I have a Kong key chain. I give my friends with dogs a Kong toy when they have a new baby. (I also give a gift for the baby, FYI.) I use Kongs when I train dogs, including working with dogs who have aggression issues, those with separation anxiety, and those that simply need to learn better manners in a variety of situations. Naturally, Kongs are a big part of playtime with the dogs in my life. I have a huge box of brand new Kong toys in my living room right now because I’ve run out of room in our storage room. In short, I love Kong toys.
The original Kong toy, which is red and looks a bit like a hollow snowman in general form, is made of a tough rubber that is indestructible for most dogs. I’ve heard dogs who actually can chew through these Kongs called “one-percent dogs”. This nickname refers to the fact that 99% of the dogs are unable to destroy Kongs, but one percent of them can. For most of that one percent, an even tougher version, called the “Extreme Kong”, is a wonderful option. These black versions of the Kong are extra tough and very few dogs have the strength of teeth or jaws to harm them.
So, besides being hard to chew up, what’s so great about Kongs? There are oodles of answers to that question. Dogs love them, both as toys and as food puzzles, so they can help keep dogs’ quality of life high and can be used as reinforcement in training. They are a great way to provide enrichment for dogs by giving them a chance to work to get food out of them, or a chance to play with them. Many dogs love the erratic way that they bounce, which makes them a higher value toy than balls. Their use as food puzzles can be great for any dog, including dogs who are injured or not as active as usual for whatever reason. Mental exercise can go a long way to make up for a temporary lack of adequate physical exercise.
Kong now has tons of toys beyond its original. The Aqua Kong floats and has a rope for tossing and tugging. The Kong Wobbler is a food puzzle toy that can entertain a dog for ages while it eats what pops out of the small opening on this large toy. Many of the toys are soothing, especially the fleecy Wubba toy that has become so popular lately. These squeaky, fleecy, stretchy, bouncy, and rubbery toys are designed to be fun and practical.
Have you tried Kong toys? Which ones do you and your dog love?