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In preparation to pick up our puppy next week I've been reading some books, one being "Before and After getting your puppy" by Ian Dunbar. It was a great read and some interesting tips, I had not heard much before about his method of feeding with stuffed kongs instead of bowls. I had a few questions about the method and was curious if others have found it successful.

- You hear so much about the importance of a regular routine, does kong feeding ruin this routine since there is not a set meal time?

- How long should you give your pup a stuffed kong each time, 10 minutes? an hour?

- Do you continue kong feeding into adolescence and adulthood or ween into bowl feeding?

- Should you use a bowl at all? Is it confusing to introduce some meals in bowl and some in kong?

- Generally what kind of schedule do you follow using this technique?
 

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I'm not a fan of the Kong feeding. Ian Dunbar makes you feel like you will be an abject failure at life if you don't feed by Kong, but you won't be. Millions of dogs eat out of bowls. My pup actually hated the Kong. It frustrated her and made her angry. I took it away. It has been in her toy box ever since, but she has never once pulled it out (and she loves pulling out old toys, loves finding old chew toys she hasn't used in a while).

Feed by bowl, put food down for 10 minutes. Most puppies will gobble it up right away. But if you have a disinterested eater, pick it up after 10 minutes. Put it down for the next meal. Your pup will probably eat it right away because he will be hungry. Feed what he has been eating at the breeder's for at least a month or two after he comes home, then slowly transition him if you want to change the food.
 
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I feed in a bowl. But I do take some of the kibble, put them in water so they get softer, and freeze those in a Kong. I use put that in kennel if I need to leave.
 

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I don't feed using stuffed kongs BUT I do love giving them stuffed kongs to keep them occupied.

I feed using bowls. My dogs don't eat really fast so its not an issue for me to slow down their speed of eating using kongs.

- You hear so much about the importance of a regular routine, does kong feeding ruin this routine since there is not a set meal time?

I think the idea is that you feed the kong at a set time, just that they take longer. So they are still eating on a schedule.

- How long should you give your pup a stuffed kong each time, 10 minutes? an hour?

When I give the kongs- I leave them out for as long as they take to finish whatever I've stuffed ( do note that I don't feed their meals in them so it's purely for entertainment) A frozen kong with yogurt will keep my boy occupied for... maybe 30-40 minutes?

- Do you continue kong feeding into adolescence and adulthood or ween into bowl feeding?

never did kong feeding, don't think its essential, meal times are always in bowls for my dogs.

- Should you use a bowl at all? Is it confusing to introduce some meals in bowl and some in kong?

I'd rather use a bowl than a kong for their proper meals. I feed raw so it will be incredibly messy!

- Generally what kind of schedule do you follow using this technique?

as per normal. the only difference is that they take longer, but you'd still feed at a set time.

I have used puzzle feeders to extend feeding time during lunch when my puppy was younger. A little lunch time enrichment to keep him occupied. It was a really easy puzzle feeder ( I set it easy) so it did not frustrate him. He had to shove it around and it would dispense the kibble.

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I went to see Ian Dunbar for a two day seminar more than twenty years ago. He’s an excellent trainer and a kind human. His methods are sound, positive and work. My puppy didn’t have the drive to feed her from the Kong. She was skinny when she got here. Her interest in food took 3-4 days. Now that she’s older, 4 months, her Kong motivation has increased. I feed from a bowl and use Kongs with kibble and frozen peanut butter to keep her entertained in her crate when I’m busy or when she gets overtired and we both need crate timeout.
 

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I don't use the regular Kongs to feed meals, but I did use the Kong Wobbler to feed meals when Kaizer was a puppy. I thought it would be a good change of pace for him. I never did it on any particular schedule though, sometimes he got breakfast in a bowl and sometimes it would be in the Wobbler if I felt like it. That being said, I would absolutely feed most meals in a bowl - having a dog that can eat out of a bowl happily is invaluable, especially if you're travelling or in a rush. Sometimes you just don't have the time/patience/motivation to do anything more than throw some kibble in a bowl.

I do stuff and freeze toys just for entertainment and a little bit of mental stimulation though. There are just some days where I'm behind and I feel like Kaizer is lacking in something as a result, and other days where I'm just straight up lazy. On a day like that, I'll give him a stuffed toy to help relieve some of my guilt. I use one of those cake decorating tool things to stuff his food toys, it is 100x easier than using a spoon or a Ziploc bag and means I can stuff like 10 toys in a fraction of my normal time. Usually I use canned wet food, specifically pâté as it's super easy to fill the cake decorating tool and isn't messy (I have used more liquid-y foods with success, it's just really messy). Cream cheese, peanut butter, cottage cheese, yogurt, pumpkin, etc. would make good kong stuffers too. Or kibble that has been wettened to a mush could work too. Depending on which toy I have (some toys are easier to get food out of or just don't contain as much food), it could take him anywhere from 15 to 55 minutes to get through a frozen, completely stuffed toy. He gets it as long as it takes him to empty the toy.
 

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EVERY pup is DIFFERENT, even w/in the same breed.

We have an 11 week old Golden who is OBSESSED with food. I have never had another puppy (including a golden retriever) that inhales her food like our pup. She was eating so fast it was causing her to have to much air in her stomach and digestive problems.

So now she gets all of her meals either during a training sessions a few kibble at a time or in a kong.

The key to kong feeding is to just use their dry dog food, nothing wet or sticky. That way they get a slow steady stream of kibble & don't get frustrated, which slows them down for better digestion.

Kong feeding also allows for LOTS more chewing, which not only makes them happy (puppies really need to chew) but also feels good during teething.
Don't think I would use a kong to feed meals to an adult dog, but maybe with something frozen inside when I leave to ease separation anxiety.

One thing I will say is we tried a similar food delivery toy by a different brand & she chewed it up! Puppy teeth are so sharp, so u need something made for puppies. Our kong doesn't have the tiniest scratch on it- Amazing, lol!
We have the large puppy kong & I fill it for her 2 times, 3 meals a day unless we use a meal time for training (which is crazy effective!!) You'll, of course, need to measure out your pups food according to his/her age tho. :)
HTH!
 
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