If your dog has been holding rocks in its mouth, this post will show you likely reasons why and what you can do about them.

So, why does my dog hold rocks in its mouth? Likely reasons why your dog holds rocks in its mouth are that it likes the feeling or that it is bringing them to you as a present.

There are a number of possible reasons why your dog has been doing it and it could be due to a combination of reasons. However, there are some things you can consider to help figure out the main cause and there are some things you can do about it.

Why does my dog hold rocks in its mouth?

Below are likely reasons why your dog holds rocks in its mouth and what would make each of them more likely.

Teething

The cause could be that it has started teething. This would be more likely if your dog is still young, it has started doing it suddenly and if it has started chewing on other things as well. In this case, it would help to give it other things to chew on such as bones or toys and to try to hide things that you do not want to be picked up.

Anxiety

Often dogs will carry things around, with their mouths, when they are anxious. Anxiety could be the reason why your dog has been doing it. This would be more likely if it tends to do it more when it is more likely to be anxious such as when you are leaving home.

Encouraging the behavior

It might also be the case that your dog has learned that the behavior is rewarded. If you tend to give your dog extra attention, treats or toys, when it holds rocks in its mouth, it will likely do it more in order to get more rewards.

Your dog is bringing it to you as a present

The cause might also be that it is giving the rocks to you as a present. This would be more likely if it tends to bring the rock its holding to you.

It simply likes the feeling

It could also be the case that it simply likes the way it feels to hold a rock in its mouth. This would be more likely if your dog has been doing it at random times and it does not seem to be doing it for rewards.

Exploring

Dogs will often explore their surroundings by putting things in its mouth and it might be the case that your dog holds rocks because it is exploring. This would be more likely if your dog does it when it goes to new locations and if it is still young.

Nutritional deficiencies

If your dog has also been eating rocks, it could be the case that your dog has been doing it due to nutritional deficiencies causing it to eat things that it should not be. In this case, it would help to discuss its diet with a vet.

Things to consider

Below are some things to consider to help figure out the main cause.

If your dog has always carried rocks in its mouth

If your dog has not always carried rocks in its mouth, it would help to consider what else happened when your dog first started doing it. If it started doing it suddenly, it might be the case that it learned that the behavior is rewarded, it had a change in its diet, or you started taking it to new places causing it to explore more.

The timing of when your dog carries rocks in its mouth

If there is a certain time that your dog tends to pick up rocks, it would also help to consider the timing. For example, if it does it more when you are walking it, the cause would be more likely to be that it simply likes the feeling.

What to do about my dog carrying rocks in its mouth?

Below are some things you can do about it.

Avoid encouraging it

As mentioned above, it might be the case that it has learned that the behavior is rewarded. Instead, it would help to avoid rewarding it when it carries rocks in its mouth and to reward it when it is behaving the way you want it to.

Give it other things to hold or chew on

Another option would be to give it things to carry that you don’t mind it carrying such as toys.

Redirect its focus

Another option would be to redirect its focus towards something else whenever it seems likely to pick something up. By doing so repeatedly, you should be able to get it out of the habit of picking up things that you do not want it to.

Get help

If your dog has been eating stones or pebbles, it would help to take it to a vet for a checkup. By doing so, you should be able to get expert advice tailored towards your particular dog and to rule out medical causes.

Author

I created and currently manage Pet Dog Owner, the website you can go to when you have questions about your dog's behavior. It is my hope that you find Pet Dog Owner to be a helpful resource. It is also my hope that it will help you to improve your relationship with your dog. You can read more about me and my website here.