This is the first in a series of two posts about my favorite training tool, the hollow stuffable toy. Find part two here
One of the first comments almost everyone makes about my dogs is how calm they always are. While Yuna has always been rather laid back, Stark is a high energy, very driven dog. But he knows there is a time and a place.
He has learned this because of hollow stuffable toys.
Rubber toys like Kongs can be filled with your dogs regular kibble mixed with something like plain yogurt, wet food, gravy, or peanut butter. Allowing your dog to work for their food is a natural outlet for dog's need to hunt and search for food. If you replace your dog's food bowl with a hollow toy your dog will become calmer and happier.
The reason for this is because when your dog works out food from a kong they generally lay down. Their blood pressure goes down because the act of eating and chewing is calming. Their heart rate goes down because they are relaxed. The best part is that they are being rewarded for all that good wanted behavior! Taking 10 minutes a day to stuff three or four toys can give you a calmer more enjoyable dog.
It is an easy fast solution for many common unwanted behaviors. In the next post I will talk about how to hook your dog on stuffable toys even if they aren't very food motivated. Training your dog to love these toys is fast, fun, and easy like all the training that we do!
For Example Here Are David Letterdog's Top Ten Thing Your Dog Can't Do While Chewing on a Kong (by Dr Ian Dunbar):
- -Chew carpets, curtains, couches, clothes, chair legs, children's toys and electrical cords or consume famous books on dog behaviour.
- -Bark incessantly. The dog may still bark at disturbances, but it is less likely to bark recreationally because now it is busy chewing recreationally.
- -Run in ever-decreasing obsessive compulsive circles, anxiously chasing its tail, or excessively licking or chewing paws and the root of its tail, causing self mutilation.
- -Play-bite or mouth your hand, nip ankles, grab the lead or play tug o-war with your tie or trousers.
- -Destroy garden furniture and hoses, consume cat feces and dog stools or eat flowers and poisonous plants.
- -Dig. Certainly the dog can hold a chew toy in its jaw and dig, but if really working at treats inside the chew toy, it would hardly be inclined to dig a hole to bury the chew toy.
- -Noisily lick private parts in the company of great aunts or children.
- -Lick your face with the same tongue that was used to perform number 7.
- -Borrow the car, write bad checks or run up the charge card. (just checking to see if anyone is actually reading this article.)
- -Become bored or anxious and otherwise dream of bolting through the front door or escaping from the yard.