Part of dog training involves teaching your dog to be calm, quiet, and relaxed. Because January is Train Your Dog Month, I wanted to share my ideas for how you can use food-stuffed toys to teach your dog to relax and enjoy being alone.
We use a combination of Kongs and Squirrel Dudes for our food-stuffable toys. We also have a variety of sizes because we always have a puppy in the house (service pup in training). We freeze our toys after stuffing them because our dogs need that extra challenge (and I need the extra quiet time for myself – the longer it takes them to get all the food out, the more me-time I get!).
In the past, I’ve used peanut butter in the toys. (Click here to see how I store them in the freezer.) Lately, though, our dogs have put on a few extra pounds (hey, so have I — no judgement here), so I wanted to lighten the calorie load of those food-stuffed toys. Instead of straight (fattening) peanut butter, I experimented in the kitchen with some soon-to-expire stuff from the fridge. I mixed in some non-fat, plain yogurt in with the peanut butter and came up with a dreamy conconction. Here’s how you can do it in your own kitchen:
Start with some peanut butter. I get mine by the case (16 jars at a time) from Costco. You can use any kind, but Jif’s what Costco carries…
I stuff about 30 Kongs at a time, so adjust the amount of peanut butter and yogurt to match your needs. I use about 1/2 a jar of peanut butter.
Next, you’ll need your yogurt. Any brand is good, but I like to eat yogurt, too, so I buy what I like to eat.
Slap that yogurt into the bowl with the peanut butter. Again, I use about half the container of yogurt, but I’m making about 30 food-stuffed toys, so adjust accordingly to your needs.
Now, just stir the two together. It’ll be gloopy at first, but the more you mix, the thicker it’ll get. It’s kind of surprising just how smooth and thick this concoction will get.
Just keep stirring and you’ll get this dreamy mixture. Go ahead, taste it. It’s de-freaking-licious.
Now you’re ready to put all that delicious goodness into those food-stuffed toys! Mmmmm, that’s good stuff right there. If my husband’s around, I have to keep him away from the bowl. He eats it like cookie dough.
Deal those food-stuffed toys out when you’re leaving the house, or just when you need to occupy your dog for a little while so you can get some work done. You’re getting two things done at once: teaching your dog to relax and getting some of your own work done!
Other things you can stuff into the toy include: apples, bananas, low-fat cream cheese, carrots, and cottage cheese.
Do you have other great tips for low-fat stuffing? Share your ideas in a comment!
Casey Lomonaco says
I really like to stuff Kongs with frozen ground raw meat (or prepared blends) or canned dog food. In the summer time, when it’s nice out, for dogs with weight issues I recommend ice cubes made of apple juice or low-sodium chicken broth, maybe with some veggies mixed in. If I make too many scrambled eggs (is there such a thing?!) I’ve also stuffed them in Kongs. Canned Tuna Fish mixed with yogurt and maybe some veggies.
If I’m in a real hurry and need something quickly (unexpected guest arrival) and don’t have anything prepared, pre-made, packaged frozen meatballs fit PERFECTLY in a Large sized Kong and will keep dogs busy for a long time!
Steph B. says
Stuffed Kongs are a must at my house! We discovered about a year ago that canned sweet potatoes (plain, not sugared) make a great Kong stuffing. They are pre-cooked, can be mashed and mixed with low-fat yogurt, or simply smushed in plain with regular kibble. Canned sweet potato makes a great binder to stick the foods inside the Kong together so it can be frozen solid. In summer we used to make “ices” by plugging the small end of the Kong (using peanut butter or cheese), dropping in kibble, and then filling up with low-fat/low-sodium chicken broth and freezing. Tasty treats that keep the dogs occupied = awesome! 🙂
Laurie Luck says
Casey! Thanks for contributing! I just started feeding my Lily raw and I will definitely stuff some Kongs with her breakfast and dinner this summer. She’s a Kong pro! The canned tuna is a great idea! And the meatballs! I’m going to get some on my next grocery run — that will definitely keep the dogs busy for a long time! Thanks again, those are great ideas!
Laurie Luck says
Thanks for stopping in, Steph! Yes, Kongs are a staple here, too. I couldn’t get along without them! I forgot all about the sweet potatoes and pumpkin, too. Great idea — the dogs love both of ’em and they’re good for the dogs, too! Excellent ideas! Thanks again!
My grandmother used to cook for her dog all the time. I used to ask it I could have some because it looked so good.