Hello. Today I'm going to be talking about my favorite behavioral tool for dogs, the Kong. I'm often asked what is my method of stuffing a Kong to introduce to a dog. I have a five-step method I want to share with you I think will help you and your dog to get started the right way.
The first step is quiet time. We don't want anyone getting the car keys, getting the coat. It's a time maybe when you're watching TV or reading a book. It's a time also to supervise your dog and learn a little about their chewing temperment as they're working to get treats out. Remember, separation anxiety usually starts within the first 15 to 30 minutes of you leaving your dog alone. Dogs with separation anxiety exhibit distress and behavior problem, so it is important that you have a Kong stuffed with high-value treats a minute or so before you leave.
The number two step is make it an event. This is supposed to be fun for you and your dog. It's something to get your dog excited about. Maybe by rattling the treats. We might take some treats here and put them in right in front of your dog. Call your dog by their name and that mmaybe you turn away, "ooh, I got a special one that I don't want you to see." Make the dog interested in what you're doing. Make it an event.
The third step is make it easy. Think of this as a mental and physically stimulating puzzle. If the puzzle's too difficult, your dog will lose interest. So we want to make it easy. What I've broken them up into very small pieces and I want them to go into the Kong very easily so they'll come out of the Kong very easily. Let the dog win, win, win. And they as they become more experienced you may want to make their job more challenging. A couple things I would try would be to wedge some large biscuits inside the cavity under the rim of the opening. You might like to pack the stuffing tighter. I like to freeze things in Kongs, you might want to use a combination of canned food, gravy to mix with your food nuggets.
Step number four, always use a primer. What's a primer? A primer is that most irresistable treat that your dog just cannot resist. It might be something like our Kong easy treat, or something like our new Kong stuffin peanut butter. But one thing to remember about a primer; always use it sparingly. It is going to ignite the dog to the Kong and then they have to work to get the other treats out.
Step number five, we always want to praise our dog when they're doing the right thing. Dogs have a natural need to chew. We don't want them chewing on our furniture. We don't want them chewing on our shoes. When they're chewing on their Kong there should be quiet praise. When you praise your dog for doing the right thing they will repeat that behavior.
Now let's review the five steps in our method. Number one, you want it to be quiet time when you stuff a Kong. Number two, you want to make stuffing a Kong an event. Number three, you want the dog to win, win, win. Number four, you always use a primer. And number five, praise your dog for doing the right thing.
Take this method, try it, I know your dog will love you for it.