If you’re like me and happen to have a hyperactive dog, who no matter what you do ALWAYS has an endless supply of energy, then you’re constantly on the lookout for new and creative ways to engage and keep them from harassing you throughout the day! We all long for that peace and quite but can’t really get that let alone enjoy it when we have our dog(s) throwing their toys into our laps wanting to play fetch every 2.5 seconds (this is Zoey’s signature move whenever she wants to play).
One of my favorite things to do (and I do this with my dog and also my clients dogs) is to use some sort of chew toy. Chew toys are great interactive toys that you can fill up with food to keep their minds and bodies busy! Now the trick about chew toys is strategically placing the food inside the toy to make it challenging, but not impossible, to get at. If you just place treats and food inside where it only takes your dog a few minutes to retrieve then you’re not really giving your dog a good workout. You want your dog to problem solve and take time to dig out whatever goodies are in their chew toy.
Kongs are my go-to chew toys to use whenever I have a dog who needs to stay busy. They’re super durable (and also have extra tough chews if you have an avid chewer), come in a variety of sizes/colors and you can stuff them with virtually anything. When I use kongs I like to incorporate peanut butter (Kong sells a dog friendly peanut butter as well as cheese filling), treats and/or their food. Another combination I like to use is one that includes frozen yogurt, fruits and vegetables (usually something crunchy). With both of these concoctions I like to freeze the kongs, this makes everything stick together nicely and it also adds a level of difficulty. I usually freeze the kongs overnight to ensure it’s as frozen as possible but I think leaving it in the freezer for a good 5-6 hours would be fine. When I give my dogs the kongs they usually take a good 2-3 hours to get most if not all of what’s inside and that’s using my most avid chewer as an example.
Another method I like to use which is very similar to the Kong method is using chew bones. These kinds of bones are the ones that come filled with bone marrow or some other sort of filling in the center that your dog can work out or you can find ones that are already empty that you can fill yourself. I use either one. If I buy one that comes pre-filled then I can hand it off to my dog and once she’s done with it I’ll refill myself. These types of bones aren’t as spacious as the Kong chews are so you don’t have very much space to work with so what I like to do is fit soft treats inside and push it as far down as I can making it more difficult to get out. If I want to make the chew more interesting then I’ll add some peanut butter along with the soft treats and then freeze that. These types of chews don’t last as long as the kongs, again because there isn’t a whole lot to dig out but they will keep your dog engaged and off your back!
Some of the kids keeping busy: