My little boy is 24 weeks old (not yet 6 months). We have a dog door to give him and my other two (cocker spaniel and 32lb mutt, both 11) access to the backyard whenever they want (if someone is home).
The little one is learning to go outside on his own to potty, though I still take him out regularly about every 4 hours or so and give him his potty commands. Right now I've been working from home, so this is possible.
The problem I'm having is that basically as long as I've had him (since he was 14 weeks), Sprocket has loved sticks. He seems to like the challenge of finding the biggest stick in the yard and figuring out how to bring it in through the dog doors (into the screen porch, then the one into the house). Then he lays down to chew it into splinters. I take them away if he brings them in the house, and trade for a dog toy. There are basically no sticks in the yard now, so he's been bringing in leaves.
All through my house, there are random piles of sticks and leaves.
(the stuff we pull out of Sprocket's mouth) Basically we've figured it's a stage and he'll grow out of it.
The last couple of days, he's started bringing in rocks from the plant beds (today's count is two in as many hours). These are fairly large landscaping rocks - small enough they fit entirely in his mouth, but big enough that if they get lodged the right way, I'm worried they'll get stuck! My baby brother once had that happen (when he was like, 3), and based on how upset I remember him being, I can't imagine trying to deal with that, plus sharp teeth and the dog's lack of understanding of what I'm saying/doing!
I try to keep him busy during the day, he has lots of nylabones and stuffies (no knuckle bones because I live with a vegetarian). If I'm desperate, I get out the tricky-treat ball (but I have to lock up my others, or there are fights). We do about two or three 10-15 minute training sessions in the morning, and again in the afternoon/evening. We walk about a mile and a half first thing in the morning, and at the end of the day spend about an hour and a half at the local dog park.
At this point, he's got a pretty good 'give' command, and he's steadily improving on 'leave-it', but the rocks are worrying me. I want him to be able to go outside during the day - he likes to sleep in the sun on the patio. I just don't want him to get hurt with the chewing on rocks thing.
Any thoughts or suggestions?