See those treat-dispensing toys around and wonder how to use them? They are a great resource to use to tire your dog out, mentally stimulate them, and even train them! Read more to learn about how I recommend you use them!
HOW TO STUFF THEM
Treat dispensing toys are great. I keep about 12 Kongs in a bin under the sink. When the bin is full I will stuff them all once a week for convenience.
The Kongs can be stuffed with almost anything that is dog- safe and that your dog likes. An easy and go-to recipe is half pumpkin puree and half plain nonfat greek yogurt. This low fat and delicious recipe also has added benefits like probiotics and fiber for digestion. These ingredients are generally easy on the stomach for most dogs. They can be mixed together and spread on the inside of the Kong solo or can be added on top of kibble. The Kong can then be wrapped in a plastic grocery bag for storage or placed on parchment paper inside the freezer.
HOW TO STORE THEM
After the Kongs are stuffed, I generally will place them on parchment paper inside the freezer. This helps keep the freezer clean from debris that may fall out of the frozen puzzles. Freezing them keeps the ingredients fresh and increases the difficulty of the puzzle to add more time for your dog’s enjoyment. By preparing a few ahead of time, you ensure that you always have one ready to go at a moment's notice.
HOW TO CLEAN THEM
Used Kongs should be rinsed out and set on a towel or mat to dry. They are top-rack dishwasher safer but you should avoid a high heat cycle as the heat can damage and weaken the rubber. Then, the clean and dry Kongs can go back into the bin for storage until the next time you are ready to stuff.
WHEN TO USE THEM
Crates: Kongs can be used for dogs of all ages. They can be used when the dogs go into crates to help build a positive association with their crates, to help ease the stress of your departure, and to keep them busy.
Mouthing Dogs: Kongs also reward young dogs who are learning not to mouth people by rewarding the dogs for chewing appropriately on toys. A very easy training tool!
Settling: A Kong is a great toy to give your dog when you want them to settle down. It will reward them while they stay calm and settled in a designated location. Especially useful when they are in new locations like hotels or friends’ houses.
Fast Eaters: You can also put your dog’s meals inside to help slow them down and make them work for it. Mental stimulation is just as important as exercise!
Backyard: Keep dogs busy in the backyard to prevent barking and digging with a game of fetch or stuffed kong.
For a printable handout on how to use kongs just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll be happy to send it your way!