When Buttons was a wee baby and we were first-time dog parents (SR claims Brownie is his sister and Bush his nephew), we used to google frantically every time he sneezed or chuffed or slept an hour longer than usual or pooped one too many times. On one of those occasions, we came across an article that said puppies need mental stimulation, not just physical activity. So, after long and diligent research, we zeroed in on the kong as a great dog toy – there were videos after videos online about how you can just stick treats inside a kong and it will keep your dog occupied for hours, trying to get it all out.
We immediately bought one for a ridiculously high sum, stuffed it with broken biscuits and cheese and B’s favourite Jerhigh stick bits and handed it to him. Off we went and settled down on the sofa for some TV and maybe even some snogging.
Two minutes later – literally – B trots up to us. The kong is nowhere to be seen. We followed the trail of biscuit crumbs to find it abandoned in the bedroom. B had neatly finished every bit of food he could reach with his tongue. The rest of it? Nah, too much work.
We tried to coax him into taking the kong again, pulling out a bit of biscuit so that he could get a grip on it. He promptly pulled it out of the kong and ate it. Then the wee rascal brought the kong to us again – nudging us with his nose, as if to say.
“I’m done – pull out the next bit for me!”
The kong lies in their toy drawer now, occasionally used as a chew toy, but abandoned for most intents and purposes. But that was only the beginning.
For another year or so, we gamely spent a few thousands on more fancy toys made of premium ingredients and cleverly designed to “keep your pooches happy and focused for hours”. The drawer is overflowing with them.
And what do B and S play with?
A broken coconut shell. An old chindi doormat. And oh, a smelly abandoned sock.
We’ve learned our lesson now.