Don’t you hate it when you come home, and there, just beyond your happy, tail-wagging dog, you see your favorite shoes ripped to shreds in the middle of the living room floor? What would you do to get your dog to lay off your shoes? We’re here to help!

Certified trainer Megan Brooks says that just like babies, puppies explore their world by putting things in their mouths. And they need to learn what’s okay to chew and what’s not. And the best way to do that is to supervise young dogs when you’re with them, and to consider crate training when you’re not. Because that allows you to limit their access to everything but the chew toys you put in the crate.

For older dogs, our expert says that chewing is a way to release excess energy. So, taking them on a walk twice a day will go a long way to solving the problem. But it’s also important to understand that chewing releases feel-good endorphins in the canine brain. So, gnawing your slippers provides the same feel-good sensation to a dog that eating a piece of chocolate gives you.

If you’re thinking, “I get it - but, that doesn’t explain why the dog walks past three chew toys to chomp on my sneakers.” The reason is simple: Your shoes smell like you.

Experts say dogs that chew their owner’s personal items are suffering from separation anxiety. So, try handling chew toys thoroughly before you give them to your dog. Or store them in a bag with one of your dirty T-shirts. You can also teach your dog to associate the toy with you by using it when you play with them.

If, after all that, your dog’s still chewing everything in sight, talk to your vet. Excessive chewing can be a symptom of gum disease and other health issues that will only get worse if they’re not taken care of.

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