Snuffle mat being made

How to make a snuffle mat

Snuffle mats are a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated by encouraging them to solve a puzzle using their impressive sense of smell.

The idea is nice and simple; you hide your dog’s favourite dry treats under the various pieces of fabric and they then have to find them by sniffing them out. Depending on how many treats you have hidden, this can keep them focussed on a task for quite some time, helping to satisfy their curious minds and engage their natural instinct to sniff.

What you need:

  • Rubber bath mat (with holes in it)
  • Fleece fabric cut into strips (Width: one inch/ Length: six to eight inches)
  • Scissors (ideally fabric scissors)
  • One hour of your time

TIP: You can cut up an old fleece blanket that you no longer need or hit the charity shops to find some nice fleece fabric. Be sure to wash the fleece before you use it and cut off any seams around the edge to avoid choking hazards for dogs.

How to make a snuffle mat

Step one: Get your piece of fabric and your scissors and cut up your fabric into one inch-wide strips and roughly six to eight inches in length. Please ensure that children are always supervised by an adult if they are helping you.

Fabric cut into one inch wide strips

Step two: Take one strip of fabric, with your rubber mat in front of you, and thread this through a hole in your mat

Fabric wrapped around mat

Step three: Tie the two ends together that you’ve passed through the mat

Fabric tied in a knot around mat base

Step four: Repeat until you have a full snuffle mat with material covering all gaps

Snuffle mat completed with all gaps filled

It really is as simple as that!

How to train your dog to use a snuffle mat

So you’ve got your snuffle mat ready to go. Now, how do you encourage your dog to use it?

Most importantly, you should always monitor your dog when they are using their mat to ensure that they don’t start to chew the fleece bits (remember that the fleece will begin to smell like food after it has been used a few times).

Follow these simple steps to train your dog on how to use their new toy.

Step one: Start by placing your snuffle mat on the floor and letting your dog have a sniff and explore

Step two: Get your dog’s favourite dry treats and place a couple on the top of the fabric, letting your dog sniff and take them. This will allow them to build an understanding that the mat is used for rewards.

Step three: Once your dog begins to associate the mat with treats you can start hiding them a little deeper under the surface of the fabric. This then encourages your dog to use their heightened sense of smell to sniff the treats out and keeps them mentally stimulated by problem solving.

— Page last updated 22/07/2021