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I have a 4 month old GSD who loves to eat rocks. He's a smart dog and fairly obedient. He will drop a rock if I see him with one and order "leave it" or "drop it".



He has been chewing on & eating rocks since I brought him home at 9 weeks old. At first it wasn't to big of a problem because my yard doesn't have any surface rocks so he only got what he would occasionally dig up in the flower beds.



At 16 weeks he had completed his parvo shots and I started taking him on walks along the river. On or off leash doesn't matter... he finds and chews/swallows rocks.



He has a lot of diarrhea issues that come and go. In the past week he has been vomiting his food which also contained rocks. So I took him to the vet today and an X-ray shows at least 10 small size rocks in his stomach.


The vet gave me i/d dog food to feed him for a week to restore digestive health and added 2 cans of pumpkin today and half can tomorrow to try and get the rocks to pass through him.


She doesn't believe the rock chewing is a nutritional deficiency issue and believes it's a habit some puppies develop. She said he will outgrow it but it could take 8 months or longer to outgrow. YIKES!!


My wife suggested we restrict him to our rock free home and yard until he grows out of the behavior. My concern with this plan is our yard is small and he won't get the daily exercise he needs.



Does anyone have ideas on how to change this behavior?



Thanks. John
 

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My Baron was also a rock eater. He did outgrow it at 5 months. I do agree with your vet that your pup will outgrow it. And maybe after this last incident, he wil do it sooner. For what to do, I did try spraying some rocks with Bitter Apple but that didn't deter Baron. It may work with your pup. Or you may also want to try hot pepper. Since your yard is now rock free and the concern is that he is picking up the rocks on his walk, I would use a basket muzzle as explained in this article which also has other suggestions:

https://www.petful.com/behaviors/stop-dog-eating-rocks-objects/
 

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I had the same problem. It is getting much better now though. Started at 10 weeks. She is now a little over 6 months old, and it has almost stopped. It started on the walks. Anything that wasn't attached to something was consumed. Lots of "leave it" training!

Yes, she threw up handfuls of rocks one time. She pooped out handfuls of rocks a few times. The problem here is that my back yard is full of gravel. I have to keep her crated until I can keep an eye on her for playtime. Luckily, I work at home, so she is in and out all day long.

Next is dog beds. She will still tear up a dog bed to get the stuffing inside. Then poop it out a day or two later. Straps on duffel bags are a delicacy!

She ate a tug rope that I didn't put away one time. She threw it up 2 days later. That one I went to the vet for because it didn't come out the other end by the next day.

Once I started E-collar training, that really helped a lot. You can stop them from a distance, and teach them that it is not OK.

I would not restrict him to your home for the next 4-8 months. He needs to get out and see the world. If you don't get him out, he could be a nightmare.
 

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Wait you are feeding the pup 2 CANS of pumpkin in a day??

My last pup was into rocks, sticks, dirt....rocks especially.

I used a combination of leave it, trade ya, sometimes i would lure him across the gravel walkway with a cookie because otherwise he would ALWAYS grab a rock on his way in. That turned into race ya to the stoop for a cookie and he forgot about the rocks.
 

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This habit can kill. I know several dogs that have needed surgery for blockages caused by rocks. I would invest in a good muzzle, or not turn the dog out unsupervised.
 

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Leash walks only and free play on grassy non-rock areas. Too much attention from you can also result in rewards for the behavior. Keep the anti rock training casual so it won't be a big deal from not to eat rocks. Reward for walking past a rocky area when he doesn't pick them up so you ward the desired behavior. Prepare for a walk and purposely look for areas where he can pick them up so you have raining opportunities.
Was he raised on gravel at the breeder? Any info on his litter mates?
 

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As far as I can tell my pup hasn't eaten any yet but when we walk across the driveway she dives for rocks and pebbles. We can tell when she has them because she begins to prance. She will usually spit them out and chase them. Good luck with your pup and I hope the rocks pass without incident.
 

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My current two do not eat rocks but pick them up, mouth them, carry them around, roll on them. I'd rather they not but because of where I live, they have access to lots of rocks.


One pup ate enough gravel that her stools often resembled aggregate.



On the other hand, a friend had a dog develop a couple of blockages from his live-long rock hound hobby.'
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you to all of you for weighing in. Sounds like abstinence, muzzle, replacement chew items and positive reinforcement for not eating rocks summarizes the input. All good stuff. Thanks again. Such a valuable resource. John
 

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Good luck, John! Mine outgrew it also, but we have a cement well cover in our yard, and Kairo would chew on the edges of the lid and break off small cement pieces. We solved it by putting garden fencing around the well cover so he couldn't get to it. He would still chew rocks in the back yard though and prior to outgrowing the behavior, thisis how we introduced Kairo to the "leave it" command. :)
 
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