Dog people of the universe, the Kong is your friend! This book contains a whole subchapter on the mighty Kong and its many uses.
Perhaps you are thinking, the heck is a Kong? Well, originally it was an engine part from a Volkswagen (or so the legend has it), but now it’s a dog store staple. It’s a red, hollow piece of rubber shaped like a blop or a snowman, and generally costing around ten dollars. Perhaps your dog already has one. Perhaps they seem to not care about it in the least.
That is because pretty much everyone uses this thing wrong.
I remember the first time someone told me I should put treats inside the Kong. I was twelve years old and thought, ok, maybe then my dog would play with the thing, because he sure didn’t care about it otherwise. I went home and put a treat in the Kong. The treat fell out the giant freaking hole in the bottom of the Kong. The dog ate the treat. Really? I thought. That’s what all the fuss is about? I never did it again.
And even the products sold by Kong to “stuff” in their product are pretty awful. Hard biscuits and spray cheese? That’s the best you’ve got? Also, how much spray cheese can your dog eat before he gets sick? And how many cans of that stuff do you really want to buy? It ain’t cheap.
But there is a better way: a magical way. The Kong can become a tool for great good in your dog’s life.
Here’s how you start: Get your Kong. Get a can of wet dog food. Take a fork. (If you are super squeamish, use a plastic fork.) Open the can of wet dog food. Stuff a few forkfuls of wet dog food in the Kong and smash it in there. Hand that to your dog.
Congratulations! You’ve just bought yourself one minute of amusement for your dog.
If your dog cleans out this Kong in seconds, then good: you’re not done yet. You can do a few forkfuls of wet food, followed by a bit of kibble, followed by another forkful of wet food. Pack it in a little tighter. Once your dog has a Pavlovian drool response to seeing a Kong, start putting the toy in the freezer for an hour before you give it to your dog. Freezing the Kong makes the filling take a lot longer to clean out. Freezing overnight makes it even harder still.
Frozen Kongs are my first-line solution for a boring dinner. Nothing good to eat? Too tired to think of a fun game? Pack a Kong with something mushy and hand it over to the dog. If you know you’re going to come home from work exhausted, stuff the Kong in the morning and have it ready to go in the freezer. If you and your dog like this Kong thing, stock up on them and keep them filled and waiting in the freezer.
Wet dog food is an easy go-to Kong filling, but it’s certainly not the limit. See Stuffed & Frozen Toys for more ways to build on this simple solution, and Kong Stuffings for more ingredients and ideas.