Flag

Q: Stop Eating Sticks!

April 16, 2009 | By Lherbertson | 9 answers | Expired: 1950 days ago

Lherbertson

How do I get my dog from eating sticks? No lie, he chews them and swallows the pieces. He does know "leave it", but it's frustrating to say "leave it" every 3 seconds on a walk. (I live in a wooded area.) Two weeks ago he ate a piece of the neighbor's treated mulch and got very sick. The vet bills were pretty high. I don't know where the obsession came from. We only play fetch with his toys and ball.

Is there a way to make him lose all interest in sticks?

Readers' Answers (9)
Amy S.
Flag

Apr 16, 2009

Don't give up hope! There is a way to keep him from eating sticks. This is what I would do. When you go on a walk put a few treats in your pocket, or in something so that you can grab one quickly. Instead of using his collar use a choker chain. (Not the kind that pinches his neck.) Slide it to the top of his neck just before the ears. Have the leash held above his head. Every time he goes down to pick up a stick, tug on the leash gently but firmly. The minute his head pops up, praise him like mad, give him a treat and keep walking. Keep doing this until his sessions of grabbing a stick become more spread out. Then give him treats only once in a while, and just praise.

If you do not feel comfortable using a choker chain. Then tell him "leave it" but instead of walking on, praise him and give him a treat. And do the same thing, when his sessions of grabbing a stick and chewing on it become spread out. Give him a treat every other time, etc. Have patience!

Thumbs Up: 1 | Thumbs up!

Caly  L.
Flag

Apr 17, 2009

My dog, Randy, loves sticks too! That being said, I loved your question and all the feedback. I have heard that there's really not much harm in dogs chewing sticks, so I don't worry about it much. Every now and then though, I wonder....so good question!

Thumbs Up: 1 | Thumbs up!

Laura S.
Flag

Apr 16, 2009

I agree with the previous commenter. Here's another suggestion, carry with you a treat that is shaped like a stick or even a toy that's shaped like a stick. If you condition your dog to replace the actual "real" stick, with a fake chew toy or treat that is in the shape of a stick, he will start to learn and associate that the rubber stick or treat is better than the real deal.

I highly recommend not scolding your dog if he does something bad but replacing that bad behavior with a good substitute.

However, don't always use treats to reward all the time, the dog, like mine, will become too dependent on treats and totally miss the point.

Thumbs Up: 0 | Thumbs up!

You might also enjoy:

Got a question about your pet? Get the answers you need from Zootoo's community of pet experts and owners.

Advertisement

Advertisement