Storm's Dog Boots

There have been so many lovely stories of dogs who’ve been helped by the dog boot pattern I scribbled out and posted when I had to make a quick set of winter boots for my greyhound, Casey — it’s really pretty heartwarming.

Old dogs who slip on the ice…
Dogs with injured paws in need of protection…
Dogs with tender toes who are sensitive to cold…
Outdoor sporting dogs who need a little extra warmth and traction…

Like this GSD beauty, Storm, who lives in Canada’s cold far north:

photo credit: YKStorm
photo: YKStorm

Pat‘s daughter took her German Shepherd dog out on a rescue mission — looking for a lost Corgi pup who’d bolted in a panic when he got scared on a trail. The pup was found and brought safely home — “fine and much more obedient after 3 days out in -40” — but Storm lost one of her boots in the snow.

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How to Teach a Dog to Wear Boots

a greyhound gets his winter boots put on

This greyhound of mine looks a bit embarrassed about having to wear his winter boots (a.k.a. “paw protectors“), doesn’t he?

Don’t be fooled by that hang-dog look — when we go outside in minus-20°C weather (that’s, um, 4 degrees below 0°F for our American friends), the big guy’s whole attitude gets adjusted pretty quickly!

So, when do you know it’s time for your dog to wear winter boots?

That will depend in part on the individual dog’s breed and on your climate and lifestyle, but here’s a good rule of thumb:

  • When you’re walking somewhere that salt has been spread to melt the ice and snow.
  • When the snow is cold enough to squeak when you walk on it.
  • When the dog tries to hold all his paws off the ground at once.
  • … or when it’s cold enough that you, yourself, can’t walk the dog in comfort without earmuffs or something over your ears.

We don’t bother with boots just to pop from the house to the car, but in the depths of a Canadian winter, dogs often will need boots to take a walk or even to go in the yard to do their “business”. Obviously, there are many parts of the world where paw protection just isn’t even needed. But for the rest of us…

Lots of people say that their dogs “don’t like” wearing boots, or just kick them off, or refuse to let the boots get put on their feet in the first place…

But no worries, if that’s your situation. This can be solved with a little bit of positive dog training. If you’re not near a dog school that offers clicker training, however, you can still DIY…

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