It’s a dog toy with many uses… the Kong is made of high quality non-toxic rubber, designed for you to fill with foods that your dog will have loads of fun digging out.
It comes in several sizes and degrees of toughness, for tiny young pups up to the industrial-strength jaws of some larger breeds. It’s widely available in stores and online.
Dog Training Uses for the Kong
It’s useful in the process of crate-training.
Once you have a crate-trained dog, a packed Kong can provide a lot of entertainment while the dog is in the crate.
If the dog has the run of the house or yard, you can also give it a Kong to keep it busy and thus out of trouble any time… choosing foods that won’t make too much of a mess inside.
Carrying this a little further, if nobody is going to be home for some hours, give your dog a Kong before you leave… and place one or two tightly stuffed dog toy Kongs around the house, where the dog will have to find find them first!
Use a pre-stuffed dog toy Kong as a bonanza reward after a good dog training session.
It can be used to coax fussy eaters.
Using stuffed Kongs to entertain dogs was an idea some 20 years ago of the great dog trainer, Dr. Ian Dunbar.
His [Dr. Dunbar's] keen insight in utilizing the Kong for behavior modification has undoubtedly saved thousands of dogs from euthanasia.
–Joe Markham, inventor of the Kong
Foods for a Dog’s Kong
You can fill a Kong with just about anything that is healthy for dogs (for example, no chocolate or onions, both of which shouldn’t be given to dogs).
Just to get you started, here are things other dog-lovers have put in their Kong dog toys:
- Bits of dog food
- Peanut butter… preferably the sugar-free, salt-free kind… just smear a little around the inside of the Kong for a quick treat
- Apple pieces
- Some yogurt
- Banana, which can be mashed to combine with other foods
- Dried banana chips
- Chunks of orange, peach, nectarine, etc.
- Cheese… any kind… regular or nonfat cream cheese is good for smearing on other foods
- Carrot chunks
- Bits of meat
- Bits of fish
- Celery sticks
- Raw cauliflower
- Raw broccoli
- Cooked egg
- Commercial dog treats, like freeze-dried liver
- Unsalted roasted cashews
- Bits of rice cakes
You can freeze Kongs with tasty liquids inside, after closing the bottom hole with something gooey like peanut butter. You could also use water with bits of food in it. Great for dogs in the yard on a hot day.
Do remember to reduce the amount you feed your dog at meals if you are filling many Kongs! You can wash your Kongs in a dishwasher.
You can buy at least the basic Kongs in many places that sell dog supplies. I’ve only talked about the basic Kong on this page, but there are dental Kongs, floating Kongs, and more.
As I mentioned, SitStay.com has a good selection of Kongs.
I have used Kong dog toys with all my dogs, but never with the imaginative variety of foods that I discovered while researching this page. This morning (the day I wrote this page) I gave LarryDog dry dog food, apple slices, and Cheddar cheese — much of his breakfast –in his Kong, and he has been following me around ever since… just in case!