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Old 06-29-2011, 11:36 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Chewing on rocks, eating sticks & leaves

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?
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Old 07-04-2011, 07:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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No one else answered because it's obvious. (not to be rude ) But if you don't want him to do anything you need to be there to show him no. if that means not going in and out of the doggy door as he wants then so be it. you could also get a pen/baby gates for the porch.
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stellae View Post
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?
It's not something he'll grow out of! Well not from what I've seen. My girl loved to pick up large branches on walks and stick in the yard and rocks and bark. She got a stick lodged in her mouth once (we though at first it was the throat and it easily could have been) That was a few months ago and she's almost 2 years old. We've fenced her off and she is only allowed on the grass when she is being supervised. Otherwise she's on the concrete area. leaves and petals always blow in and she chews on them...never really had a problem. But you definitely have to tell him "no" when he picks up those rocks and sticks, especially when you're there to tell him. Like with Zahra, when we're not home, she'll still chew on leaves. So he probably won't grow out of it on his own!
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Old 07-04-2011, 09:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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He may be lacking in the nutrition dept...what are you feeding him?
You do need to supervise a pup regardless...or be prepared to pay for an obstruction surgery in the future.
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Old 07-04-2011, 11:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by onyx'girl View Post
He may be lacking in the nutrition dept...what are you feeding him?
You do need to supervise a pup regardless...or be prepared to pay for an obstruction surgery in the future.
He's getting Blue Buffalo Lamb & Oatmeal Puppy (he's not pure GSD, and on the small side, so he didn't need the LBP), so I doubt that it's a nutritional thing, but it could be. He's also been really into earthworms (dead or alive - we've had a lot of rain). I'm assuming that's a puppy thing? *shrug*


Quote:
Originally Posted by MicheleMarie View Post
No one else answered because it's obvious. (not to be rude ) But if you don't want him to do anything you need to be there to show him no. if that means not going in and out of the doggy door as he wants then so be it. you could also get a pen/baby gates for the porch.
No, not rude. I'd figured as much - I was hoping that someone would have a magical solution that wouldn't involve, for example, my buying stock in bitter apple.

So yes, I've ended up closing the doggy door and most of his outside time is supervised. I know my older two are disappointed, but this is apparently how it needs to be. I'm trying to do more engagement work with the pup as well. He is learning that good things come from me. He's also learning to tolerate the crate during the day even if I'm home - so that I can play with my older dogs, and they can have some puppy-free time.
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Old 07-05-2011, 08:49 PM   #6 (permalink)
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well...my greatly intelligent pup pulled up my serrano plant out of the garden, pulled the peppers off it, and I am assuming ate a couple, drank all of her water pail, and barfed all over the back porch.

Lessons...
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