How to Use a Kong Dog Toy – 90% of Behavior Problems Eliminated

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About this video:
In this video Ian Stone from Simpawtico Dog Training shows you how to use a kong dog toy so that it’s fast, easy and effective at solving 90% of the most common behavior problems. Crate training, potty training, barking, chewing, and even anxiety can all be addressed by teaching your dog to love their stuffed Kongs. Embracing simplicity, our approach isn’t just about Kong recipes, but focuses on teaching the dog to love the Kong so that it becomes an automatic training tool. Kong stuffing can be super easy, for puppies and adult dogs.

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78 Comments on “How to Use a Kong Dog Toy – 90% of Behavior Problems Eliminated”

  1. Love the idea of the moistened food and the frozen but ESPECIALLY love the idea of tying the kong in the crate! My girl hates her crate and we’ve been feeding meals in it, never closing it on her and never forcing her in, along with some additional clicker training with it when I can, but she still hasn’t really turned a corner with it. I think this could really help! Do you get the rope from the hardware store?

    1. wondering what you think about this: when I have looked at dog toys/ropes in the .99 cent store, I never ended up buying any because they are made in China and have strong chemical odors. I avoid them because I just don’t know if there is anything toxic about it. I just want to caution other people that dollar stores may not be really a good deal when it comes to your pets. Instead , I look for sales at reputable stores.

    2. i dont understand why your crating your dog if its past puppy hood. i understand crating a puppy when you go to work… i came home to find my pup had chewed through my laptop charger wire. but ya after they get past the chewing and checking out their new home you should allow them to sleep on a bed or better yet your own bed.

    1. Dana H regular old kongs are perfectly safe. They have been designed to have a hole on either end to prevent a suctioning effect. The kong toys in question was a ball with only one hole that led to a vacuuming effect. That can not happen with a regular kong because of the two holes.

    2. Dana H yup read it on the internet must be true.

      I googled it as suggested .., there isn’t much.

      Out of the millions sold very few dogs have an issue. The risk is statistically so low it isn’t an issue. So long as you don’t buy an under sized one.

  2. Subscribed!! I never got a kong for my dog because I only ever saw people putting peanut butter into it and she doesn’t like peanut butter. I’ll be getting some now though!!

    1. Theobromine is the alkaloid found in chocolate that makes it dangerous for dogs. It’s a kind of stimulant similar to caffeine (it gives chocolate it’s “kick”). Not the same thing as xylitol though xylitol is probably found in lots of chocolate bars too. Expensive chocolates are the worst for your dog as they contain more cacao (and thus more theobromine).

  3. Okay this sounds good and like it will work. but…I’m still confused as how to do the feeding schedule and treat them out of the feeding schedule like for training and give them a kong?
    so say I have an aussie pup and say he is soposed to get two cups a day. (this is all just hypothetical) do I give him like half a cup in the morning and use the rest to train with and then another quarter for the kongs and the remainder for “dinner” ?

    1. Hi Courtney! You could do it that way for sure. That would work great. I would suggest for a puppy even for the time being just doing meals exclusively in the kong for now. Half-cup in a kong for breakfast, half-cup in a kong for dinner. That leaves a cup to train with, or to even use part for lunch (some vets recommend a lunch for puppies). Just adjust the amounts for your dog, your schedule, and your setup at home.

  4. I have 8 large puppy kongs for my 2 year old 75 lb rough collie who is an extremely gentle chewer, and have already purchased 5 medium puppy kongs for the Collie puppy who will be coming to me at the end of march around 10 weeks old. When he gets big enough, I’ll be buying 7 more large puppy kongs. I LOVE kong toys! they helped my dog to love his bed, helped to break him of begging (along with some serious training), and were instrumental in really taking his ‘place’ command to the next level.

    I actually stuff his kong with some canned dog food in the top, followed by some kibble, followed by one or two crunchy treats, and topped with either some natural peanut butter, plain greek yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, or pure canned pumpkin. Then I take a 4″ bully stick and pop it in so it’s sticking out of the top and throw it in the freezer. It takes him about 30 minutes to work his way through all of it.

    This is a special treat he gets the 2-3 times a week I’m actually home around dinner time—the only time we have formal sit down meals. I tell him to go to his place (on his bed, in the same room), and he will go to his place and work on his kong toy while we eat, and stay on his bed well after he’s done. During thanksgiving and Christmas eve when we have large groups of people at the house, he can stay in the dining room as part of the festivities and meal time! It’s fantastic, and people are always impressed by his good manners and lack of begging.

    As a bonus it helped build up his positive associations with his bed (which he didn’t like before), and helped me to really create a rock solid ‘place’ command.

    1. I love this idea! I am having some trouble with the whole meal being in the Kong. She gets two cups of food a day and I do a breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If I feed her in a bowl I generally put around three fourths a cup in the bowl. I bought the large size Kong (one below the biggest they had at the store) but her normal meal amount doesn’t fit into one Kong. Should I give her more than one Kong at a time or buy a larger Kong? I feel like there is probably something simple I’m overlooking but this is my first dog to raise on my own so I’m way more lost than I thought I would be.

    2. We measure out 3/4c dry kibble into a small jar for each meal, use that to load up one Squirrel Dude (similar sized toy though we also like Kongs), and give it to our dog as a reward a good behavior at mealtime. We like to cue lie down and look at me. Once she’s done we refill it and repeat.

    3. Hallie Logan Canned dog food is nasty. Try canned mixed veggies in the canned food section. Mine love it, and if I won’t eat it I don’t expect them to. Cheap as well. Like 80 cents a can.

    4. Ugh can you be so kind to purchase just one for my Maltese. I kindly thank you 😊 lol have a great day.

    1. i was so tired of our lilly biting us all the time and then i used a few tips i learned from the
      — videos. it was like night and day; worked so well

    2. Simpawtico Dog Training I just saw this video and have been wanting to introduce my 3 Great Danes to a Kong. They are all already crate trained and have a set feeding schedule. Obviously Great Danes eat a large amount and their meals wouldn’t even come close to fitting in the Kong, so do you suggest I just hold out a bit of their morning meal to use in the Kong for stimulation when they have down time in their crates?

  5. We’re trying the kong for the first time. The shelter we adopted our dog from told us he has separation anxiety, but after watching a few of your videos I think it may be isolation distress. He wouldn’t even look at the kong while in his crate [even with peanut butter], but is interested if I give it to him on his bed. Any suggestions to get him excited about the kong in the crate?

    1. Hi Matthew! I’d say keep doing what you’re doing. As he gets more and more interested in Kongs in general you can start experimenting with putting it in the crate since he’ll have more buy in. In the meantime, since it sounds like crate training is your goal, keep doing other things to condition the crate to be a good place. Put some tasty treats in there for him to find (even make a little trail), don’t always close him in when he goes in, and praise him any time he wanders in on his own. He may also just need a little time to settle in to your home. As he relaxes he’ll be more open to eating food in spooky places (which the crate might presently be). Keep at it! It takes time.

    2. Simpawtico Dog Training thanks so much for responding! Your suggestions have been very helpful and I think we’re already making progress. Me and my dog, Frank, are very appreciative.

  6. I love the production value on your video! Clearly lots of After Effects work has gone into this. Cool music too 🙂

  7. im becoming totally hooked on your channel. these techniques are exactly how ive rehabilitated my three rescued “troubled” dogs. didn’t know about the rope tie anchor trick – will come in super handy! have you experimented with starmark academy’s treat dispensing ball or pickle pocket? they are more durable than the kong and work similarly in terms of food challenge.

    1. I’ve tried the pickle pocket and I did like it! Those are both good suggestions and I suspect everything from the video would work with those just as well. Thanks for the encouragement and glad you like the channel! CHEERS!

    2. Hi. I read that you rescued your dog. Let me ask you something. My husband and I recently rescued a street dog. He belonged to someone I believe, but he was either abandoned or lost. We asked a lot of neighbors around the area and nobody knew him. So we took him home, Christmas eve was next day so there was going to be a LOT of fireworks here where I live, so he came with us. The thing is, he doesn’t get exited about food! I mean we have given him some home food to make him interested but he can’t eat that always. Besides he only eats meat like chicken or the dog food if I feed it to him. He is like 6 kilos under his weight so I don’t know what to do. The only thing he likes are his walks. He loves being outside but he barks when other dogs female or male don’t home him attention and with males he can get aggressive. Please any tips will help a lot. Thank you. 😄

    3. Just wondering if you have tried taking your dog for a walk, the behavior you mentioned that he enjoys, and THEN feeding him. Also, maybe have his teeth checked at the vet. Could be that he has some sore gums or teeth.

    1. Hi Gina! Potty training is rooted in two things: predictability, and consistency. The best way to get good predictability with a new dog of any age is to use confinement strategically. That means: specific rooms, pens, and crating. If the dog is resistant to confinement, Kong training can ease that to some extent…pretty much all the way if used for meal times. Then you have not only got the dog to enjoy confinement, but you’ll have control over the space. Take the dog out regularly and wait with them in one consistent spot. It should happen like clockwork. Then, confinement can be relaxed, but now you’ve also got a dog that’s used to confinement so you can leave them alone either in a room or in a crate, as you prefer.

    2. what do you do with children? you show them the bathroom and tell them to go potty. do the same with your dog. have a schedule. after he eats wait 15 mins or so than take him on his walk or in the backyard. if you catch the dog going potty in the house. immediately tell him / she NO , ( say like you mean it) pick the dog up and bring him in the backyard, or put the collar on him and take him for the walk. Reward the dog each time he goes to the bathroom where you want it to go. soon enough it will get the idea that if he goes outside it will get a reward. and bam your dog is now potty trained

    1. put them inside something.. ziplock, yogurt container tupperware.. just like anything you put in there

  8. My dog used to SCREAM in the car. Partly upset because he couldn’t be with me, but mostly because of being overexcited by the outside world and frustrated that he couldn’t get out. My solution: Fill the boot of the car with towels and make it safe, and throw in a Kong. Immediately on the first drive he was silent.

    1. beenbeen Screaming dogs? Boots? Filled with towels? Did you put the dog in the boot? Are you new to our planet? Oh, relax. I’m just having some fun.

  9. I used a kong for a foster puppy who was eating too fast and not putting on enough weight, it helped so much more than my usual methods.

    1. +Natalie Piccione YouTube does those automatically if you click that option when uploading. He wasn’t personally typing them out.

    2. If you can write you can talk to me, im 82 struck by a 18 wheeler in my Pinto 40+ years ago. I can see people scratching their heads, What is a Pinto? Training my Jack Russell to help me, he is so smart. Hearing aids don’t help all people. Way to go Jordan!

  10. Hey there, I feed my dogs a raw food diet. So I don’t think stuffing it with raw food would be a good idea. So what would you suggest stuffing it with given my situation? Thanks

    1. You can still use the classic KONG. Just wash with a bottle brush and hot soapy water then rinse thoroughly.

  11. My staffy doesn’t ’suffer’ from any of the ’problems’ that you mentioned 😀 But I’ll still try this out since the kong is his favourite toy by far!

    1. finding a ‘favorite toy’ is finding a key to obedience…. the dog will do the commands to get to play with the toy.

  12. I have been researching about the kong but there is no information on the Kong website regarding their “natural” rubber, how it is manufactured, or indeed if it is a BPA-free or a phthalate-free material. Do you have any of these informations? It would be great because I really want to use the Kong. Thanks

    1. Those are really great questions. I don’t know the answers, I’m afraid. I’d be interested. I’ll take a look, and if you find something let me know, please.

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