We are huge proponents of mental stimulation for dogs. Training your dog is one of the best ways to give your dog regular mental stimulation. This helps keep their energy levels balanced more than most pet owners realize. But what if you don’t always have time to work with Fido?
There are several solutions marketed to pet owners. But our product of choice is the Kong classic chew toy.
Kong classic chew toys can be a huge help when dealing with your dog’s problem behaviors. If you teach your dog to love this toy and use it the right way, it can help teach him to settle down calmly and quietly when you need him to. It can also help make a huge difference with problem behaviors when you must leave him alone. Problems like excessive barking, destructive chewing, digging, and escaping.
Here’s how it works. You will need to introduce the toy to your dog when he’s hungry. Put a little of his food in it and give it to him. It’s that easy to start. He will start to learn that good things come from this toy. But to keep him interested longer, you are going to start making it harder for him to get the food out. This is where the magic starts to happen.
Making the food more difficult to get out of the toy by soaking it, then soaking and freezing, or getting it to stick inside longer with peanut butter or some other tasty food holds your dog’s attention longer. The food inside is rewarding him as he gets it out. Because he must lay down, hold it and chew on it to get the food out, he is being rewarded for better, quieter, calmer behavior the whole time. The longer he must work at it, the more he ends up being rewarded for these behaviors. And you don’t have to do anything but prepare the toy and give it to him. After that you don’t even have to be there, and he’s being trained. Eventually you can even hide the toy before you leave so he must take time to search for it, which adds even more time to the mental stimulation he gets when you’re gone.
It is important to gradually get your dog to this point. You don’t want to make it too difficult too quickly, or he may lose interest in the toy. But once you teach him to love his Kong, it becomes a very useful training tool. Not only does it direct his energy into positive behaviors when you need to leave him alone, but is also a fun tool to actively teach other behaviors.
You can use the Kong toy to teach commands like off, take it, give it to me, fetch or find it. If you have a dog that barks when guests arrive or chews or eats things you would prefer he didn’t, you can teach him to take and hold his Kong toy in his mouth so he isn’t able to bark or chew other things.
Dogs love to chew. So use that natural instinct to your advantage! Teach him to love his Kong, and his behavior will change dramatically for the better.
Here are some great recipe ideas!