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Tips for Dogs that Eat Sticks, Rocks, & Other Stuff Outside


Dog Chewing PineconeDoes your dog eat sticks, rocks, pinecones, acorns or other objects while out in the yard or on a walk? It is especially dangerous if your dog eats sticks and rocks since they can injure the mouth and cause intestinal blockages that can require surgery.

Sometimes puppies eat inappropriate things and grow out of it, but other times it can become a habit and continue into adulthood. If your adult dog continues to eat things that are not food, it is a behavior disorder called pica that you should ask your vet about.

I've come up with some tips on training dogs not to eat stuff that they shouldn't. These tips are meant to be used while you are in the great outdoors with your dog and supervising him or her. If your dog is eating things while alone in the yard, the best solution I know of is to make sure your dog's needs are being met (exercise, toys, etc) and to keep him or her in an area where there is less potential for "getting into trouble", such as a gated area or crate and only allow your dog access to "the great outdoors" when you are there to supervise.

Training: Here are two different ways to train your dog to leave objects like rocks and sticks alone. If your dog has a very dangerous problem with eating items, I would not rely on training alone and would use one of the prevention methods discussed below such as the muzzle.

  1. Let's start out easy and obvious! If the swallowing of rocks or sticks is happening while your dog is off leash, sometimes simply putting a leash on your dog can help you be more aware of your dog so that you can interrupt the behavior of eating things. It is also helpful to keep your dog busy with other activities such as playing with a toy, or interacting with you while outdoors. Think of some behaviors you could reward with treats such as checking in with you, playing with a toy or playing "hide and seek" with you. This will keep your dog's mind off of searching for things on the ground to swallow. If your dog is eating things while in the yard by him or herself, the best advice I can think of is to not allow your dog outside unsupervised or create an outdoor area with no "eatables".

  2. If your dog has only a mild issue with eating things and you would be happy to be able to tell him when you want him to leave something alone, then you can use this method to train your dog to "Leave it". You can substitute the food described in the article with the item that your dog tends to want to eat. Then practice "Leave It" on walks. If you want to take this to the next level, you can teach your dog to automatically leave the item without even having to  say "leave it". Instead, you go through the exercise in the article with the object and teach the dog that he or she will be rewarded when she turns away from the item even when you don't say anything. You can even progress to being able to have your dog leave the item when you are out of sight. The trick getting your dog to leave items in "real life" using this method is paying attention to when your dog "leaves" something so that you can continue to reward him or her. If your dog is "leaving" rocks and you are not rewarding it, he or she will quickly learn that this new trick is not so fun and go back to the old habit of picking up rocks. If your dog already has the stick or rock in his mouth you can ask your dog to "drop it" and exchange for a treat. However, be careful of doing too many "drop its" with a dog that likes to pick up objects as you may inadvertently be rewarding the dog for picking things up. Try to do a lot more "leave its" than "drop its" on a walk.

Prevention: For dogs with serious issues with eating inappropriate items you will need to use a device of some in order to be sure to keep him or her safe. Of course, doing training as explained above is always a good idea too! Please note, that using a one of these methods below is not the recommended solution for dogs that eat items while alone because your dog will likely find a way to get it off.

  • Many people have success using a basket muzzle on their dog. It's important to take a lot of time teaching your dog to wear the muzzle because at first your dog will most likely find it very unpleasant and try to get it off. With time your dog can learn the muzzle means good things like treats and walks.

  • Another idea to use to stop your dog from eating objects while outside is a new product called the Outfox which was invented to prevent a dog from getting foxtails, but I think would fit the bill perfectly for preventing "grazing".

  • Another option that can work is an elizabethan collar (cone) like those put on dogs after surgery, that is longer than your dog's snout so that your dog cannot reach the ground in order to pick up things. This is probably the most cumbersome of the three choices, but your dog might find it the most comfortable (ask him or her!). 

My first dog Gigo, had a big problem with eating sticks and while it was not as relaxing to go for a walk with him, he sure had a great "leave it"! If you have any other ideas to share with us, please leave them in the comments below! Happy training! 


Write a Comment!

Author: Geraldina Glenister
my whippet is 4 & I have noticed the interest in sticks happens when I'm paying attention to others & their dogs, he knows it's naughty so I will use the leave it method & see if it works!
Author: Geraldina Glenister
my whippet is 4 & I have noticed the interest in sticks happens when I'm paying attention to others & their dogs, he knows it's naughty so I will use the leave it method & see if it works!
Author: Tayo
Home. And aggravated The price chngeas that were supposed to come down today are not coming until tomorrow. And I don't have anything else to do tomorrow. Except put away the order I'm getting, take down all the Christmas decorations, change a bakeware display to a storage container display and get ready for inventory on Wednesday. Never in all my life have I seen such a sloppily organized set-up I know I'm going to end up with a bunch of crap that I'll have to save till next year. I still have a ton of turkey lacers and pop-up timers left from last year, and of course they sent me a new case of them this year. Because the reason for doing inventory (so purchasing knows what is in the stores and can order accordingly) is evidently not the reason WE do inventory. I still have not figured out what that reason is yet So I guess I will clean my house http://ecpcut.com [url=http://jsbmynuj.com]jsbmynuj[/url] [link=http://uvuvtipjpg.com]uvuvtipjpg[/link]
Author: cooper
Why do dogs eat the sticks? My dog is not bored but loves to chew and swallow the sticks?
Is he bored or lacking something in his diet?
Author: Jose
I believe ineontvry has something to do with taxes not ordering, but I understand your frustration. Sounds as if the company needs a good ineontvry control system which lets one know what items are available and in which store. Barbara, good luck with the snow. Cassie will have enough chances at snow during the rest of the school year. One of my nieces is home for the holidays from Delaware. She may have issues getting back.I slept through the morning and may well do that this afternoon. My body doesn't want to get into gear. May be all the good food. Have I ever mentioned how I love turkey and dressing? Members of my family are dressed warmly and are at the Chief's game. I have cranked up my furnace to evening rather than my normal daytime setting of 60. http://ekhfrmnojw.com [url=http://gpzjcjb.com]gpzjcjb[/url] [link=http://xrvqagmzj.com]xrvqagmzj[/link]
Author: steph
Our 4 dachshunds eat sticks and rocks. But mostly sticks, I mean they will go up to the tree and actually pull the branches off so they can then sit and patiently eat them. Its the funniest thing I've ever seen. The don't really eat all of them they just kind of chew on the pieces and let them fall out of their mouth. Weird.
Author: GoldenDoodle💜
My dog is a GoldenDoodle as well and eats rocks! I keep on finding him throwing it up and It makes me worried.
Author: Tricia
My poovanese is 7 months and loves to eat sticks. It worries me and he will also pull a branch off a tree to eat. I take them away and redirect his attention to something else but I am sure I am not catching all of hem. At what point will they make him sick?
Author: Katie
Hilarious and helpful! My beagle has been doing this in my condo parking lot. My neighbors think that she is a drug dog. Thank you!
Author: Kandi
My puppies, dobermans, love to eat rocks and soft sticks! It is equally annoying and worrisome. I have noticed my male doberman pooping the rocks! We live in the country and tiny rocks are EVERYWHERE. It is impossible to keep them both from the rocks. Even more annoying is the fact that the male puppy has learned he can get the tiny rocks and hide underneath our Japanese Maple because I can't fit under there to get him.
Author: aileen
My goldendoodle also is a stick eater! I found this after googling how to stop the stick eating, i guess its a doodle thing.
Author: John
I've found my new puppy chewing on sticks and rocks and it's been both worrying and annoying. Thanks for the clear outline of some options to look at that might help.

Author: Gaye
My Pom has pica. It's horrible and we are now trying to find a muzzle that will fit him. He's under 7 pounds and I haven't been able to find one. It's more than difficult as the vet says he is in good nutritious health. I need help!!! I'm scared for him
Author: karen
Our doodle likes rocks and we can't get her to stop any suggestions?
Author: Unknowns
My dog eats and swallows socks and then pukes them up it is getting very dangerous for him and we are keeping him at a friends house who has a toddler and he has a bunch of small Tory's an things so I am going to try a muzzle on him 😔
Author: GoldenDoodle💜
My dog is a GoldenDoodle as well and eats rocks! I keep on finding him throwing it up and It makes me worried.
Author: momofthree
my maltipoo eats sticks, dirt and ROCKS! cries when i take them away and scold him.
Author: basil
Currently as I type this my dog is standing under a tree whining because he wants to eat the sticks in the tree after he ate all the sticks on the deck (he's a Vizla).
Author: broadway crawler
my goldendoddle loves to eat sticks. I even find sticks in her poop! Her brother eats sticks once in a while (lab dane mix) but not as ravenously as the doddle. She looks at me while she is chomping away like hahaha I'm eating sticks and you can't stop me !
Author: Nechella Bundrage
my brothers Bull Master is always eating sticks... he was sick recently. my nrother said he had a tapeworm. but i think its because he eats a lot of sticks and sometimes socks.... He was losing weight rapidly....
Author: vqckleqosa
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Author: Liza Fernandez
@Jennie Mele I feel for you...we had the same problem with our dog also: biting, scratching. Well, you can find guides that solve this and other training issues. Be careful tho, most of the information on the internet is totally useless. Both my husband and I work a lot and had no time to take our Bud to dog training classes. We asked one friend who works in foster care (he is always surrounded by dogs) what we should do. He recommended one online dog behavior trainer. I love this trainer http://bit.ly/1QfdUHX
It helped us a lot, and I strongly recommend it for you.
Author: robin
my 1 1/2 yr old lab beagle mix rescue eats leaves, sticks on occasion but now he has an obsession with rocks all of a sudden. chewing on big ones...he cant eat just chew. now hes bringing them to me. i throw them away and he stands there looking at where i threw them at. i swear dogs are like children. they throw tandrums. lol
Author: John
I've found my new puppy chewing on sticks and rocks and it's been both worrying and annoying. Thanks for the clear outline of some options to look at that might help.

Author: GoldenDoodle💜
My dog is a GoldenDoodle as well and eats rocks! I keep on finding him throwing it up and It makes me worried.
Author: Raj
she has told her boys that Santa only comes to those who believe in him. And that led to dissocsiuns of when we all discovered the Christmas truth and on to the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy. Niece said she was quite proud that she had never missed an event of the tooth fairy, etc. One night, however, the children had especially be fraying her nerves. She put them to bed with the warning, Don't come out of here unless your hair is on fire. The next morning, her oldest commented that the tooth fairy had missed him. What?, my niece exclaimed, as she know nothing about a lost tooth. The son explained that the tooth was loose, so he wiggled it and when it came out put it under the pillow for the tooth fairy who did not show up. It was taken care of the next night.But a friend, she noted, did not know a son had lost a tooth and after four nights, the kid came out and threw the tooth into the trash, dissing the tooth fairy. At some point a dollar bill showed up in the trash.Great nephew from India had declared the Santa with whom he was photographed was not the real one, but a helper. And he knew that because of the holly on the cap. Santa doesn't have that. But he was a bit closer to believing it was real when he got his Wi, which he had whispered into the fake Santa's ear. An uncle gave the India visitor a small snow shovel for Christmas. He will keep it at his grandparents for winter visits.
Author: Farah
Dorothy and Toto Clown and clown puppy, how cute! Vet and dog! Dog Trainer and dog Cowgirl and Dog (get you puppy a little hat, etc Cheerleader and Mascot! The Cottonelle puppy! How cut would that be! I'm not sure what you would be tohguh. Maybe his Agent and dress up in dark sunglasses and holding a clipboard, etc. Scooby and Scrappy Doo Scrappy Doo and Velma or one of the other people from the Mystery Gang Movie Star and Pampered Pooch This is all I can think of right now, but there are SO many other things to think of! Be VERY, VERY careful with your puppy be out on Halloween, there are SO many people out and lots of people that aren't paying attention to anything other than children. Make sure to get LOTS of reflectors on his/her collar AND leash so that your puppy is seen in the night time and day time. You don't want anything happening. Also, you have to be careful with kids being out in masks and dressed up, it could scare the puppy and he/she may end up biting someone. Not out of being vicious, but out of being scared. Lots of dogs and puppies get scared being there are so many people dressed oddly and they are not used to seeing people like this and it scares them. They can bite out of fear. Please be aware of this. You're probably better off taking your puppy out during the daylight hours and then having him/her be dressed for when answering the door and handing out candy. You also have to be careful bringing your puppy to houses with dogs that may not get along with other dogs. If something should happen that your dog gets hurt, it will end up being YOUR fault because that dog is in it's own house and you are the own bringing the other dog on it's property. I am NOT trying to make you mad or upset you, I just do NOT want to see something happen to you cute little puppy on a fun a night. I think it's adorable that you want to include him/her in your costume, but there's SO much to think about! I know my dog would freak if another dog came on his property trick or treating. Even dogs that get along with other animals, that goes out the window when that animal is on their property, they get VERY territorial. All my dogs were like that, they loved other dogs, just NOT on their property. If a big dog should see your puppy and get loose and run out of the house, it could lead you and your puppy to getting attacked, and that would be horrible! PLEASE think about these things before taking your puppy out for Halloween! Maybe just dress the puppy up to answer the door with you and hand out candy, she/he may still get scared with the masks, but you can judge that, that night, and take it from there and if that should happen, remove him/her from doing it. Otherwise, you two can have fun answering the door together, everyone would get a kick out of seeing you both dressed together!
Author: Geraldina Glenister
my whippet is 4 & I have noticed the interest in sticks happens when I'm paying attention to others & their dogs, he knows it's naughty so I will use the leave it method & see if it works!