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puppy kindergarten
week 3 homework

Enrichment - Stuffable Toys

With the enrichment this week, I'm calling it "Stuffables," but I'm referring to any Kongs or Kong-like toys, as well as really anything you can smear food on! (Examples below)


  • To encourage lapping and chewing – these behaviours are relaxing for dogs and can help them recover from stress (including excitement)

  • To slow down eating (great for those puppies that wolf their food down in one inhale!)

  • To help dogs settle themselves and soothe themselves

  • Help new or active dogs learn to chill when everyone else is relaxed and for bringing your pet places such as outdoor cafes

  • To encourage the development of strategies (behaviours) for getting the food out of stuffables.

  • Using different types of toys with different types of fillings, the dog can get a real work out, developing different strategies for solving the puzzles

  • Sniffing out, tasting and chewing food all offer sensory pay off, but so does finding each stuffable, determining its value, and engaging in the puzzle of getting to the good stuff.



  • It’s great to have stuffables ready for after walks, games, training sessions, after people come home or after a more stressful event such as getting a fright, after barking and so on.

  • Have stuffables ready when guests come in, to keep your pet busy in another room while guests settle and to give to your pet so that they are busy when guests are present.

  • Stuffables can be great to give when you can’t supervise your pet, when you need them to be safe and busy, when you need them to entertain themselves and to settle themselves.



  • Provide a comfy safe space for working - your dog's kennel, a bed, a spot on the couch (probably with a blanket underneath it), etc. - where they won't be interrupted or bothered.

  • Fill the toy with foods that encourage lapping and chewing.

  • If your puppy is new to this type of toy, use HIGH value foods to motivate exploration and experimentation and make it VERY easy to get the food (no frustration!).


There are SO many - open your fridge or pantry and you'll find you can get a lot more creative than peanut butter and kibble! Head over to the blog post I wrote about this very topic for some inspiration and creative ideas: Click HERE


Option 1: Beginners

  1. Fill a Kong with a mix of dry kibble and treats.

  2. Plug the top of the Kong with something your dog can lick away (peanut butter, yogurt, apple sauce, pumpkin, baby food, pate, etc.).

  3. Give it to your puppy to enjoy and start figuring out!


Option 2: Upping the ante a bit

  1. Fill the Kong with a mix of your choosing - pick a few things from my blog post or from your fridge / pantry and stuff it in the Kong (or spread it on the toy).

  2. Refrigerate to help it harden a bit or to have it ready for when you need it later in the day.

  3. Give it to your puppy to enjoy and start figuring out!


Option 3: Brain Freeze

  1. Fill the Kong with a mix of your choosing - pick a few things from my blog post or from your fridge / pantry and stuff it in the Kong (or spread it on the toy).

  2. Freeze the toy to harden the mixture and help the toy last longer for your puppy!

  3. Give it to your puppy to enjoy and start figuring out!


Option 4: Pupsicles

  1. Prepare some Kong filling.

  2. Fill an ice cube tray, your dog's bowl, muffin tray, or silicone mold with the filling.

  3. Freeze!

  4. Pop a pupciscle out when you want to give your dog a frozen treat that is entirely edible! (Recommended that this is given outside...)

Socialization - Dress Up & Unusual Things

This week included a mixture of socialization items - anything you might wear or your puppy might see other people wearing and the things your puppy may see or interact with in their environment (particularly seasonal things!)

  • Large or long coats

  • Gloves and mittens

  • Hats of any kind

  • Scarves, ski masks, or anything that obscures part of the face

  • Any kind of helmet

  • Costumes (for any holiday)

  • Boots

  • Sunglasses

  • Rain ponchos (those are also great for the crinkle noises they make)

  • Flowing dresses or bathrobes

  • Teach your puppy that odd things they see aren't things to be concerned about!

  • Backpacks

  • Suitcases (both carrying and rolling them)

  • Plastic bags

  • Umbrellas (both opened and closed)

  • A stick (as a cane)

  • Your bicycle (pushing it and riding it)

  • Scooters

  • Roller blades

  • A wagon

  • A broom or Swiffer

  • Buckets

  • Seasonal garden and lawn care - lawn mowers, snow blowers, rakes, shovels, push brooms, etc.

The list goes on with anything you can think of!​​

Kennel or Crate Training

I almost always recommend that folks utilize a crate or kennel in some way with their dogs – particularly when they are leaving the house. Knowing that your dog is safe and sound in a kennel, instead of roaming the house, finding things to eat or destroy or get into, is excellent peace of mind. When we want to utilize a kennel, though, it’s important to introduce it slowly. We don’t want to toss Rover in the kennel for 8 hours and hope for the best because we want him to see the kennel as a fun place, a safe place, and as his own room or house.

I suggest Kennel Games as a great way to introduce the kennel and begin working with the kennel as a fun tool for a person and their dog to use (some ideas listed below).

Game #1 The Magical Kennel of Goodies!

This game is fun and easy and takes no extra time at all. When your SideKick isn’t in the room place a few rewards in their kennel - a favorite toy, peanut butter Kong, tasty (non-perishable) treats, etc. Leave the kennel door open and allow your SideKick to discover the rewards on their own. The kennel isn’t scary; in fact, it’s the bearer of delicious things and fun!


Game #2 Soup's On!

This is another easy game to play with your SideKick: Simply feed them in their kennel at meal-time. Start with the door open, but, usually, after a few days of this you’ll notice that your SideKick is so excited about dinner time that they won’t even notice if you close the door. If you do close the door while they're eating, be sure to stand nearby to open it just before they finish their meal to allow them to exit freely.

Game #3 The Treat Toss Game

Get a fair amount of pea-sized, delicious treats ready (maybe about half a cup total). Begin the game by letting your SideKick watch you toss a treat into the kennel. Let your SideKick enter the kennel on their own to retrieve the treat. Praise them for going into their kennel and call them back out to you when they've eaten the treat.