Saturday, December 6, 2014

Project Kong Chewing: Success!

After a full month of encouragement, Ulysses as finally started to gnaw his durable rubber Kong toys for fun and recreation. I am so proud. This change occurred along with several other big steps for Uly, including beginning to jump up on things with both back feet at the same time, and being able to focus on me in the presence of a leashed dog.

From his broken and severely worn teeth, we have surmised that Uly used to enjoy chewing on abrasive things like tennis balls and rocks. This fits with our guess that he was confined to a small outdoor area for most of his life. He hadn't been gnawing non-edible things for fun prior to Project Kong Chewing, but his willingness to chomp on raw bones, bully sticks, and rawhides helped demonstrate that pain wasn't likely to be the issue. Maybe he just needed to learn how to be a dog again.

It's possible Uly would have gotten to this point on his own, maybe I didn't really teach him anything. What I did do was offer him softer and smaller Kongs, along with introducing them as fun fetch toys as well as vessels for peanut butter. Did it help? I'm not sure, Brisbane and Ru don't seem to be convinced that Kongs are for chewing.

This is what success looks like, people!

This is a project I undertook not for occupational therapy for Ulysses, but because I got tired of scrubbing bits of fossilized peanut butter out of the end of every Kong. Uly has so far made his mark on the red Kongs, and may be switching exclusively to Blue or even Black soon.

Of course, having an actual recreational chewer in the house means I will have to be more careful about retrieving Ru's tiny Kongs from his crate. Uly got one of the Extra Small ones yesterday and chewed the whole top off. I haven't found it yet, but will be watching the yard. It's a small piece of a very small toy inside a 50lb dog, so I expect that this too shall pass.


  1. I have to say I really enjoy reading your blog, I love dog stuff reviews. Did you just play with the empty Kong to promote chewing? My dog doesn't chew it either, I have considered getting him a senior Kong because of the squishyness, he's only 3 y.o. and not a crazy chewer.

  2. Glad you've enjoyed it! I did a lot of empty Kong play with Uly to help him see it as more than a vessel for food. He likes the way it bounces unpredictably, and he likes gnawing on tennis balls after chasing them. Brisbane hasn't gotten with the chewing program yet, but he's very particular about what he will chase.

  3. I have fostered six dogs, and now I have Lily. She is the only one who will actually chew her Kongs, instead of just licking the stuff out of them. So glad you got Uly to chew his Kongs!

    This is still Dog_Obsessed, I'm trying to get this to work with google.