“Hello, my name is Fletcher, and I’m a stick-a-holic” is precisely what I imagine Fletcher would say should he be able to speak. I need help, my dog’s stick addiction which is quite frankly out of control. Is there such a thing as doggy rehab?
It all started when he was a puppy when I harmlessly threw a stick as I had forgotten the ball. Oh what a mistake that was! Since that day, he has no interest in a tennis ball as sticks are much more mucky and fun.
I’m fully aware throwing sticks is highly dangerous for dogs and my heart skips a beat with fear every time Fletcher picks one up on our walk. However what started out as an innocent chase now and then has evolved into an obsession. He won’t run unless he is chasing a stick, he sniffs out his own and drops them at your feet or bashes them into your legs as he runs past at full speed, and more recently he has discovered sticks come from trees. If a branch is overhanging he will sit underneath it, look up, look at me and cry. He seems to think I’m some kind of giant that can reach the top of an oak tree – but I guess from spaniel height my 5ft 2in seems impressive!
Recently, Fletcher took his stick addition one step further. We were enjoying a lovely sunny walk in a friends field. Up ahead I could see a small dead tree on the grass bank. The next thing I knew it was vigorously shaking and came toppling down. Out popped a very happy Fletcher with a four metre long branch. I did have to laugh and apologise to our friend for taking out the tree, though he was grateful for the helping hand (or should that be paw?).
The lawn in my garden is awash with chewed up wood and my trees have huge gaps. He also helped himself to the bushes in my mums garden the other day – she wasn’t impressed! Despite him terrorising gardens, I am grateful he is sensible enough to spit the sticks out.
Factor into this Fletcher’s love for swimming and I’m starting to question whether my puppy has transformed into a beaver over the years! How I stop this, I don’t know, but I am trying every method that Google suggests.