KONGS & MENTAL ACTIVITY TOYS
These simple but clever products all originate from an idea that a car mechanic had when servicing his Volkswagen "beetle" car one day. His dog was bored and restive and the mechanic threw over a rubber shock absorber from the car for the dog to play with. It was a rounded cone shape and it bounced erratically as its rounded sides hit the ground. The dog loved chasing this irregular bouncing object and "hunted and chased" it like it was a small animal trying to evade capture. Another aspect of this shock absorber was that it was hollow inside so the mechanic pushed pieces of food and biscuits into the large opening at the bottom and the dog spent many happy hours chewing and licking the new toy in an effort to get at the tasty food. The mechanic saw the possibilities for making this into a dog toy and filed a patent - the rest is history....
For more information about the origins and uses
visit the excellent website - The World of Kong
WHY WE RECOMMEND USING KONG TYPE TOYS
Kong type toys are an ideal way of getting a dog to use its senses and energy in a constructive and positive way while helping the dog to concentrate and reduce its over excitement or stress levels. It is similar to a dog gnawing on a juicy bone using its jaws, leg and shoulder muscles as it holds the kong between its paws and teeth and tries to extract the tasty morsels that are hidden inside it - (see Chewing).
WHAT TO PUT INSIDE A KONG
Some people cram a variety of different foods inside the Kong (see Recipe Suggestions) with the tastiest at the top so that the dog has the incentive to keep licking and chewing the Kong to get to the "jackpot" at the very top. What makes it even more tantalizing for the dog is that there is a small hole at the top so that the dog can smell and even taste the "jackpot" but can only get it out through the hole in the bottom of the toy.
Jackpots can be a small amount of either peanut butter, pate, fish or meat spread, chocolate spread, cream cheese, tinned fish - in fact anything that the dog would dearly love to taste and enjoy!
Some organised folk have a variety of stuffed kongs kept in their freezers (often filled with leftovers from human mealtimes, or RAW minced meat such as chicken or lamb) and bring them out as and when they are required.
As you can see from the picture at the top of this page, there are a range of different shapes and sizes of Kong type dog toys made by different manufacturers but the concept of hiding tasty food treats inside them for the dog to try and lick out is the same. Here are some ideas that your dog can try -
- Some dogs like licking and chewing large sized Kong type toys
(which have bigger holes at the bottom but are correspondingly
taller and so require longer tongues to reach the very top of the
Kong) while other dogs enjoy the challenge of working on a very
small Kong with a smaller hole but not so very far to lick up
- I know of a few "clever" dogs that have worked out that if you
drop the kongs on the floor it displaces the food wedged at the top
of the Kong and that it will either fall out of the hole at the
bottom or will be reachable by the dog's tongue.
- These knobbly type kongs look very like a rugby ball. The
knobbles massage against the dogs mouth and some dogs seem to
really enjoy the sensation as they lick and chew to get the food
- Meanwhile, this "dental Kong" is rather like a large hollow
dumbbell with ridges of rubber on the outside to rub against the
dog's teeth like a toothbrush. A friend of mine pushes a tiny cat's
toy mouse into the centre of this type of Kong so that it cannot be
pulled out. Then she activates the battery on the mouse so that
every time the dog moves the Kong the "mouse's" mechanism detects
the movement and squeaks. Terriers especially loved trying to get
this "prey" out of the Kong, but the high pitched squeak may drive
humans mad after a while.... Be warned!
- "Hava Balls" have been designed and made by Cross Keys Select Books - see their website for further details on this product.
OTHER MENTAL STIMULATION TOYS
(available from our Shop)
|Kongs are not the only way of keeping your dog amused and mentally stimulated without making them FASED or over stressed - the activity toys below can have tiny food treats or their regular dried food stuck inside them and the dog has to push the toy around in order to get the treats out. Because these type of toys are difficult to wash and clean out we recommend that small pieces of dried food be used instead of fresh "mushy" types!|
You can make mental stimulation toys even more of a challenge if
they are used outside on the grass. This is because the grass hides
the treats as they fly out of the holes of these toys. An easier
option is to let the dog play with them indoors where it is much
easier for the dog to see and smell the treats as they fall on the
Movement explains which type of Mental Stimulation toy to choose based on the dog's reaction to moving objects. Meanwhile Difficulty gives a guide on choosing how simple or difficult a toy should be, depending on the dog's confidence and powers of concentration.
||This is one of the Mental Stimulation Toys that we sell on our web shop - it is called a Molecuball. The owner places treats through the hole and the dog then has to push the toy around until a treat falls out. This is one of the easiest treat toys and is ideal for "beginner" dogs or puppies who have not played with this sort of toy before. It is important not to give these dogs too difficult and treat toy to play with, otherwise they will be discouraged and not want to play with any of these treat type toys.|
|The "Buster Cube" is one of the most difficult of all the activity toys my dogs have "worked" on. As with the other activity toys, there is a hole to push the treats into, however inside there is a maze of tunnels and holes that the treats fall at random into. This means that the dog has to push and roll the cube for quite some time to enable even one treat to fall out of the hole. On top of this the flat sides of the cube make it far harder for the dog to roll compared to the ball or pyramid - a real challenge for "Einsteins"!|
|Another Mental Activity toy that we recommend is the Dogdecahedron, which was originally designed to keep horses and ponies amused by filling the 20 sided ball with pony nuts and then allowing the horses to push the Dogdecahedron around the stable or field and gradually eat the nuts and they fell out of the toy. This is a very hard wearing treat toy and is ideal for the really heavy-duty chewer!|
This is a new product from the makers of Buster Cubes - the Buster Fun Bone - and I think it is even more of a challenge than the Buster Cube.
It is proving to be a great favourite with lots of dogs because they have to tip and turn the Bone from side to side, and at different angles, in order to get a treat to go down the narrow funnel.
It is fascinating watching dogs twist and turn the Bone in all directions, and even toss it into the air in the hope that a treat will fall out. The look of triumph on their faces when they do find a treat on the floor is a pleasure to see.
The Material contained herein may not be
reproduced without the prior written approval of Dog Games Ltd.
© 2000-2005 All Rights Reserved.
The Material contained herein may not be reproduced without the prior written approval of Dog Games Ltd. © 2000-2005 All Rights Reserved.