Why do dogs like sticks so much. Well, it may just be a stick to you and me, but to your dog it’s a thing of beauty with all sorts of uses. It makes him feel wild and tough, it tantalises his senses, especially his nose, and it’s good for his health. It’s even a bit like tasting a non-alcoholic drink as we shall see.
There is no doubt that dogs make great family pets. They are instinctively pack animals and will return the love from their owner 100 times over.
For centuries, people have been proud to include their pet dog as part of the family, but there are a few canine traits that us humans still don’t quite understand… like why do dogs like sticks so much?
Well, in a similar fashion to the way our pet pooches love to scour and sniff every corner of the outdoors when they are on their walks, we have checked with the experts to find out.
We have dug deep and chewed it over, and have come up with a list of the five top reasons dogs love sticks.
One of the main reasons why dogs like sticks is that they are similar in size and shape to bones. We all know dogs love chewing on a bone, because of the meaty flavour and the delicious bone marrow inside. Sticks may not have the same great taste as bones, but they do serve as a substitute and offer something great to chew on and get those jawbones working.
It can be compared to humans having a non-alcoholic beer when out with friends. Although it is not as good as the real thing, you get to enjoy the experience and the sensation of a beer, it is exactly the same with dogs and their sticks.
The second reason we found for dogs loving sticks, is that they are full of great smells.
Dogs have a sense of smell that is somewhere between 10,000 to 100,000 times more acute than ours.
Although we cannot tell, their sticks are packed with fantastic smells from the outdoors, such as forest animals, plants, trees and the earth itself.
Dogs like to keep those smells close to them, since exploring outdoors is their favourite thing to do, and if they are lucky enough to be allowed to bring their stick into the house, they can sniff the outdoors all night long.
One of the other main reasons why dogs like sticks is that they see them as a prize.
Don’t forget, that dogs are primarily hunters, and their wild ancestors would have to go and find, and catch, their dinner everyday.
This basic instinct is still very much present in our domesticated pets, and they like to think they can mix it with their feral cousins such as the African hyena or the North American wolf.
So, once our dogs have finished foraging and exploring, they like to select the best stick available, to take home as their prize.
It is a symbol of a successful hunt!
The more we praise our dogs for finding a good stick, the more they will try to repeat the trick on their next walk!
After all, in your position as the leader of the pack, your praise means everything to your dog, and they will want to impress and please you as much as they can.
There is another reason that dogs love sticks so much, and this one is not behavioural.
Chewing on a stick can be good for your dog’s teeth and gums. If your dog is suffering any pain inside its mouth, then chewing on a stick can offer some relief.
The wood from some trees, such as the Willow, actually contain pain relieving properties, so chewing on them and releasing the sap can be a great way to take the edge off sore gums or toothache.
So, if your dog is especially attached to one stick in particular, it could be because it has these pain relieving properties.
If they try to bring it home, don’t be too harsh, maybe let them store it in the garden!
So, we have covered four of the main reasons dogs love sticks so far.
1. Sticks are good substitutes for bones
2. Sticks have great smells
3. Sticks are a prize
4. Sticks can relieve sore teeth or gums
What about number five?
The fifth reason we found for dogs loving sticks is quite simple, sticks are fun!
They can serve as a chew toy, or be used in a game of fetch, and even in a game of tug of war between dog and owner.
Never forget, spending quality time with you is the best time your dog could possibly have. You are the leader of the pack, and your dog will stay by your side forever.
So, to enjoy some fun together with the topdog of the group is just perfect, but don’t think your dog is going to give up that stick without a fight!
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