In a recent survey of dog trainers and behaviourists asking what equipment they recommend for new puppies or rescue dogs, number 1, a clear mile above everything, else was a Kong. For those in the know, this simple item is an absolute life safer. If can be used to settle an over the top, mouthing, puppy. It can buy puppy owners enough time to go and have a shower, or make that important zoom call. A Kong can be used to calm anxious and frightened dogs. It can help with separation training, and provide amazing enrichment to a dog, keeping those teeth away from your furniture. Not bad for a small red cone!
Amazing! You promptly buy this magic item! But when you get home, how do you actually use it? That might sound like a silly question, but it really isn’t, because it is something I am asked at least twice a week. How do you turn that little block of rubber into the perfect puppy pacifier, or that incredible canine chew toy?
Firstly, Kongs come in a variety of sizes and strengths, make sure you get the right size for your dog. There is a size chart on the packaging. The puppy or classic Kongs are suitable for most puppies, but an adult Staffy or Rottweiler might do better with the extreme version for tough chewers because of their strong jaws.
So, how do you get your dog or puppy engaged in a kong?
Fill the kong with a soft dog meat. The type doesn’t really matter, I prefer pate style meat over chunks of meat in a jelly or gravy. (I personally use Forthglade or Naturo.) Fill the empty centre of the Kong with the meat.
Give this to your dog or puppy. For the first one or two goes you might need to play with it with them to really get them engaged, or show them how to hold it. It will probably take your puppy/dog 5 minutes to empty the kong. The best 5 minutes ever! But still only 5 minutes.
When your puppy/dog is really enjoying their Kong fill it in exactly the same way, but freeze it before giving it to them. This should now keep them really happy, engaged and busy for 20-25 minutes! Excellent work! Even better, after all that hard work chewing you will find they should be very happy to curl up and have a snooze once they are finished, even better!
Get inventive! Dogs love their meat kongs, but how about mashed banana? Or natural unsweetened yoghurt, on it’s own or with berries or their kibble. There are so many possibilities, a quick Google will flood you with ideas.
When to use a Kong
Your dog will be grateful for a Kong at anytime, but try and use them to your advantage! If a puppy is being particularly bitey with you, it needs to settle down and go to sleep, a Kong is a great way to make this happen. Save them for when you really need your dog to entertain themselves as you deal with a work meeting, cook a meal, have visitors round. Use them to help separation training in a crate, and if you have a single dog household, as an activity for when you are out.
Now there is no excuse, get filling! If you are still having problems with a rambunctious puppy, look up our puppy training sessions here – Puppy Training