The Kong

With pit bulls, get the large size Kong…not the King, but the large. It is the standard red Kong about 4 inches long.

What you will need to get started:

  • Good quality kibble
  • Tuna or some other smelly treat your dog likes
  • Dog biscuits about 2-2.5 inches long
  • Pulp chew treats – found at any supermarket – aroung 3/4″ thick and 3″ long
  • Jerky treats – ones that you can tear easily.

Steps to Kong-ing

  1. Rub the starter (tuna or smelly substance) around the large opening at the big end of the Kong. Add several kibbles. You will do this four times. Lay the Kong down on the floor and put your dog into a sit and tell her “good girl”. If she goes for the Kong before 5 seconds elapse, pick up the Kong and say “too bad”. It might take awhile at first, but your dog will get it. When your dog holds the sit for five seconds while your praise her, offer the Kong as a reward. You want doggy to complete the puzzle in less than five minutes.
  2. After your dog has completed this task four times (you can even do the first four in a day) you and doggy are ready for the next step. Rub the starter (tuna) around the big hole at the end, then add a piece of jerky treat or something good and a few kibbles. Step up the game a bit. Repeat this four times with rest periods between. This can lapse over several days as your schedule permits. Again, the dog should figure out the puzzle and empty the Kong in five minutes or less. Again, make your dog wait five full seconds before picking up the Kong. Make her work. Again, if she tries to grab the Kong before five seconds elapse, pick up the Kong and say “too bad”.
  3. Next level, rub the starter around the rim, a jerky treat or piece of one into the Kong, several kibbles and lay one of the dog biscuits across the hole. You might have to break the biscuit to make it fit. Repeat four times as schedule permits. This one might take puppy a bit longer, but that’s ok. Remember the five second rule…good girl when she sits..too bad when she grabs ahead of time.
  4. Rub the starter around the rim, a jerky treat piece, then some kibble. After that lay one dog biscuit across the top and criss cross another biscuit on top of the first biscuit. You might still need to break the biscuit to make them fit. Repeat for a total of four times. Remember the five second wait.
  5. This stage involves the pulp treats. These look like man-made rawhides, but you want to use natural ingredients. First the starter and next the pulp treat.You might need to break them to make it work. You are really stepping up the game on this one, so put one into the Kong with about an inch or so to spare. Drop a few kibbles into the Kong and layer with a biscuit on top. Repeat four times and always make her work for the Kong by waiting five seconds.
  6. Now you can begin to use your imagination. You have taught puppy to be very interested in the Kong. For years, I just gave a dog the Kong and couldn’t understand why they lost interest. With a Kong like any other tool, you must train your dog. By now you have seen your dog working hard to get at the goodies in the Kong. Remember to step up the game and keep it interesting. I will use cream cheese, good quality wet dog food and freeze the Kong….use your creative. Don’t slack and let puppy have the Kong before her five second wait. Your reward, a happy satisfied pup who has had a full upper body workout and is ready for a good long nap.
  7. Read some more fun ideas for a Kong and some great recipes >

Good luck and happy Kong-ing!!