I recall with my first dog I did lots of research, was given lots of information from the breeder and felt prepared to do all the right things for my dog. Many things did not go as planned….one of them being I assumed because his mom loved toys and balls my dog would too. Well he didn’t really, could have cared less actually. There was this fantastic toy called a kong that everyone raved about to help with his separation anxiety and crate training. Ok I got one of these bee hive shaped things but he didn’t seem to care. Put treats in it. Ok well they just fell out in two seconds and that was it, zero interest again.
I don’t recall where or how I found out what to do with kongs but wishing I had known earlier than I did I share this with all new puppy owners and first time dog owners.
Firstly get at least two kongs so you can always have one prepared in the freezer. Clean after each use, they can go in the top rack of a dishwasher but since I don’t have one I just wash them by hand in the sink. Then fill them with a handful of kibble. The size of the kong will obviously depend how much kibble will fit in each. Be sure to deduct this amount of kibble from your dog’s meals so they are not getting extra calories! Run water over/in the kongs and set them in the sink or a container to let the excess water drain out. Then I put them in the freezer – you can put them in a container, ziploc bag or I use the bottom of an egg carton to situate them in the door of the freezer. Lastly I put a small amount (about the size of a fingernail) of something tasty to get their interest….peanut butter, cheese whiz or cream cheese.
If your dog is crated I just put the kong in the crate and they can figure out how to get the food out! If not crated I usually put the kong down on a dog bed or mat or blanket for them to enjoy. They all have different methods – it’s fun to see how they get the food out. I’ve had dogs pick them up and bounce them and the food bounces out (this is better contained in a crate), some will lie down and lick them, others will bite them and get the food out. The point of freezing them is so the kibble sticks together and doesn’t all fall out in two seconds so it is something for the dog to work on and enjoy!