Why does my five month old male rottie eat rocks? He is very well behaved and listens to and follows commands but when he is off-leash in my yard and I am not working with or playing with him, he goes to the flower beds, picks up and eats rocks.
Most of the time I catch him and tell him to “drop” which he does and then I give him a treat. He vomited up three small rocks the other night. Obviously, I did not catch him and get him to drop them. This is worrisome as I know it can be fatal if he gets a rock lodged in his intestines.
I want him to have the run of my yard but I fear leaving him alone when he is older if I don’t nip this in the bud now. Advice????
You’re right to be concerned about this, and it is actually something that is more common than you would think. It’s definitely not only Rotties that do it either, many breeds do, and Labrador Retrievers are particularly prone to this.
However, it’s rarely a dietary deficiency or anything like that, it’s simply an inherent personality trait that appears in some dogs. You will need to be very vigilant while he’s a puppy, and hope that he ‘outgrows it’ as he gets older. Some pups do, others continue doing it for life, but generally are less stubborn about it as they mature.
It’s really not safe to allow him free range in the yard if he does this, as he could indeed end up with an intestinal blockage. I’d recommend fencing in a particular area of your yard specifically for him and making sure it’s as ‘rock-free’ as possible. Also continue to correct him every time as this will eventually have an effect, and get him to exchange his rock for a treat whenever you can. Some dogs will learn to bring the rock to you for a treat, but obviously this can get out of hand, so tread lightly!
Sorry I can’t help more, but it’s one of those puppy behaviors that you just have to work with and be patient. Best of luck.