by Joanna O’Shea
We just bought our rottweiler a couple of months ago. Zeus is the first rottie we have ever had. We have noticed that no matter what we do, we can’t get him to stop eating underwear and socks(or anything that is remotely that size in clothing).
It doesn’t matter if it’s dirty or clean. He somehow finds it. Even if it’s in a drawer. He will root through a clean clothes basket until he finds the underwear. Even if it’s my son’s. He slurps them up like they are spaghetti and swallows them whole before we even have a chance to take them from him. At our current count, I believe he has thrown up a total number of 15 pairs of underwear, 6 socks, and 2 pair of tights. He still eats his food(and he eats like a horse). We have just realized that he has worms and have given him some wormer medice, but I think he is losing a lot of weight because he can’t get his food to his belly. What are we supposed to do?
Also, with him being our first rottweiler, he plays a little rougher than what my younger daughters are used to and we have no idea on how to train him to stop biting. Can you advise us on how to stop him from biting him. They are afraid of him and I believe it makes it worse. He loves to chew and we are having a hard enough time trying to stop that but when they try to discipline him and then run from him and then play he is getting mixed signals. And we are getting frustrated on what to do. Please help!!! Thanks!
ANY ADVICE would be great when it came to him. I know rotties are supposed to be smart… I think mine got lost in the shuffle…lol.
You have two separate problems here, and the first one (the underwear eating) could cause serious harm, even death, if Zeus swallows something that doesn’t ‘pass through’ as it could cause an intestinal blockage.
He shouldn’t be allowed to have free run of the house or access to rooms that aren’t totally ‘puppy proofed’ and where he could get hold of clothing. Use his crate, a puppy playpen/exercise pen and/or baby/pet gates to keep him contained and supervised. This isn’t just an annoying habit, it could be a deadly one and is something you need to deal with now.
Many puppies and dogs are attracted to underwear and shoes in particular, and may chew them up, or occasionally even swallow them. But just because it seems to be fairly natural to them to do this, doesn’t mean they should be allowed to. He doesn’t know it’s not good for him, but you do so it’s up to you to protect him from himself in this situation.
As for your children’s interaction with him, I don’t know how old they are, but I think from what you describe that they are giving him mixed signals. Most puppies assume children are other puppies, and their equals, and it’s up to you to show him that this is NOT the case. Get your children involved in taking care of your pup, depending on their ages you can decide what they can do and how much help they will need from you.
Dogs respect those who control the resources of life, such as food, treats, games, behavior and so on. So involve them in feeding him, training him, exercising, grooming and so on. The biting is a way puppies interact with each other, and it’s something that needs to be stopped early on. My Stop Puppy Biting page has all the tips and advice you need to get this taken care of.
It’s important that all members of the family are consistent and patient in correcting the pup for nipping/biting, and that you help your children to correct him rather than running or squealing etc. That type of reaction only gets him excited and will increase his desire to bite rather than decrease it. He’s basically a baby right now and you’ll need to be firm and loving and patient with him and give him the right guidelines in a consistent way.
Raising puppies is very similar to raising children and as you have kids, you will understand the principles involved. He will grow to be a big dog and it is easier to train him now rather than let him get confused and exhibit bad behavior then try to correct it later on.
Rottweilers are very intelligent dogs and eager to please, and I doubt very much that your pup is lacking in that department. What he’s lacking right now is clear guidelines and rules to follow, once you get some structure and consistency in his life he will improve. Like a human child he knows what he wants to do (eat underwear, nip while playing etc. etc.) but as his parent you know that’s not good for him. So take control (in a firm, calm and loving way)now, for his sake as well as your own.
I hope this helps and wish you the very best of luck with your pup.