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Old 11-15-2010, 12:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
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DIY Dog Shoes and Winter Boots

I have purchased Ruff Wear Grip Trex shoes for my dogs, but at 60$ for a set of four I have decided that they are just too much to spend. They also just don't fit that well and cause blisters on my dogs feet. So I am going to create my own and I will describe my process here for anyone else who wants to do the same.

I will be doing something similar to this:
DIY cool and cheap little dog sneakers or boots from duct tape

The first part of making the shoes is to create molds of the dogs feet. Luki and Kasimir both have the same width foot on their back feet 2.5 in., but both of their front left feet are smaller (2.75 and 2.83 in.) than their front right (2.91). To make the molds I am going to wrap gauze around the foot and "gorilla" tape over the entire foot 5 in. past the last pad. I will cut down the back of the foot until I can get their feet out and "gorilla" tape the slit shut. I will be putting in "great stuff" window and door sealant inside as i go. This will harden and make the mold. I will be using the foam/gauze/"gorilla" tape as the actual mold rather than just using the foam as the mold. The reason I want to do this is to allow a little space for the lining that I will be using (I'm not sure what fabric is going to work best yet). I found a soft fabric at Walmart that seemed durable with a harder back for the running shoe lining and I will probably use fleece when I make winter boots.

To make the shoes I will cut the fabric in an hourglass shaped pattern (as best I can) so that it is basically one piece and will lay this over the mold. Then I will "gorilla" tape over the fabric and mold. I am going to cut slits like the Instructable above and rather than using shoe laces I am going to use round elastic cord so that the shoes can flex. Since my dogs love to go rollerblading (full speed all the time) I will need a sturdy bottom for the shoes where they put most of their weight when running. I found some old firehose at work and took the inner lining out which consists of a flexible rubber with a dense woven fabric attached to it. I'm going to cut out enough to bend slighty up over the toes (using the tread wear of my "Grip Trex" shoes as an example). I'm will "gorilla" tape this to the bottom and the dogs will just wear through the tape in the places that they put the most pressure. The rest of the tape should hold the tread on. I plan on putting the rubber side down.

The winter boots will be done the same way just longer. I will use fleece or that sherpa fabric as a lining.

I will keep everyone posted as I do this project as to what works and what doesn't (maybe pictures as well). Stay Tuned.

If you have any suggestions I would love to hear them.

Brian
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:16 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have used the Ruff Wear Grip Tex with my prior GSD and they were fantastic - but they have to fit well, and she wasn't a Doberman. You really need to measure like they say on the website. I would think that a Doberman with the cat-like feet might be a smaller size than you'd guess.

That being said, I am really curious to see how yours turn out. I wonder how durable they'll be (especially for running/rollerblading), and how well they'll stay on. Please post photos when you're done!
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Old 11-15-2010, 01:52 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I measured their feet three times and took the average. The smalls that were supposed to fit their back feet didn't even make it past the pads. The medium was too short. the larges were fine on their front feet but I had to duct tape up the back ones so that they weren't so wide and had to velcro them so tight (to keep them on) that they caused blisters. I even used thick Columbia kid's socks. I hope this helps others with their Grip Trex sizing if they want to try them.
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Old 11-15-2010, 04:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Here are the products I am using and the first (Front Right) Kasimir mold.

When I was filling the mold I found that I could tape over the slit I made down the back...then insert the tube from the "great stuff" into the boot and hold the top closed. This filled the boot and expanded it to its full size. I was a little concerned that the foam wouldn't expand the boot and just come out the top, but this solved that problem.
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DIY Dog Shoes and Winter Boots-products.jpg  

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Old 11-15-2010, 05:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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you can also try this site for great boots. You're much craftier than me- hope it turns out good...

Dog Booties
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Old 11-15-2010, 05:20 PM   #6 (permalink)
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i ordered this boots ($20) i think it's a good price for a boots like this.

RedHead Neoprene Dog Boots
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:10 AM   #7 (permalink)
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UPDATE:

For some reason the foam didn't harden in the toe portion of the boot. I'm not sure why but I wonder if it is either lack of oxygen or some other reaction. Other than that the cast turned out fairly well. I got to thinking about other ways to make a permanent mold and decided on trying plaster of paris (which is what I was originally going to fill the duct tape mold with). I bought cheap molding clay from hobby lobby $7/8 lbs and a cheap plaster mix $4. I put each foot seperately on cardboard that i had cut down the middle and took out a triangle piece in the back. This way I could make a cut down the middle of the mold in the front and slide the triangle in the back together so that the dogs foot would come out the front. I just slid the cardboard back together and gently melded the seam together (i'll post a picture later when the shoes are done if I have space on the site). My partner held the dog and i put on a little clay at a time in thin sheets, overall i used a good quantity of clay so that it would have greater strength and wouldn't crumble when we removed the dogs foot. I tried putting a little tin foil over his toes so that the clay wouldn't stick between them but it didn't stay very well. In hindsight I should have just used saran wrap around the entire foot. Even so the casts turned out great. Now i just need to scrape the excess off and I can start on making the shoes themselves.
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:42 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Time limit expired: I decided I wanted to add some additional info.


Edit: I may actually try the duct tape method again and use the plaster of paris. One of the drawbacks of the foam is that it doesn't have any weight and I wanted the casts to have heft to simulate the dogs standing (pressure on the bottom and the flattening of the feet). The drawback to the clay is that it is a bit of work and is hard to have complete accuracy since you can't see what is going on and don't know if it turned out correct until the plaster is dry (I did have some toes pushed up a little and out of alignment...and though I wanted to have the dogs other leg held up during the mold process it was too hard to keep him still since his other foot was on cardboard (which slipped a little) and was covered in clay. Eventually I want this project to be easy, cheap, accurate, and repeatable by anyone.

I don't remember what this is from but: Thomas Edison..."I have not failed 1,000 times. I have
successfully discovered 1,000 ways to NOT make a light bulb."
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