I have a 3 1/2 month old Parson Russell Terrier puppy named Milo. He is a sweet puppy, but like most dogs he needs a fair amount of stimulation and exercise during the day. We live at the edge of the Flathead National Forest so he gets lots of opportunities to explore the outdoors, especially now that the weather is starting to get nice.
When I take him out for a walk he invariable sniffs every stick and rock he comes across, and often will pick up a stick and start chewing on it. I think he thinks that everything that doesn’t move is potentially food. I also see him pick up small rocks, not so small that he is likely to swallow one, but he will carry it around for a while before settling down and taking a bite, at which time he then spits it out looking for something more tasty like a small pine cone to munch on.
I figure this is all a learning experience for him so I don’t reprimand him until he picks us something that could get lodged in his throat, like a small piece of plastic.
Should I be concerned about him chewing on sticks and rocks or is this something that all dogs do and he will eventually grow out of. If I had to reprimand him every time he picked up something that’s what I would spend most of the walk doing.
I just remembered while reading your post that my dog was in to rocks when she was a baby. She especially liked fishing rocks out of her swimming pool. She definitely grew out of it (within a couple years) and I don’t remember her ever actually swallowing a rock. Just tasting.
Say, you are going on non-sniffing walks too, right? Walks where the only objective is to walk, pay attention to you, and perhaps pee? That’s pretty important for a puppy’s leash and obedience skills. Walks where you get to sniff everything are grand but make sure he’s learning how to do it “right” while he’s young!
He might like carrying the rocks because they feel cool against his gums, and that soothes the teething itch until the rock warms up.
Aside from that…what they said. Dogs chew on stuff. When I was a kid, we had a golden retriever who ate baseball bats and 2x4s, gnawing them until there was nothing left but a little knob. The best you can hope for is keeping him from chewing on stuff that can damage him or that you don’t want damaged.
Just be careful about rocks. A friend of mine has a dog who decided she had a taste for rocks. By the time they realized that she was swallowing them (not just chewing on them), she had a dozen rocks in her stomach…it proved to be an expensive bit of surgery to de-rock the dog. They now have toput a muzzle on her when they take her for a walk.
Apparently, I’m the only one who opened this thread thinking it would be about a kid’s game
I’m sorry…Honest,…please don’t beat me up…
I’ll just turn around and go home now…
(hangs head in shame)
To me, this is a training issue. When I’m walking, I don’t want my dog stopping at every curious item. When she was a pup, a firm, “Leave it” and tug on the leash followed by a treat taught her that there’s time for play, and time for no play, and I decided what time it was, not her.
We have both walks where he is on leash and walks where he isn’t. I understand about training him to keep walking by my side and to pay attention to me, not everything he finds on the ground, but I want him to enjoy being off leash sometimes.
I’d be cautious about the rocks too, at least until you’re sure he’s not swallowing them. My BiL’s Ridgeback started eating rocks, and had to go through two surgeries before they got her trained out of it. (Admittedly, she’s not the brightest, as she apparently had a problem *in uterus * and is mildly deficient due to lack of oxygen to her brain. She’s sweet, though.) But keep an eye on him to be sure.
Our dog loved rocks when he was a puppy, too. We had to keep him on a short leash (literally!) and police the back yard for rocks until he grew out of it.
I never worried much about stick-chewing, but a friend of mine almost lost his dog (a pit bull cross) after it ate most of one plank from his wooden deck. The vet had to do emergency surgery to remove a huge quantity of wood chips. So I’d say keep an eye on the volume of wood the puppy is ingesting when he’s chewing.