What is the best way to teach my dog to wear booties?
Very simply, go slow and associate wearing the booties with fun!
• Put the dog on a leash—you’ll need it, because you’re going to play with her when a bootie is on.
• Don’t try to have her wear all four booties at once. Place booties on the two back paws and then take her for a very brief run or let her chase a ball. (This is why you’ll want a leash.) Praise lavishly and treat. Then remove the booties, and repeat until you both feel comfortable adding them to the front paws.
NOTE: Make sure you go at her speed. Some dogs take a little longer, because they might not like to have their feet touched, or they might not have a drive which will make it a little harder for you to get her to chase the ball. The idea is that you want her to associate the booties with something wonderful.
• Some people “bootie train” as part of an obedience session, so your dog will see it as just one more command. That may be desirable, especially if your dog doesn’t have a strong drive—just be sure to praise and treat.
It’s absolutely critical that the booties fit properly. If they’re too large, it will make walking awkward and probably impossible; they can trip the dog as well. When the booties are too small, they’ll squeeze the feet, hurt, and will possibly cut off circulation.
Here’s one way to measure:
• Walk your dog onto a hard and flat concrete, linoleum or wood surface.
• Place a sheet of paper beneath a front paw. Lift the other front paw to get your dog to put more weight on the paw being measured for the most accurate measurement.
• Mark the paper at the paw’s widest points on both the left and right side. Measure the length of the dog’s paw by making a mark at the base of the pad and at the end of the nails.
• Measure the distance between the two marks indicating the width using a ruler and write down the measurement in both inches and centimeters. Repeat to find the length.
• Compare the measurements against a sizing chart at your local pet store or online to find your dog’s boot size.