It is reassuring to know that the ingredients for an “almost perfect” dog are available to any responsible dog owner. You can enjoy the wonderful benefits of an “almost perfect” dog. The ingredients are:

1. One clean bill of health. You can help ensure this vital ingredient with current vaccinations and regular veterinary check ups.
2. One proper I.D. Make sure your dog has a license and/or I.D. (dog tags, tattoo, canine microchip).
3. One well-nourished, well-exercised dog. Feed your dog as recommended by your veterinarian, professional trainer or breeder. Exercise your dog as often as possible.
4. One safe, secure, comfortable environment free from abuse and neglect. If your dog spends much time outdoors, a well-insulated dog house in a fenced area should be provided. Inside, a crate (dog den) is recommended by most trainers. Start crate training early – ask your veterinarian!
5. A full measure of time. Time spent with your dog should include training flavored with reward, correction/positive reinforcement, petting, grooming and exercise such as walking, playing, fetching, and just being with you and your family.

Missing ingredients result in behavior problems. Over 60% of dogs in shelters are there as a result of behavior problems or lack of identification.

Don’t despair! Make sure your dog has a clean bill of health, then contact your professional trainer and/or animal behaviorist for help.

Prevention is always the best cure for behavior problems! Lack of training and physical and mental understimulation (boredom) are primary causes of misbehavior. They can be easily prevented by enrolling in basic training classes (contact your veterinarian for a referral) and using Kong Dog Toys for healthy physical and mental stimulation.

Kong Dog Toys are widely used and recommended for therapy and prevention of understimulation, boredom, separation anxiety and other behavior problems. Following are some simple ways Kongs can be utilized to promote good behavior in your dog.

It is important for dogs to succeed at their “work”. Make it easy to remove the kong stuffing at first. AS THEY BECOME MORE EXPERIENCED, YOU MAY WANT TO MAKE THEIR JOB MORE CHALLENGING – HERE’S HOW:

1. Pack stuffing tighter.
2. Wedge biscuits inside the cavity using the inside rim of the opening to secure them.
3. FREEZE IT! Very Popular! Try various combinations of canned food, gravy, noodles, rice and mashed potatoes mixed with food nuggets and freeze. KONGSICLES are a favorite with many hot dogs! Put a dab of peanut butter in the small end of the Kong to plug it. Turn it upside down in a cup. Fill it full of water, chicken broth or fruit juice and freeze. Cool doggies! Kongsicles are recommended for outdoor use.
4. CHEESE IT! Mix cheese pieces or cheese spread with food nuggets and microwave until cheese melts. Let it cool to a safe temperature. NOTE – Use a cup to contain the Kong when freezing or microwaving.

As you create recipes, be sensitive to your dog’s tummy as you experiment. Following are recipes created by veterinarians, dog trainers and dog lovers worldwide.

BANANA RAMA: 1 fresh banana · 2 tbs wheat germ · 1 tbs plain yogurt (can use your pet’s favorite flavor as well) · Kong Toy that best fits your pet’s chewing temperament In a bowl, mash up banana. Then, add wheat germ and yogurt. Mash all ingredients together and use spoon to add to Kong. Freeze for 4 hours. Makes 1 serving for Medium Kong. Double for every Kong Size that is bigger.

CHEESY DENTAL KONG DELIGHT: 3 slices of your pet’s favorite cheese · Dental Kong Toy A very simple and creative way to make any pet drool in delight. Just place the 3 slices of cheese directly onto the grooves of your pet’s Dental Kong (if model has rope – make sure cheese does not get onto it). Melt in microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Give to pet after it cools.

PHILLY STEAK: steak scraps · 1 ounce cream cheese · appropriate Kong Toy Place small scraps of the steak inside Kong toy. Spread cream cheese in large hole to hold scraps.

FRUIT SALAD: apple and carrot chunks · 1/4th of a banana · appropriate Kong Toy Place apples and carrots in Kong Toy. Mush the banana in large hole to hold fruit in place. You can include other fruits and veggies: orange slices · peach and/or nectarine chunks · celery sticks · broccoli and/or cauliflower · tomato and black olive mixture.

VEGGIE KONG OMELET: 1 egg · your choice of shredded cheese · any vegetables that your pet may like · appropriate Kong Toy Scramble egg and fold in vegetables. Put into Kong toy. Sprinkle some cheese over the top and microwave for about 20 seconds. Cool thoroughly before giving to dog.

MAC ‘N CHEESE: Leftover macaroni and cheese · small cube of Velveeta · appropriate Kong Toy Melt Velveeta in microwave until gooey. Add mac ‘n cheese to Kong Toy. Pour heated Velveeta into Kong. Make sure it has cooled before giving to your pet.

AUNT JEANNIE’S ARCHEOLOGY KONG (for advanced dogs) LAYER ONE (deepest): roasted, unsalted cashews · freeze dried liver bits LAYER TWO: dog kibble, cookies or liver biscotti · Cheerios · sugar-free, salt-free peanut butter · dried banana chips, apples and apricots LAYER THREE: carrot sticks · turkey or leftover ravioli or tortellini · Kong Toy (the larger the better!) Pack as tightly as possible. The last item inserted should be an apricot or piece of ravioli, presenting a smooth “finish” under the main opening. LIGHT VERSION: substitute crumbled rice cakes for cashews, Caesar croutons for freeze-dried liver, fat free cream cheese for peanut butter. – by Jean Donaldson

KONG ON A ROPE: Dry dog kibble · appropriate Kong Toy · Rope Take the rope, pull it through the Kong Toy and knot it. Hang this upside down from a tree, deck or post. The small hole should be facing the ground. Take the kibble and fill the Kong Toy. Make the toy hang just low enough that it is out of your dog’s reach. The dog will spend hours trying to retrieve the kibble from the Kong Toy. At the end of the day, take the remaining kibble and give to your pet as a reward. This is advanced work for your dog. – by Ian Dunbar

FROZEN JERKY POPS: Peanut butter · bouillon · Jerky Strips · Water · appropriate Kong Toy · muffin tin Smear a small amount of peanut butter over small hole in your Kong Toy. Fill the cool water and add a pinch of bouillon. Place a Jerky Stick inside Kong Toy and freeze. This can also be put (once frozen) in a children’s size swimming pool for a fun day of fishing for your pet. – by Terry Ryan

SIMPLE, TRIED AND TRUE: Peanut butter · appropriate Kong Toy Smear peanut butter inside the cavity of your Kong Toy. It’s that easy! – by trainers and vets worldwide

TRIXIE’S FAVORITE: Trixie, a 50 pound Aussie/Springer mix, loves turkey, chicken or marrow bites mixed with slightly moistened food nuggets frozen inside her Kong. She is very clean about unstuffing – some dogs are not! – by Joe Markham

Every dog has a favorite recipe – finding your dog’s will be fun! REMEMBER: Some foods are not healthy for dogs. Check with your vet first.

Hide stuffed Kongs indoors and/or out. The hunt is great fun and rewarding. IMPORTANT!
a. Provide stuffed Kongs randomly so they won’t always be associated with you leaving.
b. If your dog is unstuffing several Kongs per day, you should appropriately reduce the amount of bowl feeding.
c. CLEAN KONGS THOROUGHLY AFTER USE! Dishwasher is recommended. Your dog’s job will last until the Kongs are unstuffed. You can keep your dog “working” all day if you provide enough stuffed Kongs!

IMPORTANT! Use Kongs Safely! Your dog’s safety is your responsibility! ALWAYS supervise your dog’s use of Kongs until you are confident they can be used safely without you! Read Kong Toy User Guide!

Article courtesy of