In Mother Nature’s world, wild canines hunt (aerobic exercise), feast (eat), then sleep. To encourage your dog to sleep, and stay out of trouble, especially when left alone, try to imitate Mother Nature.
Before leaving your pet alone, give him/her a good aerobic workout – play hide & seek, as well as fetching – these are good games, that imitate “the hunt”. As you leave, put your dog in its confinement area with its meal stuffed into a kong. Getting the food out of the kong, will help satisfy his instinctual behaviours to hunt and feast, and put him in a relaxed state of mind, to encourage sleep.
Trainers’ tricks, to stuffing the perfect Kong:
Make sure you have the appropriate size – bigger is better. Unless you have a real heavy duty chewer, we find the red ones preferable. The black ones are tougher, which is frustrating for normal chewers.
Find something in your kitchen (tumblers, mugs) that will hold the kong upright (small hole at the bottom). Put a piece of hard cookie in the kong to cover the small hole. Now using your finger, smear the inside with something sticky that tastes good to the dog. A tablespoon or two of liverwurst, cheese whiz, or peanut butter, are common favourites. You could also try mayonnaise or honey. Now drop in your dog’s kibble, plus a few little surprises – pieces of apple, or hard cheese. The point is to make these kongs absolutely wonderful and make your dog adore them. Plug the top of the kong with some more of the flavouring then pop the whole thing in the freezer. It’s a real time saver to prepare several at a time, and $100 is better spent on kongs, than on repairing doggy damage. You can wash them in the top shelf of the dishwasher.
Use these kongs for special occasions, like when you go out, the dog is crated, or you just need some peace and quiet. The more creative you are in stuffing the more your dog will look forward to them. Will they make your dog fat? Not if you stuff them with part of your dog’s regular diet. Will they make your dog crave ‘people food’? No, the tiny amounts of ‘people food’ will make your dog crave his kong! And that’s exactly what we want.