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Note to self: Don’t replant tree seedlings at dogs-eye-level if you have a dog that thinks sticks are toys!
Our little Tenor (who, at 80 lbs. really isn’t so little anymore, but will always be the littlest of our dogs in terms of being the youngest, most puppy-like) has a thing for sticks.
So much so, that this Spring, he realized he was out of freshly fallen twigs in the backyard itself, that he started going after low-lying tree branches and shrubs in our “garden” area!
At first, I didn’t much care for the shrubs in the backyard that he was breaking off and munching on, so I didn’t care. Plus, those bushes grow like weeds, so I figured even if he broke off a few branches, they’d grow back in no time.
I didn’t stop him early enough, and he’s managed to bite off smaller and smaller branches — to the point that 2 of the 3 shrubs are practically GONE, and the last one is a mere skeleton of its former self.
Pecan Trees Are Mighty Tasty!
Most recently, Tenor found the Pecan Tree that I had re-potted into a medium-sized ceramic pot, and (like an idiot) placed below the big Red Japanese Maple tree.
This is precisely where the dogs love to play …and search for new tree branches!
The first picture on this page is Tenor showing me his new find — or at least the portion of it he had left intact. There were about 6 more inches to this branch before Tenor got ahold of it, and there were lots of little individual budding branches beginning to show their face.
Not any more!
Tenor’s got quite a track record when it comes to stripping trees & shrubs of their branches…
Our Dogs Love Sticks
The good news: Tenor doesn’t actually ingest these sticks, or the leaves.
One unusual “trick” that we’ve taught each of our dogs is to crack the shell from peanuts in order to get to the nut inside.
Oddly enough, they seem to view sticks in much the same way, minus the tasty insides. Our dogs can spend hours biting sticks into smaller and smaller pieces — with absolutely no intention of eating them. In fact, each gets this funny look on his face if a shard of tree bark has fallen into his mouth. It is simply the act of snapping and breaking twigs that they seem to enjoy so much.
IMPORTANT: I realize that sticks can be very dangerous for dogs — especially if they happen to ingest even a small portion of one, and even moreso if the plant that the stick came from is poisonous to dogs. My dogs also tend to chase one another — with sticks in their mouths — trying to be the last one with the smallest piece at any given moment. I do my best to supervise the dogs any time they’re playing with sticks, and anytime I say “drop it” they do.
The best news: I think I’ve managed to break Tenor of this behavior, and he is no longer biting off branches from our “live” trees & shrubs. Whew!
And we are finally seeing some new regrowth on the trees and shrubs in our garden.
More Photos Of My Dogs With Sticks
Here are a couple more photos I snapped of our dogs playing with sticks found in the backyard:
#1 – Destin (the big one) is playing keep-away with Tenor (the little one). See that tiny stub of a stick that’s barely poking out of Destin’s mouth? This is actually quite dangerous, and I’d encourage you to stop your dogs if they are running with sticks in their mouths. (Which I promptly did… right after I snapped this photo!)
Giving Chase For A Stick Stub
#2 – Well now we know where Tenor gets it from. This is a picture of Destin as a puppy searching for sticks in our yard. Destin discovered sticks at 2 months of age. It doesn’t matter that the stick is bigger than he is! He can kill a couple hours gnawing on a good stick. Despite the fact that this picture is out of focus, it’s one of my favorites.
Big Stick, Little Dog!
I like to help Dog Parents find unique ways to do things that will save time & money — so I write about "outside the box" Dog Tips and Dog Hacks that most wouldn't think of. I’m a lifelong dog owner — currently have 2 mixed breed Golden Aussies that we found abandoned on the side of the road as puppies. I've always trained my own dogs and help friends train theirs, as well. Professionally, I worked at a vet and have several friends who are veterinarians — whom I consult with regularly. (And just because I love animals so much, I also worked at a Zoo for awhile!) I've been sharing my best ideas with others by blogging full-time since 1998 (the same year that Google started… and before the days of Facebook and YouTube). My daily motivation is to help first-time dog owners be better prepared from the first day your new puppy enters your home. I like to help dog owners understand what's 'normal' and what you can expect in terms of living with and training your dog — how to get through the ups & downs of potty training, chewing, teaching commands, getting your dog to listen, and everything else that takes place during that hectic first year! When I'm not training, walking, grooming, or making homemade treats for my dogs, you will find me at the corner of Good News & Fun Times as publisher of The Fun Times Guide (32 fun & helpful websites). To date, I've written over 500 articles for dog owners on this site!