly.

Don’t laugh. This may be difficult, but laughing is likely to cause your dog further anxiety.

Engage your dog. Immediately engage your dog in their favorite activity to distract them from the boots. For example, a walk, a trick, or fetch with their favorite toy. Eventually, if you are consistent, they will associate the boots with this activity and will have a positive reaction when the boots come out.

Break in the boots. Dogs will need to build up a tolerance to the boots just like human shoes. Take your dog for short walks prior to your first long adventure with the boots.

Make sure the boots fit. Measure your dog’s paw width (front and back) carefully prior to purchasing the boots. A good fit maximizes comfort and will ensure the boots stay on the paws through rigorous exercise. Many of our customers are surprised to find out that a 100 pound dog can actually fit any size from X-Small to Large, so don’t assume you know your dogs foot size. Overall dog size doesn’t translate to paw and boot size. Click here for more sizing instruction.

Use boot liners. Boot liners will not only enhance the fit of the boots, they will help keep your dog comfortable by softening any potential abrasion spots, insulating the boot, and wicking moisture away from the paw.

Take it slow. Start by putting the boots on in the house for a couple minutes, then try short adventures outside; gradually increasing the time spent in the boots.

Stop and check. Each time you use the boots during the break-in period, stop and check for rubbing and hot spots.  This is also a great time to check the strap tension and fit, so the boots stay secure.

Recommended Reading

Tripawds Gear Blog: Redesigned Bark N’ Boots Better Than Ever
Ruff Wear Blog: Avoid the Dog Boot Dance


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