When Canadian Taylor McDonald adopted a puppy named Bindi, she was more than prepared. She had studied up on dog training and the best techniques to use on a new puppy. Her enrichment toy of choice was a dog Kong, and she started stuffing Bindi’s Kongs almost immediately after adopting her. She calls her frozen Kong recipes a #kongbination, and continues to brainstorm and share her creations on Bindi’s Instagram page.
After being rescued from a drainage ditch with a broken back leg in St. Lucia, it’s safe to say that Bindi is now living the good life!
Scroll down to learn more about Taylor’s #konspirations and for two of her favorite Kong stuffing recipes.
Don’t have a Kong for your dog? Order one here.
What inspired you to start using enrichment toys with your dog?
Enrichment toys are a fabulous way to keep your pup busy, their mind sharp, and their life enjoyable. It ultimately provides mental and physical stimulation for your dog, and in my opinion it’s just as important as physical exercise!
We as humans keep our minds busy in a multitude of ways every day. Why not provide this for our canine counterparts?
I originally started using enrichment toys (i.e. stuffable Kongs) as a way to aid in training, but it soon began to be much more than that. I loved watching how Bindi’s mind would work through the enrichment activities, and once I realized how much she loved them, I couldn’t stop!
It could be anything from feeding Bindi her dinner in a rolled up towel, to hiding her food around the house in order for her to do some scent work, to watching her work through the layers of a frozen treat.
I can tell she truly enjoys the activities, and because of this I’m constantly looking for new ways to add canine enrichment into her daily routines.
I found dog Kong toys originally via word of mouth (after all, so many people swear by their durability) so I purchased one for Bindi to try, and I wasn’t disappointed!
Kongs are one of the only toys that have held up with Bindi, as she’s a very intense chewer. Most toys don’t even last two days, while our Kongs have held up for over six months. That on its own is a big win for us!
What inspired you to start stuffing your Kong?
Prior to adopting Bindi, I had read a lot of crate training tips and tricks in anticipation for our new puppy. I had heard so much positive feedback on how Kong stuffing could be a great tool to use while crate training (which it absolutely was, and I would recommend it to anyone).
I originally used natural peanut butter, but then I thought to myself, “If I got the same exact treat every day… Is that still technically a ‘treat?'” So, I began mixing things up.
I wanted to be sure I was using all dog-safe ingredients, so I dove into researching a ton of information on dog-friendly foods. This kick led to many different variations, and eventually to the recipes themselves.
Where do you get your Kong stuffing ideas from?
I originally had the idea to stuff our Kongs with new ingredients while looking for new combinations, but could only find a couple on Kong’s website.
With how often I was preparing them, I decided to try different ingredients, textures, and flavors to keep it interesting for Bindi. I personally find a lot of inspiration in the seasons and what’s available locally (i.e. peaches are in season? Great! I’ll pick some up at our local market and incorporate those somehow).
I also find a ton of inspiration from our followers and the other dogs around us, as they keep me driven to explore new components and blends.
All dogs are so different when it comes to what foods they eat, what flavors they enjoy, and what dietary restrictions they may face, so by offering as many variations as possible, I can hopefully provide a little inspiration for everybody.
What other dog items do you stuff for your dog?
I recently bought the West Paw “Toppl” after hearing a ton of great reviews. We’ve had this stuffable toy for a couple of weeks now, and so far it’s been great for Bindi.
I also use the Outward Hound “Fun Feeder Mat.” While it may not be a toy per se, it’s a great tool that I use to enrich Bindi’s life through food! I personally freeze these for Bindi as it makes them a bit more challenging for her (and also so she doesn’t finish these in .3 seconds!).
These are a higher value treat that I usually only give about 1-2 times per week. They’re also a fantastic way to slow down a dog that’s used to scarfing down their food.
How do you decide when to give your dog each item?
For all of the stuffing toys that I have, I choose to use them at different times to keep everything interesting for my pup.
I give frozen Kongs daily as a crate training tool, which creates positive reinforcement and calm as we leave the house. They’ve seriously been a staple in our house and have worked wonders for Bindi! They keep her mind busy and she loves getting one every morning.
I’ve been using the Toppls more as a reward/play form of enrichment while we’re home, as the Toppl bounces/wobbles around and I love watching her follow the little frozen cup through the house! It keeps her occupied and also provides a fun way to eat her dinner. I’ll sometimes fill the Toppl with her kibble and a little water to freeze, just so that she has to work for her dinner in a different way. It keeps things interesting and exciting.
I usually use the Fun Feeder Mats as a high value treat after a training session, or as a rainy day treat when we can’t get Bindi outside to play as much. These aren’t given daily as they hold more food, so they’re more of a “jackpot” item for special circumstances.
For example, on Bindi’s first Thanksgiving I made her an over the top Fun Feeder Mat, just so that she could eat a special dinner while we did, too. She definitely gets excited when I break this one out!
Does your dog have a favorite #kongbination?
Bindi has got to be the least picky pup when it comes to #kongbinations, which continues to shock me each and every day. However, she goes absolutely nuts for anything with cooked salmon or sardines.
Aside from those, sometimes I swear she is part vegetarian because she has a serious love of veggies, i.e. fennel (crazy, I know!) or fruits like mango and peach.
Kong Stuffing Recipes
Recipe 2: Bindi’s Breakfast
Thank you to Taylor and Bindi! You can see more of Taylor’s #kongspirations on her Instagram.
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