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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
So Mia is now 8 months and since she was little she has always enjoyed chewing sticks until recently...she starting eating them :confused:

So far it doesn't seem like she's suffering from any blockage, she's either vomited up little bits or it comes out in her poop but I need to figure out an effective way to tell her to stop.

Her appetite is really good and same with her energy levels.

I'm still working on her "leave it/drop it" command with sticks. Anything else like people, balls, toys etc she's great. I'm going to have to start carrying some high quality treats or boiled chicken with me when we go out to the park and keep training her on that command.

I thought maybe she didn't have enough things to chew but she's got her antler chew, yak chew and she's on a raw diet so she's always got bones to chew/eat. I thought maybe if I gave her a pork bone to chew on/eat before we headed out to the park she wouldn't feel less inclined to eat/chew sticks but she still does.

Has anyone else gone through this with their pup/dog? Did you have any really effective way to get them to stop? I didn't mind her chewing them but I definitely don't want her eating it!
 

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I would caution you about using "leave it/drop it", you are only putting more energy into the object of attraction, in this instance the stick. I would use a technique called bite and carry and make the object of attraction a toy instead. Bite and carry is achieved through playing tug with your dog and always letting them win.

I just spent the week before last remediating my dog from years of "leave it". I will never make that mistake again with any future puppy.
 

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@Gnostic Dog Thank you for your reply. Do you know how I can get more information on this technique? I tried googling it but nothing really came up.

We do play tug at home and I do let her win. What would be my next steps? How would I apply that do her stick eating habit?
 

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The aim is to get her to carry a toy in her mouth while out walking, but that can take a while for a dog to be able to achieve this. So always bring a toy with you on your walks. I will post a video of Neil Sattin demonstrating tug. At the end of the game let her walk/run away with the toy in her mouth and praise her exuberantly. What you need to do is build attraction to the toy, so she focuses her attention on that and not sticks. Whenever she gets hold of a stick, bring out the toy and start playing tug with her, the game ends when she can carry it off in her mouth. The reason for this is the bite and carry completes a "moment" from the dog's perspective and she gets resolution and satisfaction from the bite.

How to play tug of war with your dog – and have the happiest dog on the block. | Neil Sattin.com
 

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Do dogs grow out of eating sticks? Some do and some don't. Stella isn't into it like she was as a puppy but Tyrion really is.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
The aim is to get her to carry a toy in her mouth while out walking, but that can take a while for a dog to be able to achieve this. So always bring a toy with you on your walks. I will post a video of Neil Sattin demonstrating tug. At the end of the game let her walk/run away with the toy in her mouth and praise her exuberantly. What you need to do is build attraction to the toy, so she focuses her attention on that and not sticks. Whenever she gets hold of a stick, bring out the toy and start playing tug with her, the game ends when she can carry it off in her mouth. The reason for this is the bite and carry completes a "moment" from the dog's perspective and she gets resolution and satisfaction from the bite.

How to play tug of war with your dog – and have the happiest dog on the block. | Neil Sattin.com
Thank you for that link. I will have to find something she values more than the stick. She loves her tennis ball and I will bring it to the park all the time (she's ball obsessed - nothing else exists when I hold the ball) but...if she sees a stick she will drop the ball immediately and go for the stick. If I go to pick up the ball and show it to her, sometimes she will drop the stick and fetch the ball, other times she wont.

Funnily enough, when we go walk through the trails where there's sticks EVERYWHERE, she totally ignores them. She's more interested in running around and sniffing everything. lol Go figure.
 

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You can play "It's Yer Choice" with sticks! The idea is to teach dogs to exercise self-control, rather than always having to control them -- i.e. that sticks become a cue to exercise self-control, rather than you needing to constantly tell him to "leave it." Like all games of this type, it depends quite a bit on your ability to control access to the resource (sticks, in this case), so YMMV.

Here's one version of the game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zhcv6yrYI-g

I'd recommend starting with treats, because that's such a straightforward way to teach your dog the mechanics. That way, when you move on to a toy or a stick, he'll already have some idea of how to "win." But once you do move onto sticks, you have a nice advantage in being able to use the thing that your dog has already told you is high-value in that environment (a stick) to motivate the behavior you want (self-control).

The idea is that you control the resource, not the dog. So you begin with treats in your hand, and close your fist to prevent the dog accessing them (if necessary) -- you don't say or do anything to inhibit the dog. So the dog learns that his actions control his access to the thing he wants, which is a very motivating thing indeed. As the dog gets better at exercising self-control, you can advance the game to make things more complex, but always adjusting as you go (if you find your dog suddenly lunging for the treats, you know you've made things too hard too quickly; if your dog wanders off, you've probably let things get a little boring; etc.. It's all just feedback for the next iteration). It's a great game for adolescent dogs, since self-control is such a useful life skill in general!
 
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