While some dogs take to toys the way fish take to water, some may not know how to play with a KONG.
Here are a few tips to introduce your KONG Cares to your shelter dogs:
a) Show it off and talk about it excitedly; you can play a little hard-to-get to pique
b) Stuff some food or a high value treat inside and let the dog have a sniff.
c) If your dogs are still confused, try stuffing some treats or food (eg: kibble) loosely so that the food will come out of the toy easily. It’s a good idea to use your pup’s favourite treat to entice him or her. (Sometimes peanut butter works best!)
d) You can also try throwing the toy to stimulate their predatory instincts.
Relieve stress and boredom
These two factors are the leading causes of negative canine behaviour, and their development is often inevitable as they live in a shelter where toys and walks are likely few and far between. Most of them only get to go out for walks once a week.
A stuffed KONG is fun and interesting and will keep the dog mentally stimulated and occupied for hours. It will also help to soothe sore gums during the teething process (for puppies). Introduce the toy to the dog in a slow, calm and controlled manner — using lots of praise and rewards.
Solves chewing problems
It’s important to teach the dog which items are acceptable to chew. Teach this lesson in a positive and fun way by introducing a KONG toy stuffed with treats. Provide constant praise when your dog plays and chews on the KONG. If you are able to catch your shelter dog chewing on something he or she shouldn’t, quickly remove the object and replace it with the KONG. This way he associates acceptable chewing with the KONG only. Better yet, if you stuff the KONG with treats, he also gets rewarded for his positive chewing behaviour. This will benefit the pups when they get adopted into good homes.
Eases separation anxiety
Separation anxiety usually occurs within the first 20 minutes after you leave a dog alone. Give a stuffed KONG to your dog about five minutes before you leave. Having a stuffed KONG to explore is an effective way of redirecting your dog’s attention away from your leaving. Remember, the most anxious time for a dog is the 20-minute period after you leave — and keeping his attention focused on a KONG can really ease his anxiety. Also, remember to give your dog a stuffed KONG during the day when you do not intend to leave the house — as this will prevent your pet from associating it solely with your leaving.
Reduces unwanted barking
It may be music to your ears when your pack of shelter dogs start barking incessantly, but it’s unlikely to be a trait that potential adopters look for. As it turns out, most unwanted barking is caused by boredom and stress, which is generally exhibited in shelter dogs as they are left alone for a good part of the day. The best way to remedy this is to provide the dogs with adequate exercise and attention, as well as keeping their mental facilities satisfied. A KONG toy can help with burning off excess energy and keep their mind working simultaneously
There are many things you can do with a KONG, it all comes from your own creativity! Some examples are:
– Sit- Stay commands
You can stuff just about anything in your KONG. Provided that it’s safe for your pup. If you’re unsure or if your dog has allergies, it’s always best to refer to your vet before letting your dog try anything.
Here are a few items that are dog-safe and great for stuffing:
– Dog treats/biscuits
– Kibbles, or kibbles mixed with warm water for added challenge
– Wet food
– Cottage cheese
– Peanut butter
– Diced fruits such as apples, water melon, banana
– Vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and pumpkins
– A mixture of everything
There are two holes in a KONG, a smaller one at the top and the larger one at the bottom. First, plug the top hole with treats so as to prevent it from leaking.
Then, turn the KONG upside down so the larger hole is facing up. You can place it in a cup to keep it upright.
Now for the best part: Stuff it with whatever your dog loves! If you’re using a mixture of dry treats or kibble, it may be a good idea to use peanut butter, yoghurt or mashed potatoes/bananas/pumpkin so it holds within the KONG.
Things you should avoid giving the dogs:
– Yeast Dough
– Macadamia Nuts
– Onions/Garlic/ Chive
There are a few ways you can clean the KONG toys:
– Soak them in soap water for about 10 mins
– Wash it with warm water
– Use a cotton swab to get at hard-to-reach places
– Use a water hose with strong water pressure
No toys are indestructible, therefore all KONG toys must be played with under supervision (unless you are training for separation anxiety).
It is important to use the right size of KONG for your dog to have the safest and longest-lasting experience. Roots Technologies will try to provide KONG toys of the right size for each dog (base on the dog information given by each welfare group).
Look out for dogs with resource aggression and it is best to seek experienced trainers for help if needed.
It is advisable for handler to give the toy to one dog at a time/in an individual kennel so as to prevent dog fights.