Watch These Cute Pups Try Out Their Snow Shoes—and Learn How to Get Your Own Dog Ready for Boots
Snowy season has firmly arrived, which means our dogs are getting used to their magic shoes—or, er, boots.
Even though it doesn't involve Elmo, one of our favorite trends on TikTok right now is dogs learning to wear their snow boots. The videos pair the dogs walking—or at least trying to—with the voice of Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump in the 1994 movie saying, "Mama said they'd take me anywhere. She said they was my magic shoes." We can't get enough of these adorably awkward dogs getting used to their winter foot gear.
Generally, dogs don't need boots, says Jenna Stregowski, RVT and Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor. But the calculus changes when the ground becomes snowy and icy—and sometimes covered in potentially toxic ice melt pellets.
"Ice and snow are harsh on the paws, and rock salt can cause irritation (or illness if your dog licks it off her paws)," she writes. "Boots can enable your dog to spend more time outdoors in cold weather without you worrying about her paws."
So please enjoy a smattering of our favorite videos. Then learn how to safely get your dog used to their winter boots—without the Forrest Gump audio accompaniment.
A Dog Boots Pro
A Dinosaur? In Shoes?
Never Too Early to Learn
Do I Have To?
How to Get Your Dog to Comfortably Wear Snow Boots
So how can you get your dog so used to her boots that she's like Farley the Australian shepherd (the dog in the first video who's confidently striding through the snow)? Lots of patience, treats, and positive reinforcement.
The feeling of clothes and footwear might be foreign to your dog, and she might have to almost re-learn how to walk wearing boots, Stregowski says. (If your dog doesn't like her feet being touched, you'll need to work on some paw handling before graduating to the boots.) Here's what to do to get your dog used to wearing winter boots, according to Stregowski:
- Introduce the boots: In a quiet room, hold out the footwear and let your dog investigate it. Reward them with treats and repeat the process over several minutes. The boots are now associated with treats, which is great.
- Start slow: Carefully place one or two boots on your dog's rear feet. Reward with praise and treats for each boot. This way, they still have some familiarity with their bare front feet,.
- The boots are made for walking: Step a small distance away and coax your dog toward you (with or without her leash on). For each step—or even zero steps—reward her with praise and treats. Even tolerance is worth a reward.
- Play defense: If your dog tries to remove the boots, gently prevent her from doing that. But don't scold! Your dog is trying her best.
- All done: After several minutes, take the boots off and reward the pup with more treats and praise.
- Repeat: Do this each day, gradually adding the third and fourth boots for longer periods of time. Once you see your dog moving with more confidence—and maybe not trying to kick the boots off—you can embark on short outdoor walks. Keep at it with the treats and praise.
Bonus step: Don't despair! Your dog will get the hang of it eventually.
"Going forward, make sure that 'boot time' is always reward time," Stregowski says. "It can take days to weeks for your dog to feel like she can walk comfortably. It will take patience and consistency on your part, but most dogs eventually get used to boots."