They Smell Good
As we all know, wood has a unique smell to it. You can’t confuse it with anything else. We even like to have a bit of a woody scent to our perfume. Well, dogs think the same. Given their advanced sense of smell, sticks (or anything wooden) become a huge point of interest for your dog. The nose is a crucial tool for a dog’s world exploration; smelling for dogs is like reading a map for us.
When your pet picks up a stick, it can sense complex environmental smells associated with it, which helps them explore the world around them.
Taste and Texture
A stick may not taste and feel as good as a big bone with meat attached to it. It may not have nutritious and tasty bone marrow. But it has its own particular appeal. A stick will have a unique, earthy taste with chewy bark. Just like we use our hands to explore and interact with the surroundings, for dogs, the main tactile tool is their mouths. Mouth exploration drives dogs to chew and lick everything they consider interesting, including sticks.
When your dog carries a stick around you, it might be looking for somewhere to chew on it. My dog will suddenly run off into the bushes as we walk along, only for me to discover it chewing on its precious stick. But there is no need to discourage your dog from chewing on sticks (unless it harms their health), as it is all very natural.
Dogs were initially domesticated and bred to help humans hunt more efficiently. While your chihuahua may not look like an intimidating predator, rest assured its ancestors had to hunt to survive. The hunting instincts of most modern dogs are very strong. No matter how domesticated they become, there will always be this natural instinct. Your dog may not even realize it. It just feels right. This provides our friends with something to run down.
When your dog brings a stick to you, it mimics bringing a hunted animal to you. Your dog might be proud and want to show off its hunting skills, so it is best to play along and pet your little (or big) carnivore. This instinct to gather and bring the hunter’s kill is more prevalent in certain breeds. Such as golden retrievers.
Now you know why they are called retrievers. No wonder my basenji always brings me a toy whenever I come home that he so proudly hunted down. At the end of the day, your dog will be happy that it made you happy.