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Thread: Teaching dog to wear boots

  1. #1
    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Default Teaching dog to wear boots

    This is not a dog mushing question in particular, but I want to hear from the dog mushers on this one. I have a golden retriever pup (7 months) that I want to "train" to wear booties for general winter activities. The only advice I've heard is to put one boot on a front foot and immediately take him for a leash walk so he doesn't have a chance to chew at the boot. Once he's used to it, put the second one on, etc. until he's wearing all four.

    What methods do folks use to get their dogs used to wearing boots?

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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    Default booties

    First off, dont bother with the expensive rubberized designer boots they sell, they are too expensive and not worth it. Especially when the dog chews them to pieces. Get some standard lightweight cordura type booties that the mushers use. The heavier the booty is the more he will hate them. Get a bunch so you can replace them when they get wet.

    I would put the booties on the dog in the house some night and that way you can keep an eye on him and correct him if (when) he decides to chew them off. Set them up to succeed by ensuring they cant fail. Dont put them on too tight, just tight enough to keep them from coming off on their own. If you do this for a few hours and can keep the dog from obsessing over them, you about got it licked. Once your outside with the dog, check the boots occasionally and make sure they arent wet, collecting ice, or rubbing their leg raw. If he has dew claws, check them because the booty can push the dewclaw into the leg and cause an open sore really quick.They will chew them off for sure if those things happen. When he pulls one off, put it right back on. Dont let the dog win and he'll accept them after a while. Dont get mad at the dog for pulling them off that just complicates things. An unemotional negative word or light cuff and put the booty back on him. Not a bad idea starting with one foot, but I've always just gone whole hog and they'll figure it out. Of course mine are in harness so they get a bit more focused on the trail and less on their feet.

  3. #3

    Default My golden

    Here's a picture of my golden wearing booties for the first time. As you can see, he's howling with delight...he gets a little wound up over new things. He never really seemed to mind wearing them. The first few times he wore booties he would try to chew at them a bit, so we would do whatever it took to keep his mind off of the booties. At first we would play in the yard or go for a walk, then we would go out snowshoeing. They would work well as long as we could keep him on the trail. As soon as he would get off the trail and into the deep snow, we would have a heck of a time keeping them on his feet. Finally we more or less gave up on the booties and just kept the hair on his feet trimmed short to prevent snowballs from building up on his feet. He never had any trouble with sores on his feet with or without booties.
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    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    If you wrap the booty strap around the foot with the tip of your finger under it you can pull it pretty tight and when you pull out your finger it will be just about right. If theyre coming off in the deep stuff, they are too loose. The kind with the stretchy velcro is better, just make sure they arent so tight they are cutting off circulation. Theres a fine line.

    I would think most dogs would be alright on normal snow conditions, but crusty or corn snow can tear up feet pretty fast. If they do get bleeding abrasions if you clean them well and keep it dry they will heal pretty fast. Also, its easy to miss splits that arent bleeding if the splits are between their toes underneath, especially on dogs with hairy feet or spaz cases. If the split has black crusty stuff around it, you have to soften it with betadine or something and scrape it all off (with a toothbrush for eg) or it wont heal. I have seen splits that were months old that heal into nasty scars because they werent cleaned. Those scars will cause problems for the rest of thier lives.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips guys. It gives me something to work with.

    Where do you get these booties you guys are using? Is there an online source?
    Winter is Coming...

    Go GeocacheAlaska!

  6. #6

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    I was visiting a friend who races dogs who explained everything he was doing one time and he said you have to be careful which way you orient the velcro strap or it'll cause problems with the tendon up the back of the leg. I wasn't really paying close attention but i'm sure somebody else here knows what i'm talking about.

    He hopes to run the iditarod for the first time this year or next, it'll be cool to see how he does.

  7. #7
    Member dkwarthog's Avatar
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    check on dogbooties.com or sleddogcentral if you need a large number of booties. If you just need a few its cheaper to go to your local feed store if they carry any mushing gear.

    If you run the dog thru sloppy wet snow, the tops of teh boots pick up iceballs that rub on their legs and can make them raw. Once they get raw, the dog may start to favor that foot and will compensate on the trail by overusing the other legs and causing injuries. I've never seen a tendon injury from the velcro strap directly. Another tip for a dog with dewclaws is to wrap a little vetwrap tucked under the dewclaw before putting the booty on. That will keep the claw from digging into the skin.

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    Great advice here hog, thanks! Totally agree, don't buy fancy, they rip just like all the others, and when the holes appear between two layers snow gets in fast and balls up. Buy simply, buy more.

    I deal with mountainridge, they are very friendly and do excellent work.

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    John

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    Aren't the leather booties more durable than the fabric booties ?

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    Member 1stimestar's Avatar
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    How about putting the booties on then taking him out to play. So booties would equate playing.
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    Member trapperrick's Avatar
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    Default

    I think they have Carhartt booties at the Army Navy store. The worst ones you can get are the strapless ones from PayLess Shoes and the pink pumps are almost as bad with the stiletto heels coming in a distant third (if they are in patent black). Seriously I think the Cordura would be hard to beat.

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