Kong toys: you’ve all seen them, you’ve all probably got one. Today I’m
going to show you how to stuff it fast, easy, and so it works. Ian here with Simpawtico Dog Training and
before we start stuffing Kongs, please make sure you’re subscribed so you never
miss any of our videos. And don’t forget to check the description below for notes,
links, and resources about the stuff we talked about. Now a Kong toy can be a great tool to
keep your dog busy and to help you teach your dog important skills. But with all the
recipes on Pinterest and the blogosphere it can be kind of a pain to figure out what
works. And even after all that effort your dog might just be like, “Meh.” Look: I’m a big advocate of the KISS
principle, or “keep it simple, stupid.” There’s no need to overcomplicate things
and in my opinion most of the products and recipes out there complicate a very
simple idea. Another big concept you’re going to hear
several times is that it’s not what it is it’s what you’ve trained it to be. If
your dog isn’t into it we don’t give up and move on to the next
gimmick. We train them to be into it. We train them to love it. You ready to do
that? Let’s dive in! Selecting kong toys is as
easy as heading down to the pet supply store and picking some out. There are
some details to keep in mind though. For one thing Kong toys don’t hold as
much as you think they do. My rule of thumb is to pick up the one
that looks right and then by the next size up. Additionally I’ve seen dogs give up out
of frustration if they can’t get it easily enough. One size up will make for a bigger hole
and at least in my experience seem to help the dog buy into it a lot more
readily. That leads us to the second point: Don’t buy just one. Get four at the minimum.
That way you have them on reserve so you can fill, use, wash, and rotate. Otherwise if you’re not paying attention
you’ll get caught without one ready when you need it. The red classic Kongs are pretty
standard. The black ones are the toughest for
super chewer. All the other colors are about the same as the red ones as far as
toughness goes. Also, there are several types of toys
like it. The classic Kong isn’t the only one out there. the Petsafe Squirrel Dude is also very
good. The Kong Biscuit Ball can be used with a raw diet. The Premier Busy Buddy
Football works well for treats or cheese sticks and you can use this for short
settle downs. Although, undoubtedly, the Classic Kong is
the best made, and the most durable, and probably the most readily available. Forget about buying any of that stuff
marketed in the pet stores to stuff a Kong. It’s overpriced, and it’s basically just junk
food just like the human version. Seriously is that stuff even food? Second
like I said there are tons of recipes out there for all sorts of creative ways
to stuff a Kong. These are a much better alternative for
sure. However they’re time consuming and also
largely unnecessary. If you enjoy doing it and you have the time for it, great. Knock yourself out. However don’t get into
those bigger recipes unless you enjoy doing it. As a special
treat on occasion they’re great. But do not fall into the
trap of trying to up the ante or increasing the value of the stuffing in
the toy to try and get the dog interested You’re coming at it backwards. It’s not
what it is, it’s what you’ve trained it to be. So
train the dog to love their Kong and then you can stuff it with whatever you
want. With this in mind you’ll save money and time, and you’ll train your dog
better if it’s filled with a more commonplace ingredient: their own dog
food. Since we’re going to be using our dog’s food, we need to measure it out. As a
responsible owner you should be monitoring their daily intake of food by
having a routine, but flexible, feeding schedule,
and never free feeding. Free feeding is just shooting yourself in the foot as far as
behavioral teaching goes. Don’t be lazy. By simply using routine
feedings you’re also starting to empower their normal food to be a training
reward which is a much better, more nutritionally balanced option than only
using treats. This plays into strategic reward scaling, and I’ll link to my
article on that in the description. So measure out your dog’s food for the day, set out about a third of it aside,
moisten the rest, and spoon it into the toys. Then freeze it. That leftover third is used for training.
Anyone in the family can take food out for training with this. If you plan ahead
and prepare three or four toys at a time, they’ll be on demand as you need it. Just be sure to keep up on the rotation.
You don’t want to be caught without any toys in the freezer and a hungry dog.
When we first start chew toy training our dogs they simply take their meals from
the toy. A bowl is nice and convenient but in these stages it’s a waste opportunity. Save the bowl
for down the road after we’ve got them hooked on their Kong. When you take a
loaded kong out of the freezer place a dollop of something easy and tasty to
start with over the big hole. Just smear some peanut butter, some plain yogurt
or some cream cheese over it. Now they take their Kong meals in a crate or
on a bed. The same place, every time. Routines are
the backbone of training. As a dog works at it the Kong thaws quickly and food
starts to fall out. The more they work, the more food they get. This is a self
rewarding activity it’s called Autoshapng because you’re dog is
practically traiing himself at this point. All you did was engineer it to work
and set it up. Right from the get-go this is conditioning the dog to love being by
itself. Chewing and eating at the same time
releases a payload of endorphins into their brain like a huge pleasure bomb. As
we progress – as your puppy gets older or your adult dog picks up the skill – we can
go back to using the bowl and keep the food filled Kong as the ace up your
sleeve. Job number one is that it helps teach a
dog to be alone. This one thing then solves a bunch of
other problems like: boredom (which always leads to mischief), barking incessantly while
you’re away (your neighbors will definitely appreciate it), destructive chewing (such as your table
legs and futon cushions), raiding the trash, and bigger problems like isolation
distress which is commonly mistaken for separation anxiety, and of course true
separation anxiety which can be debilitating for a dog. Training with an
interactive toy like a Kong will also help you with settling down after being
jazzed up or crate training and potty training for both copies and newly
adopted adult dogs. Attaching an anchor to a Kong gives you more options. Feed a
string or rope through the small hole, knot it, and pull it tight. Now when you fill
it, it will be frozen in place. Once the toy and the normal food is empowered it
can be tied to the inside of crates for crate training. It can be tied to trees in the yard for
summer fun. Lots of possibilities open up once you’ve got your dog hooked on a Kong. Stuffing the kong won’t do all of these things by itself. You do need some regular to toys and you do need to interact with your dog in other constructive ways. A properly stuffed Kong will act as a force multiplier and help you get the job done much, much
faster. Coupled with the chew toy training we
talked about in the Types of Toys video you solve about ninety percent of the
most common behavior problems. So good luck guys! And keep in touch. What
are some other ways you use the Kong, and what kind of questions do you have about
it? Let’s connect in the comments. Don’t
forget to check that description for notes, links and resources, and thumbs up
this video if you got some good info. As always keep learning, keep practicing and I will see you soon. Thanks for watching!