Written By: Tori Mistick
It can be hard to tire out your dog when you’re stuck at home. When you’ve walked around the same block too many times, it’s time to pull out an enrichment toy to tire out your dog mentally. If you don’t already own an enrichment toy or puzzle, this post will show you how to DIY your own!
Enrichment toys are puzzles that provide mental and physical stimulation for your dog. If you’re going on the same walk every day or spending a lot of time sitting on the couch, your dog is going to get bored pretty quickly. Giving them an unexpected puzzle, game, or toy will perk them up and help them tap into their natural canine abilities. Below, you’ll learn how to make a DIY snuffle mat that will challenge your dog to use their sense of smell to hunt down pieces of food hidden between strips of fabric.
Flat piece of cardboard
Fleece fabric (you can use an old blanket)
Scissors or a rotary cutter
Your favorite Stella & Chewy’s Kibble
Prepare your cardboard by cutting slits all over in a grid pattern. The slits should be about 2 inches apart.
Use a screwdriver to make the slits bigger (you’ll be poking the fleece strips through here later.)
Cut your fleece out in even strips about 2 inches wide and 12 inches long. Cut as many strips as you’ll need to fill the board. This snuffle mat used about 70 strips.
Now, tie the fleece strips to the cardboard backing. To do that, work your way down each row of holes, poking either end of one fleece strip through two side-by-side holes. It helps to use the screwdriver to poke the fabric through. Tie all of the strips on the front side of the board. Repeat all the way across the vertical rows. Then double back and work your fleece strips horizontally across the board, tying them all on the front side.
When you’re done, the backside should look like a bunch of squares.
Grab your favorite Stella & Chewy’s kibble and sprinkle a handful between all the fabric strips of your snuffle mat. Your dog will have a ton of fun searching for every last crumb!
-Make your snuffle mat to suit the size of your dog. Small breeds would do great with a board that’s about 12” square, while large breeds will have more fun with something bigger like 24” square.
-Stella & Chewy’s Raw Coated Baked Kibble is one of the best foods to use for this enrichment toy because it doesn’t leave as much residue or crumbs as other types of food and treats.
-Use your snuffle mat to feed your dog their dinner. If you have a fast eater, this will really slow them down and make meal time fun.
If you’re looking for more ideas for DIY enrichment toys, try making a Busy Box. You can make this with lots of things you already have around your home like cardboard boxes, dishtowels, and dog toys.
About the Author:
Tori Mistick is a dog lifestyle expert and the founder of Wear Wag Repeat. She creates dog-inspired content on her blog, podcast and social media. You can find her and her chocolate labs, Burt and Lucy, on Instagram @tmistick.