For those of you who are wondering WHAT a Snuffle Mat is before getting to the How To for making one, let’s start with a brief introduction. A Snuffle Mat is an easy way to provide your dog with interactive entertainment and an opportunity to tap into their natural instinct for sniffing. Sniffing doesn’t seem like a very interesting activity to us but for your dog it may be one of their favorite pass-times. Once the Snuffle Mat is filled with kibble or treats your furry friend will enjoy “snuffling” their way to finding the hidden rewards. This activity is great for dogs of all ages and skill levels. Check out our instructions below for making your very own Snuffle Mat!
Gather the following supplies:
(1) Pair of sharp scissors for cutting fabric
(1) Measuring tape or ruler
(1) Plastic sink mat (you can find these at the dollar store)
(1) yard (approximately) Fleece or other fabric that will not fray
You will start by cutting your fabric into strips approximately 1.5″ x 8.5″. About 120 strips should give you enough to cover your snuffle mat depending on your pattern and how dense you fill in the mat. Have some fun mixing colors and patterns or make it eco-friendly by recycling old t-shirts!
Push each end of your strip through adjacent holes that are either horizontal, vertical or diagonal. Tie off the strips as shown in the photo until you have filled in your entire mat. For dogs that have a tendency to pull, you may want to double knot the strips so they do not come out easily. I recommend tying each strip as you go. It may not seem as efficient but it will be much easier to keep track of each of the ends to be tied off (I speak from experience!).
Fill in your snuffle mat randomly or plan out a pattern ahead of time. It is easiest to see the pattern from the back side of your mat so keep flipping back and forth to stay on track as you tie off your strips. Starting in one corner and moving across the mat as you go makes it much easier to see the open spaces that still need to be filled in.
With your snuffle mat complete, fill with kibble or small pieces of your dog’s favorite treats. Place the snuffle mat on the floor and tell them to “find it”. Some dogs pick up on the game right away and their noses go to work searching out each treat among the fabric. If your dog is having a hard time understanding the game, sprinkle treats right on top to help get them started. Once they have the hang of it, hide their snacks a little deeper and let them search out the buried treasures!
Jewell is not only a therapy dog but also the perfect model for the Snuffle Mat. Jewell is deaf so although she couldn’t hear her owners encouragement she knew just what to do. She LOVED finding all its hidden treasures during tricks class!
Interested in more fun activities for your dog? Check out our blog, Rainy Day Indoor Games, for additional ideas!