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Discussion Starter #1
My six month Lab has developed a habit of chewing sticks on his walk. The wood is mainly 'passed' in the usual way but sometimes he regurgitates it. Couple of days ago, he got a piece wedged in his upper jaw and it took three of us to get it out! It could have been so much worse had it stuck in his throat. Does anyone have any ideas how I can discourage him from picking up and chewing sticks on our walks? We don't have dedicate dog parks in the UK and St Louis Park is a fairly enclosed area that is fairly safe to let your dog off leash. There's a group of us who meet up after dropping the kids off at school and the dogs play together...it's and old cow field that was left vacant when the estate was built so dog walkers (and everyone else) could have a recreation area.
 

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It's very common for dogs ,especially that age, to chew sticks. When Bruno was that age, I removed sticks stuck across the roof of his mouth a few times. Once he vomited enough small twigs to make a bird nest. He still likes to chew sticks at age two.
All you can do is watch him and teach "drop it" and "leave it".
 

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I will be waiting for an answer to this. Kate is 8 months old & still chews sticks. When she picks one up & runs with it in the yard my heart is in my throat. "Leave it" will only cause her to drop the one she has & move on to find another one. I truly thought with about three feet of snow on the ground she would be okay. No way.....she digs around & found some. I also wonder when she will grow out of this.
 

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My dogs chew on sticks all the time. They don't normally swallow them though. They usually just shred them apart. I've never had a problem with it.
 

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Magnum is my stick chewer and she's 9 years old. She shred them, doesn't eat them.

When Ruger was little he ate a ton of sticks, I didn't worry about it. He passed them or vomited them like you describe. He outgrew his desire to eat them.

My only suggestion would be to have something better than a stick for your dog so you could "trade" it. But if you do this consistently you will end up teaching your dog to find you sticks in return for a treat :)
 

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"Leave it" will only cause her to drop the one she has & move on to find another one.
I'd continue to review LEAVE IT, then. LEAVE IT means exactly that. Whatever it is that you're heading to, picking up, nosing around, about to consume/lick/ingest/chew/carry/play with, FORGET IT!!!

If you've burned out the words "leave it," retrain w/something else. FORGET IT maybe. Or NO TOUCH. NO MOUTH. NO CARRY. Or something.....
 

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Does he retrieve?

If not, teach him.

Then get some training dummies (we use the 2 X 12" "Lucky Dog" brand from www.gundogsupply.com ). If you throw these, he'll run after them and ignore the sticks.

ETA -- do NOT let your dog chew on these. They're for retrieving. Use bones or something for chewing on.

 

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Discussion Starter #9
Oh yes, he's learnt that one...sometimes the same bit of stick he's just been rewarded for 'dropping'... ;) He doesn't get a chance when his 'best friend' Tikka is around - he's too busy trying to keep his stick. One of the other regular meet ups suggested I give him something to carry on his walk - a sort of canine dummy (pacifier). I worry in case he gets hurt. You would think after the one episode he would have learned but i guess they don't.

As for retireiving , he will run after something and sometimes bring it back, but he prefers it when one of his 'little friends' goes charging aftera ball, stick whatever...he will lie in wait then pounce on them when they're bringing it back. They run 30, 40 yards or more...he will run about 2!!! ;)
 

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As for retireiving , he will run after something and sometimes bring it back, but he prefers it when one of his 'little friends' goes charging aftera ball, stick whatever...he will lie in wait then pounce on them when they're bringing it back. They run 30, 40 yards or more...he will run about 2!!!
Then I strongly suggest you teach him to retrieve ASAP. :smile:

It's a great way to give them exercise.

SOME Labs retrieve without any training.

Many Labs need some training to get the program in place.

And once they learn, it's usually their most enjoyable thing to do in life -- far better and healthier than chewing sticks.

You can easily train at meal times using the NILIF method. Here's one way:

Fasten a 50 ft line to your Lab's collar and then throw a favorite toy 25' or so away so he'll run after it and grab it.

Call him back and if he doesn't come, pull him back with the line.

As soon as he returns, say "Give!" and exchange a few mealtime kibbles from your hand for the toy.

Repeat, throwing the toy in different directions.

Vary the place you do this (back yard, front yard, vacant fields, pond, etc.) so your dog generalizes that this retrieving game can be played anywhere.

 
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