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!