Dogs love sticks; give them a stick and they will be occupied for as long as the stick remains intact. For some that's not long; others like to toss sticks around and play along with their destruction tactics. Last night we had a bonfire; it was so nice sitting around the fire, a nice glass of red wine in hand just chill'n. It wasn't long before Luke discovered the sticks; there were two types. One pile was split longs chopped down to kindling the other was sticks from pruning the trees. He went over and tried a nibble on the kindling and was quickly told to leave it. That was the last attempt at that pile; dried wood that has been split is very dangerous, too many splinters.
He next went over beside Dad where the pruned sticks were kept in a box; he stuck his head in the box of twigs and asked for one. These sticks although dry were still bendable and not the splintering type. Dad obliged and Luke quickly destroyed the stick. The objective for Luke is destruction; that's it, rip the stick to pieces and move onto the next. He returned to the box and asked for another one; gone. He went through about 10 sticks in a row within a 10 min. time span. He then asked for a stick and brought it over to his bed that was beside the fire; he chewed it with less purpose although still destroying it. Once it was in tiny pieces he went and asked for another and brought it back to his bed; this went on through the entire bonfire.
I love seeing dogs chew and play with sticks; it is quite a natural behavior. Even wild wolves play and chew sticks. Each and everyone of my dogs over the years has loved sticks. But there are precautions you need to take with sticks. Watch out for sticks that are so dry that they will splinter. Dogs tend to get wood stuck between their front teeth if they are grabbing bark and ripping it off. They appear to be choking when in fact they are attempting to get rid of whats caught between their teeth and need human assitance. Be very careful when throwing sticks; we had a horrible stick accident years ago with my very first dog Mandy (an airedale). My boyfriend at the time (now my hubby) threw a stick and it landed and stuck into the ground; as Mandy ran at full speed to retrieve the stick it jabbed into her mouth piercing her soft palate. If you are going to throw sticks; throw them sideways, not end over end.
Sticks are great fun; they don't cost anything and dogs love to destroy them. Luke was thoroughly entertained for the entire evening last night by the ever humble stick. My job this morning will be to clean up the piles of stick pieces left behind from all the fun. ;)