Dog trainers LOVE Kongs. Dogs LOVE Kongs. No dog falls in love with just a hard rubber toy. Kongs have a shape, that when stuffed with yummy goodies, can create a truly mesmerizing and epic experience for your dog. I use Kongs for crate training dogs and even for difficult behavior modification cases. The first step is to find what your dog LOVES and put it in the Kong. Placing a couple of treats inside a Kong is NOT creative enough. Your dog will have them out in about 2 seconds and it will not give you remarkable results. I have included a favorite Kong recipe at the end of this article, but Kong recipes are limited only by your imagination. You can Google “Kong recipes” and find hundreds of ideas. Peanut butter is usually a favorite with dogs and is a quick and simple way to get started. Check with your veterinarian to make sure that your Kong stuffing ingredients are safe for your dog.
I use a Kong to achieve amazing results in the following areas:
Teaching dogs to love crates by using good associations with the Kong
Teaching puppies self soothing skills
Teaching puppies appropriate mouth skills
Teaching dogs to accept grooming
Teaching dogs to accept handling
Providing a rewarding activity while the family eats dinner, does homework, has a life
Overcoming fears and building confidence
Housetraining and destructive chewing are two behaviors that will motivate some owners to surrender their dogs at a shelter. The Kong has played a huge role in my puppy training program for housetraining using crates as well as appropriate mouth skills. Puppies have important developmental deadlines. Puppies learn chewing preferences in the first year. Owners need to teach their puppies that chewing hard rubber toys is much more fun than destroying the house. Kongs have really helped my clients succeed in many areas. They are really shocked by the efficient results.
My favorite Kong recipe is the “Kongsicle”. Layer some peanut butter in the small hole to seal the toy. Place the Kong in a cup to contain any leakage. Add favorite treats or kibble. Pour in broth to almost the top. Place in the freezer overnight.
There are plenty of other toys that work just as well as Kongs. Again, the important takeaway is to make the toy super enjoyable by using yummy stuffing and having a durable toy that won’t break apart. Enjoy your new babysitter and call a positive reinforcement dog training professional, certified by an independent organization, if you need to start a behavior modification program for aggression or fear.