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Have you ever heard of a “snuffler” or snuffle mat?  If not, you’ll definitely wonder how you never knew about this before because it’s simplicity is genius and you can easily make one yourself! In fact, why not make a whole bunch and donate them to your favorite rescue group. 

A snuffle mat is like a puzzle for your dog, providing mental stimulation as they sniff out the little treats you’ve sprinkled in the mat. Providing mental stimulation for your pets mean they have more fun and also have less time to get into any mischief at home.
How It Works
Snuffle mats are made using a safety rubber mat as a base with fleece tied into knots to create a mountain of soft tassels for you dog to nose around in.  You simply sprinkle in some treats into the mat – dried liver is great, but you can use any treats - and watch as your dog has a ball sniffing them out. 

A snuffle mat can also be used like a slow bowl for dogs that like to scoff down their meals. Simply sprinkle in your dog’s normal dog food into the snuffle mat.  It will slow down your fast eater and they will have great fun in the process. How long it will take your dog to sniff out the treats depends on the skill level of your dog’s nose!

Please note that your dog should not be left with this unsupervised. Some dogs, if left alone with the mat may potentially chew or swallow the fleece strips, which could cause serious complications.  Have great fun and bring the snuffle mat out when you have time to spend with your dog and supervise them.
Below are details about how you can make your very own snuffle mat for your dog.

How to Make a DIY Snuffle Mat
A snuffle mat is pretty easy to make although it does take a fair amount of time (approx. 4 hours).
To make a snuffle mat you just need:
  1. Rubber Mat with holes (You can get a 40 x 60cm one from Bunnings for $5.95)
  2. Polar Fleece (approx. 2.5 meters) of any colour combination you’d like.

​Step 1: Cut the fleece into strips approx. 5cm wide by 30-35cm long.  There is no need to measure exactly, so don’t worry!
Step 2: Start the mat at one edge, by threading one end of a piece of fleece through a hole in the mat and then taking the other end and pushing that up the hole next to the first one.  You then tie the two ends together in a knot at the top (the knot will be facing up as your pet plays with it).  If you have a particularly clever dog, you might want to consider double knotting. 

Take another piece of fleece and push it through the second hole (this hole will now have two piece of fleece in it), then take the other end of that piece and put it in the third whole.  Tie the two ends together in a knot as you did before.  Repeat until you have finished the first two horizontal rows.
Step 3: When you have done the first two horizontal rows you’ll want to start to fill in the vertical rows.  Take another strip of fleece (here we have used a black and white piece) and push it through the first hole in the first row and then with the other end push this through the first hole in the second row.  Knot the ends together.  Continue to knot strips between the first and second rows until the end of the row.
Step 4: Repeat the process until the whole mat is covered.  Flip the mat over to see if there are any empty holes and fill in those spots as needed. 

Step 5: Sprinkle in a few treats and watch your dog have great fun!
You can even make it harder for your dog by hiding the treats deep in the mat or by weaving small pieces of dried chicken in the mat itself. Keep the mat interesting by changing the types of treats you hide. Be warned dogs just love this and they’ll soon be asking you to get it out again and again.

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