All you need to know about Snuffle Mat
We love a snuffle mat and wanted to tell you all about them from what is one to how to use it.
Are you looking for new exciting enrichment toys? Then check out the snuffle mat – Oscar and Ernie first came across ones of these during their training classes at The Dogs Trust.
What is a snuffle mat?
A snuffle mat is most commonly a squared shape with strips of fleece material woven through a rubber mat. However, they can come in different shapes and sizes. It is a great way to hide treats or kibble in, to make feeding time more exciting for your furbaby.
Why use one?
A snuffle mat is a great interactive way to feed your dog instead of using a bowl. It will help with mental stimulation as well as help slow your dog down from woofing their food too quickly.
What can you put in it?
Now time to SNUFFLE! You can take a handful of your dogs most favourite treats or a portion of kibble and sprinkle throughout the snuffle mat.
Oscar & Ernie personally love having their favourite treats such as cooked sausages. I cut up into small bits or use training treats in their mat.
To start place 3-5 tasty treats in the top of the snuffle mat as you don’t want to make it too difficult to start. You don’t want your dog could get frustrated and lose interest. Make sure you watch your dog while they sniff the treats out of the mat.
If your dog starts to lift or pull at the mat then you can give them the ‘sit’ or ‘leave it’ command. Then you can encourage your dog to start sniffing again by pointing out the treats or giving a ‘release’ command.
When your dog has found all the treats put the snuffle mat away.
Try and repeat the exercise twice a day for the first couple of days. Then your dog will begin to associate sniffing activity with the reward of finding treats.
Once your dog has got the hang of using the mat. Then you make it more difficult by hiding the treats deeper in the mat.
After 4-5 more attempts, most dogs will have learnt to calmly sniff the whole mat and find all the tasty treats/kibble.
How to care for your snuffle mat?
So after your dog has been snuffling the mat is going to need to be cleaned.
You can either hand wash it in cold water with a small amount of mild detergent and let it air dry. Alternatively, you can machine wash on a short cycle (30 minutes) on 20/30 degrees and max spin of 800. I would recommend laying the back of the mat at the back of the machine and putting in some hand towels to even out the load. Do NOT use any form of bleach. Once wash then let air dry.