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Old July 7th, 2006, 06:06 PM
EmilyCat EmilyCat is offline
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Location: Canada
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Rock Problem

My five year old rott/germ sheppard has a little problem at the beach. If we are anywhere near water and rocks he will start to obsessively play with them. A bull horn could not get his attention.

The playing is not the problem, it is how he plays. He takes a big rock and pushes it down the beach to the water with his nose and paws. When he gets to the water he picks it up in his mouth and then runs back up the beach to start the process allover again. Picking up the rocks in his mouth can not be good. We havenít had any tooth chips yet but it must be hard on them.

We have tried a soft muzzle. It keeps him from picking up the rock but it irritates him and his face is all rubbed after. He also hates it with a passion and barely makes it to the beach because he is fighting with it. I also worry about the restriction on his mouth when he is so active. He can still pant, but not a good long tongue pant.

Avoiding the beach altogether is not a very good option because we live in the city and that is the dog park in our area. Everywhere else he has to be on lead.

We have tried to get him to swim, but he is too afraid.

If anyone had any ideas I would be very appreciative.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 06:18 PM
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dogmelissa dogmelissa is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Calgary, Alberta
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Is there anyway you can prevent him from getting to the rocks? Keep him on a leash, go to a different beach (where there's only sand)? Or can you make it a different game--if he mostly pushes a certain rock with his nose, then you sit on the beach and make it a game for him to push the rocks to you, and when he gets there, you throw the rock for him to go get again, or put it in a bucket or something where he can't pick it up?
Something like teaching your dog to play soccer, I'd think. He might not go for it... in which case you might have to choose not to take him to the beach at all.

How long have you had him? Is this a recent behaviour? I would wonder if he has a problem in his mouth and this is how he's trying to solve it?

I found this forum post that might help: http://tinyurl.com/op6nb (I found this on a search, I'm loyal to pets.ca!)

As for the not swimming part, I wouldn't force it. See my thread: http://www.pets.ca/forum/showthread.php?t=28205 it might offer some suggestions to getting him to swim. You might need to get him a lifejacket if he's muscle-bound or just doesn't get the concept (yes they make them for large dogs).

Hope that helps,
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Old July 7th, 2006, 08:20 PM
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Lissa Lissa is offline
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Location: Ottawa, Ontario
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Both of my dogs have done and do the same thing... I haven't figured out a way to deter them , I let them play with small rocks because they enjoy it so much and haven't had a problem with chipped teeth... I hope it stays that way
"Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to."
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Old July 7th, 2006, 08:29 PM
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doggy lover doggy lover is offline
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The dog I had as a kid never played with a ball, always ball sized rocks. He did end up with chipped teeth but he would throw them in the air and catch them. People at the kennels use to look at you funny when you asked to put his rock in with him to play with. Tucker will pick up the odd rock and tosses it around but he lets them fall on the ground, thankfully.
A man who looks into a collie's eye to receive an icy stare is but a fool. Be at one with man's best friend and through his eyes you will see his very soul.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 10:57 PM
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glasslass glasslass is offline
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Some doggies are just "rock hounds"! couldn't resist! Have you tried taking a ball or something else for him to play with?
When I was young, I admired clever people. Now that I am old, I admire kind people. -Abraham Joshua Heschel, theology professor (1907-1972)
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Old July 21st, 2006, 04:01 PM
EmilyCat EmilyCat is offline
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Thank you all for your comments and suggestions.

To dogmelissa: Our dog, Cutter, has been doing this since we moved 1 and Ĺ years ago. This is the only off lead dog park in our area. We do try and take him other places, but he canít run and play.

We have started to throw the rocks up the beach so he doesnít pick it up and carry it. We made it a game like you suggested and that seems to be helping out. We have also tried to find big rock that he just canít pick up.

We also tried a ball, but he just kicks it into the water and then it floats away. I was thinking about trying a lacrosse ball that sinks.

Thank you also for your swimming information.
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Old July 27th, 2006, 09:23 PM
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OntarioGreys OntarioGreys is offline
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Location: Woodstock, ON
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Try balls with some weight to them , like indian rubber or a baseball
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