The unassuming toy with a secret
When we first came across KONG, which must be twenty years ago now, they didn’t look like the most exciting dog toy we had ever seen. In fact, probably like a lot of people, we saw them as a tough chew toy with an erratic bounce. Our dogs just weren’t that interested.
How wrong can you be?
The secret to the Classic, Puppy, Senior, Extreme, and indeed the Kitty KONG, is that it’s a hollow rubber receptacle for all sorts of doggy, or feline delights. It has holes at both ends, one large and one small. The key KONG ingredient is the stuffing. That’s what makes it so special and so very useful.
Let your dog, or cat, in on the secret
Firstly, you need to get your dog or cat interested in it. Once they understand what it’s all about they will not only want it but love it. To begin with, you just need to fill it with a couple of their favourite treats. Something they really enjoy, that they can smell, and that will easily slip out of the large opening. Try this for a few days. Don’t hand them their favourite treat, put it in a KONG and let them get it out themselves.
As soon as they understand that this ‘toy’ is the bearer of delicious snacks, they will start to get excited as soon as they see it.
You can work on this, gradually stuffing the KONG with other delights and making it a tad more difficult for the dog to get out. Make them work for it. Plug the small hole at the bottom with peanut butter (check it’s Xylitol free) or cream cheese and then fill with a variety of treats. Leave a longish chew sticking out to get them started.
Eventually, you could dispense with your food bowl and feed them their meals in the KONG. You can also freeze the filled KONG which is great for hot sunny days; a KONG Popsicle, or to make them longer lasting.
It can take your dog a couple of hours to fully empty the KONG and lick the peanut butter or maybe liver pâté from the bottom so they are perfect to extend play-time and can help distract them if they suffer from separation anxiety.
Feed their minds
An excellent enrichment toy. They are perfect boredom busters if they are confined to a crate, hopefully, cut down on chewing and stimulate them mentally at the same time. We had one dog, Sophie, who was KONG mad. She had developed a foolproof method of getting every last grain from her KONG. She would take it to the top of the stairs and drop it. As it bounced down the steps the treats would come tumbling out and she would snaffle them up!
It’s important to get the correct size for your dog so do check out the detailed KONG size chart before purchasing. And take another look at this seemingly simple KONG toy, now that you know how to unlock its secrets.
You may also like our short video on how to stuff a KONG, and you can find plenty of inventive KONG stuffing recipes at BARKTHINK, or maybe your cat may be partial to a Kitty KONG stuffed with bacon and eggs?
Sit back and be amazed at how your much your dog loves its KONG. And the good news for us humans is that when they’ve emptied it, we can stick it in the dishwasher.
But of course, your cat can benefit from a KONG in the same way your dog does. Cats go absolutely crazy over the Kitty KONG once they learn to use it; it’s an excellent way to keep your cat occupied and challenged.
The KONG range
Since their original and we think best ever invention, the KONG Company have branched out and now do a wide range of enrichment toys for dogs and cats. See our full range of exciting and innovative KONG products here.
From left to right KONG Tiltz, KONG Replay, KONG Babbler, KONG Snacks, KONG Safestix, KONG Easy Treat, KONG Ballistic Hide ‘n Treat, KONG Quest Foragers Dumbbell, KONG Rewards Shell, KONG Senior, KONG Quest Foragers Flower, KONG Squeezz Ball, KONG Stuff-a-Ball.