Puppy Please Dog Training is a strong advocate for the use of food toys and puzzles such as the Kong brand of toys. Food toys are exceptionally useful toys that give dogs and puppies an appropriate outlet for their need to chew. They give them a source of entertainment. They give them stress relief, as many dogs will chew to relieve stress. They give a dog a nice thing to do in a crate or when company comes over. They can assist with keeping a dog quiet after surgery by feeding all meals in Kongs as opposed to out of a bowl. They can slow dog a dog who gulps their food, thereby reducing the deadly risk of bloat among other dangerous gastrointestinal issues.
There are many ways to fill a Kong and you can put just about anything in a Kong as long as it fits and is safe for the dog to consume. The go to quick Kong in my house is smeared with peanut butter. The longer lasting Kong is filled and then frozen! The ultimate Kong in my house may contain a blob of peanut butter over the narrow opening as a plug and then I stand it up and fill with any combination of yogurt (just absolutely NOTHING labeled as sugar free or using sugar substitutes, these are very dangerous for dogs), plain pack pumpkin (NOT the pie filling with sugars and spices, just plain pumpkin), bananas, cheerios, kibble and more peanut butter. Then it is frozen.
My general rule is at least three Kongs per dog in the household ready in the freezer. I like to make them up before bed so they will be ready by morning!
A well stuffed Kong may last a half an hour or more for some dogs! The applications are many. Here are just a few of my personal favorites!
- Teaching a dog that every time guests arrive there will be a Kong awaiting them at the freezer. This removes the dog from the frenzy of barking and jumping on guests!
- Put Kong in the crate every time you need to crate them! It does not take very long to create a dog who races you to the crate! My dogs head to their crates if they see me take peanut butter out of the cabinet!
- If your dog is anxious, bring a stuffed Kong with you to the vet while waiting for the appointment to start or while in the exam room waiting for the vet. Some dogs may be too anxious to eat, but for others it may be the key to keeping them from winding up.
- For a particularly busy dog or one recovering from surgery, feed all meals out of a crate instead of a bowl.
- Frozen Kongs make awesome puppy teething toys!