Best Dog Training Tips and Ideas
Learn How to Stuff or Fill a Hollow Dog Chew Toy of How to Fill a Kong
I love using hollow chew toys like West Paw’s Tux to keep Dexter The Dog busy and occupied. I recommend this to virtually all my dog training clients. Why? Well, for starters dogs love to chew! Dogs get bored easily. I think using an interactive dog treat toys is a great way for canine enrichment.
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What I don’t like are fat dogs. So, I tend to find ways to stuff the Rita ball, Kong Quest Bone (large), or a West Paw toy with Dexter’s food calories. You probably know by now that I DIY Raw for Dexter. I use his vegetable and fruit portion of his meals to stuff toys. For those dogs who eat a high-quality canned dog food, this would work well too. For my dry dog food friends, I recommend substituting cooked meats for some of the dry kibbles.
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Getting your dog used to eating out of a hollow toy sometimes takes a little trial and error. What I typically do is take something wet like pureed meat and water or organic almond butter and smudge it on the outside of the toy. You want to make it easy enough for your dog to want to interact with the treat toy. This may take a few days. You are looking for your dog to anticipate the chew toy and eagerly lick away. Once this happens, I smudge the soft mixture inside the opening so he has to start licking inside the toy for his reward.
The other thing I do in conjunction with the above tip is to place a very high-value dog treat just under the toy, so all your dog has to do is move the toy with his nose to collect the treat. As your dog advances and moves the toy quicker and quicker, you can start to place the treat inside the toy so he has to knock it around to get it out.
Once your dog is readily interacting with his food toy with goodies in it or on it, it’s time to raise the bar a bit more. If you are feeding raw, home cooking, or using high-quality canned dog food, just place a couple of spoonfuls inside your dog’s toy. Then hand it over to your dog to figure out this new challenge.
If you are using dry kibbles, place about 1/4 cup of kibbles in a bowl and add about 2 spoonfuls of pureed cooked meat. Stir and mix together so that the dry kibbles are coated with the moist meat. Now place that mixture inside the toy and give it to your dog to enjoy.
Once this step is mastered, it’s time to raise the bar once again. Double your mixture and place 1/2 the mixture once again inside your dog’s toy. But this time, place the toy in the freezer! Once frozen, remove and stuff the remaining mixture on top of the frozen mixture and present it to your dog. Your dog will be able to enjoy the unfrozen treat as the bottom half slowly starts to thaw. The frozen mixture will be quite challenging to master.
Once mastered, fill the dog toy and freeze the entire toy! This should keep your dog busy from anywhere between 10 minutes to 35 minutes! Now you can do some other things while your dog is happily chewing away.
I personally enjoy stuffing Dexter’s toys with different ingredients. This keeps him interested so it doesn’t become the same old thing over and over again. Have fun and I’m sure your dog will thank you for it!
- Tip-If your dog leaves the toy and is not interested, it typically means the food inside is not valuable enough, or it is too challenging. Increase the value, decrease the difficulty.
- Tip 2-The food in Dexter’s toys are healthy and part of his daily nutritional needs, not extras.
- FYI-most of these dog toys are dishwasher safe (top shelf). But I prefer to use cool water and a baby bottle scrubber to clean after each chew.
Does your dog enjoy filled dog treat toys? Tell me in the comments.
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