A stick is a stick is a stick, right? Have you ever wondered what makes dogs prefer a good stick-time? Is it the age of the wood? Like a fine wine it gets better. Or is it the texture? Perhaps pine is too soft, maple too hard… Could an oak taste smokey? An apple tree, sweet.
In a celebration of science, I took it upon myself to find out just what makes a certain stick prized over others. It is clear to anyone whom owns a pup that the excitement said dog experiences with a twig or piece of bark is extraordinary. And so, it is safe to say that Stick=Joy. This equation has been proven by my peers in the dog walking profession. Therefore, StickX=JoyX is the question at hand. We solve for X.
To begin, my team and I gathered a test group of 5 dogs. Of differing breeds and temperaments. I also employed the participation of my assistant to act as Independent Variable in this experiment. This made the testing group made of 5 dogs, and my human assistant: totaling 6 subjects all together.
We Started With A Common Stick…
Nothing extraordinary or unique to the surrounding environment. The London Planetree was credited as one of the most reliable urban trees, and teeters at the top of most common in New York City. With the test subjects in position, the stick, measuring 15 inches in length with a slight curve was presented to each. Some sniffed, some chewed, and my assistant shrugged, saying, “Yes. It is a good stick.”
And So A Variety...
The specimens gathered spread across several sections of one approved tree. There was a piece of bark, a small bunch of twigs, and a thicker section of a branch. The dogs shared in the twigs, quickly chewing them into small pieces. My assistant recounted: “Not much here.” Meaning both the size, and experience. The dogs similarly took apart the bark, one chunk at a time. But the thicker piece of branch was by far a favorite, with two dogs at any time trying to share the piece.
I made note of the canines' intuition, and to further the experiment, a variety of sizes were offered. From small to large, all 6 of the test subjects preferred the largest of the specimens available! Even my assistant laughed as he said, “Yes! This is a fabulous specimen!” And so, my colleagues, it is my distinct pleasure to submit the finding of X: Large.
It seems that size really does matter...in the eyes of a dog, at least.
-Professor Claire, PhD