I wasn’t a big fan of the Kong at first, thinking the design was kind of silly, but over time I’ve decided that it’s actually pretty great. We now have two Kongs, both of the red variety, both size large.
My main use of the Kong is for the crate. Betsy doesn’t mind being crated in the slightest – she took to it like a fish to water, right from the day we brought her home.
She doesn’t whine, she doesn’t hesitate to go in, and she actually anticipates whether she is going to be crated soon based on how long I spend doing my makeup. I will often find her lying in her crate, waiting to be locked up. It makes me feel horribly guilty! 😛 (but 99.999% of the time she is right: It is crate time)
However, I don’t take her crate love for granted. She usually gets a reward for being crated, and I do it for more than one reason:
- Building (and maintaining) positive associations with the crate. Betsy is very food motivated and so that makes it super easy for us. She loves her crate because she gets something tasty when she goes in there.
Keeping her distracted when we leave the house. If she’s busy working on a Kong, she doesn’t have time to worry so much about how she has been left home alone.
Keeping her distracted in general. If she’s going to be stuck in her crate for several hours, I can only imagine it’s pretty boring. Her kong is something to help break up the monotony.
There are lots of kong recipes online, but I only ever use one kong recipe, and it works so well that I don’t bother switching it up too much.
Here is what you need:
- A small handful of your dog’s regular kibble (I use Orijen)
- Canned wet dog food – I usually use Wild Calling Canned Dog Food because they have a nice wide range of meat sources, from rabbit to duck to pheasant to buffalo. Also Merrick 96% Meat, which gets better reviews on Dog Food Adviser but sadly has less meat source variety.
- Plain (unsweetened & unsalted) peanut butter (optional, I only use it when I’m feeling generous)
- One large hunk of meat or two regular sized ice cubes. Ice cubes are a good money saver, meat is obviously tastier. I also sometimes use a bit of bully stick if she’s chewed it down to a small nub.
Steps to make:
- Place kibble in bottom of kong. If you are using peanut butter, add the peanut butter in with the kibble at the bottom and mix them together. If you’re not using peanut butter, substitute with the wet dog food.
- Add wet dog food until kong is about 50% full.
- Add meat or ice cubes or bully stick nub, smooshing in so that the wet dog food is pushed down.
- Top off with more wet dog food
- Freeze, preferably overnight
The frozen hunk of meat/ice cubes break the kong up into two sections, making the excavation more time consuming. Meat takes longer for Betsy than ice cubes, because ice cubes melt away but the meat needs to be pulled out. The bully stick is nice too because once she gets it out she can chew on it for awhile. Although sometimes the bully stick, if it’s too thick, can end up being too challenging for her to remove.
Aaaaand That’s it! Let me know if you have a great Kong recipe to share, or if you end up trying out this one 😃