I have an American Eskimo Dog who LOVES to eat sticks.
I’ve tried all sorts of things to discourage this behavior, but it continues nonetheless. The removal of some dead trees this fall left behind some tasty morsels which we did our best to rake up, but whenever the wind blows or the squirrels get to playing, new sticks are deposited in the yard.
With snow on the ground, he’s developed a particular affinity for “stick-sicles.” He loves poking his nose in the snow and rooting around for the perfect one. Then he happily lays in the snow, enjoying his special treat.
I’ve tried keeping them out. I scold him and confiscate the sticks when I catch him. I finally blocked off the most offending area of the yard. All to no avail.
He’s a sneaky bastard.
He heads over to the area that I’ve blocked off, finds a stick-sicle, then hides where he thinks I can’t see him and chews away. I keep an eye on him as best I can, but he loves this cold weather far more than I do.
I’ve tried to get him to switch to other, less harmful things to chew on, but apparently nothing is quite the same as a good stick. He just doesn’t seem to enjoy the artificial replacements like antlers and bones as much as the natural taste and feel of his precious sticks.
I worry that he’ll move on to bigger and harder wood. Trying to score a two-by-four from the remodel across the street. Heading to Maine for some juicy maple or to California for a nice big redwood. Pretty soon he’ll be hitchhiking to South America in search of ironwood.
I’ve done my best to implement a prohibition on sticks, but it just doesn’t work. He will take advantage of any opportunity to get one to chew on. Now, he’s turned it into a game of hide-n-seek with me hunting for his hiding places. If he could get the other dogs to cooperate, I’m sure he’d create his own little black market empire.
Our solution for now is to allow him brief and supervised time with his sticks. He can chew on them outside for a few minutes, but he’s not allowed to bring them in the house. We watch for any signs of damage to his digestive tract. Let’s just call it harm reduction.
So if prohibition doesn’t work with my dog and his sticks, why do we think it would work with humans and marijuana or any other drug?