Enrichment Toy Review: The humble Kong

Kongs.  They’re found in almost every pet shop, these weird rubbery things with holes in the middle.  If we’re being honest they sort of look like a poo shape.  Unlike most toys these guys take a bit of working out…  what on earth are they meant to do?!

Here’s one stuffed with Sardines and Sprats

I absolutely adore Kongs for so many reasons so I wanted to write an article to shine a light on their amazingness!

Kongs are your best friend when it comes to needing a bit of time where your dog is happy and engrossed in an object so you get a bit of quiet time.  They’re amazing for helping new puppies learn that settling down is an awesome idea and they’re brilliant for busting a bit of boredom if you’ve got a poorly doggy on exercise rest.

There are so many ways you can fill a Kong, they’re the ultimate toy for all ages and ability levels.  They might seem expensive to start with but you’ll soon get your moneys worth!

About the toy

So the Kong is the original toy made by the company Kong.  The company has since branched out and made about a million more amazing games but this is their centrepiece and for very good reason.

Kong’s come in different sizes which you choose based on your dogs weight, check out the back of the packet or go on the Kong website to find the right size for your dog.  They also come in different strengths of rubber to cope with teething puppies, normal chewers, power chewers and senior dogs.  The red ones are for the average chewers and I’ve found these to be absolutely perfect for Bob.

The idea of the Kong is to fill up the hole in the middle and pass it to your dog as a food based enrichment toy.  However they can be used as simply a chew toy by themselves, or Kong suggest to use it as a garden toy because it has an unpredictable bounce when thrown.  I’ve never used it like that myself but then again, Bob’s far more driven by food than flying objects!

Filling it up

This is where Kongs come into their own; they are literally suitable for any level of understanding and you can pretty quickly go from beginner to pro J The skill is in the packing as much as the eating!

To start with, fill the Kong with something loose and super tasty that comes out really, really easily.  I’m thinking cut up pate, training treats or even bits of chicken.  Something your dog loves enough to give the new thing a go, but that will come out pretty easily if they stick their tongue inside or roll it on the floor.

Once they’ve got the hang of that, put the same treats inside but put a little ‘stopper’ of gooey stuff on the top such as peanut butter, mashed banana or lactose free cream cheese.  The idea now is they have to lick the stopper away before they can get the goodies inside.

When they’re rocking that level you can really get rolling; pack the inside of that Kong as tightly as you can!  Switch up the textures so you’ve got some soft and some hard treats in there and pack it down.  Keep the ‘stopper’ theory going… that’s the super tasty intro to the whole thing!

Finally, once your dog is an utter pro you can level up again by plonking your creation in the freezer overnight before giving it to them.  Bob’s at freezer level now and it takes him a good 45 minutes to get through a well constructed Kong… significantly longer than any normal chew I can find!

Pop in the freezer for extra difficulty… yes, that is a bottle of Limoncello!

Cleaning

Okay I’m going to be totally honest here, sometimes these can be a bit of a sod to clean.  Especially if pup gave up after smushing everything into the little end with their tongue!

Luckily they’re dishwasher safe so if you’re a lucky soul, just shove it in there and let the magic happen.  If you’re like me and handwash everything though, I’ve found soaking it for a while in hot water helps dislodge anything left in there and then I can give it a good scrub out with an old toothbrush I shove through the little hole at the end.

Overall opinion:

Honestly I cannot extol the virtues of the humble Kong anything like enough!  In our house it’s referred to as the King Kong and it really does wonders at keeping Bob entertained.  It keeps his brain and tongue busy for absolutely tons longer than any treats I sell so it’s my go-to treat when I have guests coming over.  Even better, he’s completely shattered after finishing one and usually heads off for a cat nap!

I do regular posts for recipe ‘kongspiration’ but a quick google will give you tons and tons of ideas!

I hope I’ve managed to explain the Kong and how it works in enough detail for you to get a good vibe for it!  I’d love to know if you buy one for your pooch or if you have one already; please comment below and let me know what they think!  What’s your favourite filler?

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