The other one.

The dog’s one and only real squabble was over a Kong.  An empty Kong that Jake felt the need to protect from Melvin.  Most of the advice I got after this incident was to not give them treats together, be careful with food guarding and/or to avoid Kongs all together.  I love advice, and often I listen to it.  But before we quit group Kongs all together, I wanted to at least try to create a world where the boys could both have a Kong, UNDER SUPERVISION, without a civil war ensuing.  I had to try.

My plan was to try to teach Jake about ‘the other one’.  The other one being the other Kong.  If one Kong was being occupied, there was always ‘the other one’.  I guess in a way I was teaching him to trust me to know how to count to two.  That we don’t have to ration Kongs.  To have faith.  We’re lovers, not fighters.  So I bought A LOT of Kongs and I put them all over the floor (again, always under supervision) and I would sit on the floor and give Jake an empty Kong and give Melvin an empty Kong and pick up other Kongs and say ‘the other one’.  Get the other one.  Here’s the other one.  Where’s the other one.   I constantly repeated ‘the other one’ when Jake would move to a different Kong. Again, the Kongs were all empty so the boys energy level stayed pretty low.  I did this Kong desensitization daily. I’m not sure they could have been more bored, I know I couldn’t have been.  And that was exactly what I wanted, ho-hum attitudes towards Kongs.  I opted out of treating them for good behavior during these sessions, I didn’t want to introduce food until I was certain they could handle empty Kongs around each other.  Weeks and weeks and weeks of empty Kongs.

Then one day I gave them each a Kong, with a treat in it.  Jake ate his and Melvin ate his.  Jake finished first and went over to see Melvin’s.  I would say get ‘the other one’ and he’d go back to his Kong.  When Melvin was done and he’d go check out Jake’s Kong, I’d say it again and Jake would leave his Kong to Melvin and check out Melvin’s last one.  If one Kong is occupado, move on to THE OTHER ONE.

Now, they exchange Kongs mid snacking on them.  Melvin is better at getting the treats out and Jake is the master of licking the peanut butter out of the top.  Look at my duo go! The yin and yang of Kongamania!   I still watch them diligently, and always will.  You just never know when something could spark a fight. But for now,  we have peace! And a lot of Kongs.

photo photo[1] photo[2]

29 thoughts on “The other one.

  1. Now THAT is a lot of Kongs. And a LOT of dedication – very impressive! I like that you did not give up and knew your dogs well enough to try a new training technique that works for them. That is pretty awesome.

  2. 1. This is an awesome exercise. You are so smart.
    2. That basket o’ Kongs is the best thing I’ve ever seen. You need to post a photo of that on the Kong FB page. I’m pretty sure you could become a Kong spokeswoman and get free Kongs for life.
    3. You are awesome and this whole post is awesome.

  3. They are a direct reflection of our patience and persistence. And seriously…how is your house so spotless with two beasties running around?? 🙂

  4. When you say a lot of Kongs, you mean a lot of Kongs, don’t you. I am constantly running around the house making sure that there are two of everything or none available, so I am totally stealing that exercise! You are a genius. I just hope it works, because Julius is kind of…simple.

  5. That sounds like an awesome way to deal with the issue. Obviously you started out with only a mild resource guarding, but you managed to nip that in the bud really effectively. I might actually try doing something similar with my dogs, because Pallo can be very vocal whenever he has food and thinks Koira might want it (whether or not she actually does).

    • Yes, I’m so happy the issue presented itself early so we could figure it out. I really tried to figure out what Jake’s issue was. My guess was Kongs were not a part of his previous life and having one made him protective of it. What’s better than having just one? Having too many to worry about!

  6. Love this. They look so happy and copacetic! I can’t imagine life without Kongs in my house, and am so glad that you didn’t let one incident hold you back from keeping them in play, while keeping the peace!

  7. Love the bowl! The last picture of the boys with their kongs is soooo cute.:) Awesome training idea, so glad it worked!
    We can’t have kongs since Duke rips the ends off in a few minutes, it’s so ridiculous.

  8. Pingback: Our very first, caption this! | oh melvin (and yo jake)

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