Orly Conquers the Kong

Orly loves her Kong. The bouncy red toy signals food of course. She’s gotten adept at emptying them far more quickly than I can fill them. When she was about 3 months old, she figured out that if she backed the Kong into a corner, it would stay still for her to dig deep into it and extract every last bit of food. She doesn’t even need to hold it in place with her paws!

I can still slow her down if I pack the food in tightly. If I simply mix her kibble with peanut butter or yogurt, she empties the Kong in under a minute.

But if I soften the kibble with warm water and then really stuff it in there, I can keep her busy for several minutes! When that gets to be too easy, I will escalate further: Freezing the softened-kibble-stuffed Kong.

3 month old Orly and 9 year old Cali, both golden retrievers, empty their Toppl food toysWe’ve branched out beyond Kongs, too. She has a big orange treat ball that slowly gives up bits of dry kibble as she rolls it around. (Cali loves that one too.) She’s got the longtime champ, Squirrel Dude, a purple Kong knockoff that is much harder to empty. We’ve got some newer toys, too: The West Paw Toppl is well loved by both Cali and Orly. I have offered them that one with frozen yogurt, though that can get messy and is a better option during outdoor-snacking weather.

The food toys slow down her eating and also tire her out a bit (nothing really tires her out these days) and keep her entertained. I use them for her puppy lunches, often in hopes of keeping her busy while I have work meetings. It rarely works; she finishes emptying her toys long before the meetings end.

I enjoy watching her figure out new ways to empty her treat toys, showing creativity and intelligence as she solves the problem of extracting food from a moving object.


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