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I'm having a bit of trouble with Jacques overthe past few days eating -- or perhaps more properly destroying sticks. Naturally, my fear is that he'll ingest some splintery shard of wood and find himself on an unexpected trip to the vet.


This endearing little habit is the function of boredom I am sure (as we typically play fetch during our walks, but I have tapered off as the ice has been really been tearing his paws up).


My quandary is that I can't find away to get him to stop. So far I have taken the sticks from him and put them out of reach (usually up in a tree or something). As this only seemed to be making a game out of it, I started putting him back on the leash. Here, however, I don't think he is making the connection and I also fear my kill-joy attitude could dampen his recall.


But the one thing this has taught me is that I've been greatly negligent in my training. I realize now that I don't have a command for "leave it" and can't really figure out how to communicate the thought in a constructive manner.


As always, any help/thoughts are appreciated.

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My dog also likes to destroy sticks by breaking them and then chewing the bark off them. I never worried much, till my sister's dog got a shard in her throat. The infection went all the way through to the outside of her neck, and she had to have a drain put in. (The first vet thought it was just a sore throat... and then about 18 hours later, the swelling on her neck appeared and burst under my BIL's inspection!) Ick!


I do watch my dog, and it seems as though the only thing he truly eats is old, loose bark, which he chews up. I also don't have any idea how to stop him from doing this. He will put down a stick or leave it alone as we walk (walking and sniffing is more interesting). So... that's not much help, but you're not alone! :rolleyes:



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Yeah my two do the same, just chew the bark. I of course dont throw sticks as I know the dangers of this, its just the ones they happen to find in the woods. Difficult one to stop really as when off leech they tend to just play about a lot, yes a `leave it` command would be handy in this situation. I have just spent a week training my rescue to `leave it` rewarding with treats as req. He gets it now and drops whatever he has, deffo a must command.


Good luck.



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Carlie loves to pick up sticks and tear them apart on our walks. This is unacceptable. She knows what 'leave it' means so we've gone a step farther. When I would see her pick up a stick I would march over, take it away fairly forcefully, throw it on the ground near us and say emphatically 'no stick!'. Now when she is even looking at a stick I can say 'no stick' and she'll quit even trying to get one. Since it is a safety issue I don't mess around with weeks of teaching her to leave the sticks alone. Once or twice of this treatment and she was done with sticks.


However, since she's not allowed to pick up sticks she now picks up trash, plastic bottles, cups, etc, that is on our walking greenway. I figure she's doing her part to clean up the environment so I now take a sack and praise her for bringing the bottles and just put them in the sack. At the end of our walk I toss it in a nearby trash can and feel good about us.



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Another option is to bring along an appropriate toy and redirect to that. Z likes to shred sticks too, but we prevent that by either redirecting to the tuggie I carry on walks, or by keeping her moving - she can't chew sticks if she's walking or playing a game of tug. :rolleyes:

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Ruth used to be a stick dog, and Belle likes to play with them (we take them away). I've often thought how useful it would be to teach a dog to retrieve something like aluminum cans instead of sticks. There's a least one (really rural) back road nearby where some slob throws his Miller beer cans out the window, probably going to or coming home from somewhere everyday. When the snow melts each spring, there's miles and miles of Miller beer cans, as well as assorted soda and beer cans from other slobs. With 23 cans to the pound, the recycling dollars can add up pretty darn fast.


I'd worry though that something icky or harmful may be in a can and sicken the dog when it grabbed it.

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