But of course the evidence is in front of them . Our precious shoes have been chewed whilst we were out. They are covered in dog slobber and there are chew marks all over the leather. Clear evidence they have done it! But why are some dogs shoe collectors?
Sometimes it is pure and simple they were easily available, you were out and they were bored! Chewing releases feel good hormones and this activity generates loads of them.
For other dogs it is also a simple explanation. They smell of you! The most important person in their world and your dog finds this comforting when you are not with them. They don't have a sense of value and your brand new very expensive shoes were just doing a job whilst you were gone. So missing you was temporarily forgotten.
Some dogs it is a coping mechanism to deal with stress such as being left alone or even the fear of being caught stealing! For a few it becomes a great game as you chase them to get your precious shoe back.
I recorded a video yesterday on the value of 'prevention is better than cure'. It is always better to prevent these type of behaviours becoming 'an addiction'. And it can do very quickly especially if you react loudly or chase them on your return. Keep your shoes in a wardrobe, on a high shelf or in a closed cloakroom. If he does get one of your shoes, call him to you and SWAP it for a scrummy reward. The best outcome is that if he does it again he will bring it back to you in anticipation of a scrummy reward! Personally , I favour giving the shoe back to your dog and exchange it again. Doing multiple swaps means it stops becoming a valuable item to steal.