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.