Piper’s Fun Stuff
How to make a Snuffle Mat
Snuffle mats are a great way to keep your dog occupied, calmer in exciting environments, or to slow down her eating. Sprinkle kibble or treats into all the gaps and hidy-holes in the mat and let your dog snuffle them all out.
They are very easy to make – all you need is some fleece fabric, or another robust fabric such as softer denim, offcuts and scraps are great; a plastic sink mat and a pair of sharp scissors.
This sink mat is the base for my snuffle mat, you can use similar mats with holes in it. The second photo is a close up.
Cut the fleece fabric into strips about 10 inches long by 1 inch wide – you don’t have to be too accurate and wobbly cuts won’t show. Then thread a strip at a time through the holes in the mat, including edges and tie a single knot across the plastic lines. Do this a row at a time and ties each knot before you thread the next strip though – or you can easily lose your place. You can tie them in straight lines or in diagonals, create a regular pattern or random like mine.
This is what it will start to look like from the back… and from the top.
Keep going until the holes in the mat are full up.
This is what the finished mat looks like….. just sprinkle with treats / your dogs meal, and let them find it. Supervise in case they decide to try to ingest the inedible parts – if you think they might, then have a higher value treat in your pocket so you can swap it for the mat and remove.
Pyramid Training Treats
You need: 1 x silicone pyramid baking mat (or lalang baking mat for round treats), a food processor & a large baking sheet
Dog-safe & tasty (smelly is good) ingredients such as fish, meat, cheese etc. flour – preferably tapioca or oat or similar as this makes less crumbly treats than wheat flour, an egg (to bind), liquid such as water, milk, the juices from fish. The aim is to combine the ingredients to a thick pancake batter consistency, so add less or more liquid as necessary.
Here I used about 1½ cups tapioca flour, 1 egg including the shell (laid at home by my hens), 1 small tin of tuna in water, 1 small tin of sardines in oil, and then used a few splashes of oat milk to get the right consistency. There are loads of recipes online if you search.
Whizz up the ingredients in a food processor until smooth and a thick batter. Lay the pyramid mat/s on a baking tray, pointy ends down. Fill the mould with the batter, smoothing it in with a spatula or the back of a spoon and scrape off any excess if you can (the individual treats will come out easier then).
Bake in a 350F / 175C oven for about 20 mins (use your judgement and give them longer if they look uncooked and wet)….. when they are cooked they will begin to loosen and lift from the mould. Then turn off the oven leaving the treats in there, to cool and dry out more.
Gently turn the dry treats out of the pyramid pan and break any apart that are still joined together. The best way to keep these treats is to freeze them and just take out batches as you need them for training. They thaw out very, very quickly.