IN 6.5 EASY STEPS
It’s hard to believe it’s the middle of April, and we’re still getting snow in Ontario! I guess we’ve had plenty of strange things going on lately. Not just in Ontario. My pack lives in the country, so we are already self-isolated. For those of you unable to easily walk your companion in built-up areas, or experiencing unpleasant weather, a snuffle mat will provide mental stimulation for your companion.
THE BENEFIT OF ALLOWING DOGS TO SNIFF
Sniffing is a natural practice for dogs. It’s an easy, mentally stimulating exercise that will help tire your companions, so they settle nicely. Of course, mental training is better when paired with physical movement. Some form of activity (mental or physical) is better than none.
HOW TO CREATE YOUR MAT:
CHOOSE YOUR MAT
I purchased a heavyweight, non-sliding, anti-fatigue draining mat from TSC. This mat will stand up to pawing and pulling. Another option is a sink draining mat.
CUT TO SIZE
I am making these mats to sell in support of rescue efforts and have cut my mat into a variety of sizes. If the mat you selected is too large for your dog(s), you can always cut some away, or divide in half and donate to a rescue organization as an auction item, or gift to a pet-parent friend.
I made sizes small to extra-large and chose an extra-large mat for my ‘multi-dog’ crew.
I do not recommend these mats for multi-dog households where food-aggression is an issue.
CHOOSE YOUR FLEECE
The better the quality, the more durable and long-lasting your mat will be. Keep in mind; we’re making these mats for talented sniffer hounds that will put them through vigorous testing.
You can opt to use a single colour or pattern, or several bright and bold colours. I chose to mix coordinating fabrics for this collection of mats.
BE SURE TO PRE WASH YOUR FLEECE BEFORE CUTTING AND TYING
(this is the .5 step but extremely important)
Fleece is covered in tiny particles of fibres. These could be dangerous if inhaled or ingested. Prewashing the fleece removes these loose particles.
CUT YOUR FLEECE
Using scissors, or a rotary cutter and self-healing mat, cut the fleece approximately 6 inches x 1.5 inches (These don’t have to be exact; a little variety will give your mat more character and create different heights in which to hide the treasure treats)
TIE THE PIECES ON YOUR MAT
Have fun with this step. Create a pattern or tie pieces randomly. One tie (single knot) is enough to hold pieces firmly in place. You can flip the mat over to check for any gaps where you might have missed a tie.
Two-way tie vs. Three-way tie
Three-way tied mats require more fabric (more costly) and are more time-consuming. Simply add a tie on the angle (see second image below). The result is a fuller mat with less open gaps through the rug to the floor and more hiding places to hold treats.
It takes me approximately 3.5 hours to make an extra-large, three-way tied mat.
Approximately four shows on Netflix
LOAD WITH TREATS AND ENJOY
I use small, non-crumbly training treats for my guys. If you feed your dog kibble, you could also use the mat as an alternative to their bowl. Switch things up a bit and make them work for it (I say work, but for dogs, it’s not a bad thing).
NB: Pet-parents should closely monitor playtime.
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See you soon,