bootSo, you’ve determined your dog does needs boots.  You head to the store (or order them online), open the box, call your dog over, and reluctantly they hand over a paw as you outfit them in their new boots.  And then…the boot dance.  You know, the paw shaking, high-stepping, boot dance.

If this happens to you, don’t be alarmed. Remember this is probably the first time your dog has ever had something on their paws, and just like humans have a break-in period for their shoes, dogs will too!  Here are a few tips to keep your dog from doing the moonwalk in their Ruff Wear boots (or at least keep the moonwalking to a minimum!).

  1. Don’t laugh. This may be difficult, but laughing is likely to cause your dog further anxiety.
  2. Engage your dog. Immediately engage your dog in their favorite activity to distract them from the boots.  For example, a walk, a trick, or fetch with their favorite toy.  Eventually, if you are consistent, they will associate the boots with this activity and will have a positive reaction when the boots come out.
  3. Break in the boots. Dogs will need to build up a tolerance to the boots just like human shoes.  Take your dog for short walks prior to your first long adventure with the boots.
  4. Make sure the boots fit. Measure your dog’s paw width (front and back) carefully prior to purchasing the boots.  A good fit maximizes comfort and will ensure the boots stay on the paws through rigorous exercise.  Many of our customers are surprised to find out that a 100 pound dog can actually fit any size from  X-Small to Large, so don’t assume you know your dogs foot size. Overall dog size doesn’t translate to paw and boot size.  Click here for more sizing instruction.
  5. Use boot liners. Boot liners will not only enhance the fit of the boots, they will help keep your dog comfortable by softening any potential abrasion spots, insulating the boot, and wicking moisture away from the paw.

Share with us: Do you have a video or picture of your dog doing the dog boot dance?  We’d love to see it!  Post the link below or on our Facebook or You Tube site.

25 thoughts

  1. LOL that’s my dog Pooch in the “boot dance” link! 🙂 that was his first time in Ruffwear boots, he did get used to them once I took him out for a walk wearing them…

  2. I have a lab and I bought the polar tree bark n boots. They don’t stay on and the company would not take them back! I was also told that some where mde to big and r defective. Please can I ship the, to u for a credit for something else?

  3. I measured my dogs feet and according to the chart she wears an X-small, I received them and they seem a little small?? I put them on her and they keep coming off. They seem snug (velcro straps and feet alike) but after a little run, off they come…not sure what the problem is. Any suggestions?

  4. We have a chihuahua mix and we live in a mountainous area that gets snow. He does not like to get his paws wet and we also take him on 8-10 mile hikes fairly regularly. He sometimes goes “on strike” when it is wet or snowy and this is a problem for him to go out to do his business in inclement weather. He has a quinzee jacket now which helps with the cold. Any tips for boots? His paw width is only 1 inch… Do you think boots would be a good idea?

  5. Aimee seems to have gotten over the doggie dance. But she seems to be very encumbered bby her grip trex and gets very anxious quickly. She starts to pant and not really want to come with me.

    Almost as if she is scared because its new to her.

    Granted this is only day 2. But any tips?

    1. Hi Mike – some dogs take longer to get used to the boots than others. Have you tried putting the boots on and then immediately getting out the door and/or getting out her favorite toy or treat? We find that when we focus on the boots, the dog will too. If you quickly transition into playtime or an outdoor activity after the boots are on, the dog can more easily forget they are there. Give that a try and let us know how that works!

  6. The hardest part of your recommendations is not laughing. Watching your dog do the boot dance is downright hysterical! I had to leave the room so our laughter wouldn’t contribute to her anxiety. Just too damn funny!

    1. I am laughing right now, thinking about my dog in boots, let alone when I actually do. Two year old hyper lab, should be funny. But alas, with the backcountry trips I do throughout the year, I cannot afford a paw injury, 30 kms from a road

  7. We love our boots – or rather, I do. 🙂 Vegas is a Great Dane. She has very little hair to protect her feet and would get easily cut up in the snow and ice. Since we started biking we also use our Ruff Wear boots on those road trips to protect against debris and construction materials, glass, etc. I’m going to try to take some of your tips to heart (not the laughing – it’s good for the soul) and see if I can get her more cooperative with putting them on. However, the good news is that as soon as we get started doing our activity, she forgets she is wearing them and could care less. They have helped protect her a lot and she runs in them for long periods of time when we are out in the snow or out on a run/bike. Thanks for such a great product – oh, and the liners make a huge difference in slippage and keeping the boots in place.

    Kennedy & Vegas

  8. I have a 175# English Mastiff and she must drag her front paws when she walks normally. When I put her boots on she does the dance first, but when she’s more comfortable, she trips on the toes and falls to her knees. I’m very concerned about her damaging her knees before she learns to walk differently. That’s a lot of weight falling forward. Any suggestions???

    1. Are you sure the boots are fitted correctly? They may be sticking out too far from her toes.
      If they’re the right size and she still trips, maybe try a different Ruffwear boot with less material in the toe. It’ll wear out faster, but be easier for her to walk in.

      1. Thanks, Kate but she has very large paws and needs the largest boot available, can’t go any smaller. Any other ideas??

  9. My dog will walk with his boots but never run. Is that normal? He has had boots w/ liners for about a year now (used occasionally).

    1. Hi Vince – sometimes dogs will feel encumbered by boots and will feel like they cannot run in them. Once the boots are on the dog’s paws, we recommend distracting the dog with a toy or treat and get them walking or running so they are not focused on the boots.
      Since your dog has worn the boots almost a year, this may not be effective. But it’s worth a try! Thanks for your question.

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