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I have a 12 week old pure-bred Dachshund puppy. When taking him for walks (actually one long sniff session, but that's another thing), I notice that she has a habit of picking up objects in her mouth and carrying them. Leaves, berries, sticks, bark, other animals waste, etc.

As we walk, she will kind of chuff her mouth, not really chewing, but it sort of sounds like she's sucking on the object. Eventually, after a short bit (usually depending on finding the next thing) she'll just drop whatever it is and keep going.

I must admit I don't recall the Lab puppy we had 25 years ago doing the same thing. Is this a Dachshund 'thing', or do I have faulty memory and it's done by all dogs?

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A dog will naturally use their mouth like we use our hands and so will pick up interesting things, like sticks, from time to time with their mouth. That's normal behavior in any dog and hard to correct for.

She may also be teething, though it seems a tad early. Nevertheless, a teething puppy will chew and chew a lot. Much for the same reason we did the same, the process of the teeth coming in is uncomfortable. If you have some good chew toys available for her, then that may distract her from some alternatives. In any event, if she is teething then be careful not to grab her mouth and try to avoid getting into the habit of letting her mouth people if she starts. Just disengage her from the undesirable chew subject and give her a toy for that purpose. After a while, she'll gravitate to the toy.

However, with respect to some of things she's picking up, there may be some cause for concern (I don't intend this to be alarmist though):

  1. Feces carry some risk of parasites. While, it's also normal for dogs to eat the feces of other animals (Karen Overall - Manual of Clinical Behaviour Medicine for Dogs and Cats) you should get her checked about every 6 months or so to make sure she hasn't picked up something.

  2. More pronounced behavior of this sort is commonly seen in dogs raised in a puppy mill or in pet stores where they haven't been fed well. Not uncommon, sadly, when the goal is to keep the dog smaller for sale purposes. If you know for sure this isn't the case, then just keep an eye on her health as I mentioned. If you don't know, it's probably a good idea to speak with your vet about other possible issues for a mill-raised puppy. Carefully handled with early and they shouldn't remain a problem.

The last two points are long-term items to consider. Like I said, I posted them to make you aware, not to be an alarmist.

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  • Thank you for your points. My puppy was born from my father's male and a friend's female, so I know that both her parents are Daschunds and that she was raised well. She's also actually 14 weeks now, I miscounted. She definitely has teeth and knows how to use them... we're currently trying to alter her biting/nipping/chewing behavior.
    – CGCampbell
    Jul 1 '14 at 13:29
  • @CGCampbell - Sounds like teething is a strong factor then, though her general behavior isn't really uncommon. A teething puppy, by the way, is one that is having the adult teeth come in, replacing their juvenile teeth. Glad to hear that she's not a mill-raised puppy. :)
    – Joanne C
    Jul 1 '14 at 13:32
  • Decided to come back here and do a little update. She's now 6+ years old and is a wonderful dog. She got over the behavior not long after I asked the question above (perhaps a few months). I thoroughly believe she was teething at the time. She still has some behaviors I have asked about in other questions here, but this one is pretty much a thing of the past.
    – CGCampbell
    Aug 13 '20 at 0:31

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