Walk into any pet shop and the first thing you will see in a puppy section or older dog toys are KONGS. You have the KONG classic, KONG extreme, KONG Puppy, KONG Senior, I could go on and on! Advertised to help chewing, teething and crate training. So why are they not my first choice? And do I give KONGS to my own dogs?
Answer to the second question is yes! My dogs are strong chewers, they love to sink their teeth into something, deer antlers and buffalo horns are their fave! So when I need them to be a little more interested in something rather than doing a behaviour I don't want they are perfect!
It also helps me input some simple enrichment into their lives, without too much hassle!
So why are they not my first choice I hear you ask?!
I find puppies need a lot of guiding and management. And when we want to give them a toy to keep them a little occupied from the dinner table or jumping up at guests, sometimes the KONG can be a little tricky.
It's a small opening and unless you have a really determined puppy (One puppy I walk called Luna loves her KONG she is a massive foodie!) They can sometimes give up easily and get frustrated by it. Then what normally happens is when you may be having problems with your dog and your dog trainer suggests some food enrichment toys, you go "oh the KONG they hated that, wasn't interested in it."
The most likely answer is they loved it but either
A: The environment was just that little bit too exciting and we need to manage that first
B: They struggled to get the food out, became frustrated so gave up
C: The food was not high enough value for the distraction
So now I have said all of the above I bet you are all thinking well you give your dogs them, so why the post? And what do I even suggest instead!
Like I said earlier my dogs love to chew and a KONG classic can keep them happy for an hour if needed. Perfect for outing to the pub small enough to fit in my bag so win win!
But what food toys are out there if the KONG isn't for you?
I have compiled a list of my favourite go to food toys, some of which I even include with my classes and private puppy packages to help
This is a slightly more unknown American brand of dog toys. My personal favourites (Bertie
These are great for eating dinner from to my best kept secret to food enrichment.......baby food! Comes in handy little pouches and a low calorie treat, what's not to love? Just make sure the ingredients are dog friendly
Variety of sizes available and different textures so you can have a couple and switch them around to keep them guessing. We have these in our Private Puppy Package as well, helping owners channel calm into their dogs down in a class environment and at home.
So now you know what I personally use, why not try some yourself? I have linked all of the toys to an online company I use, but you can also search for local pet shops (Fin and Fur in Bishops Stortford are great!)
I would love to know if you have tried some! Why not tag us on Facebook or Instagram @rachsrambles.