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Make your own snuffle mat

Posted by k.mcclean on February 7, 2015 at 7:00 PM Comments comments (14)

I first heard about snuffle mats about 6 months ago and archived the idea for "when I can get around to it".  So, at long last, with no classes to teach, no work brouight home, and a rainy Friday evening I finally got to it.  This is a great toy for entertaining your dog (on a rainy night:) and for encouraging him to use his nose to search, and build value for searching.

You can buy kits on line - but they are so simple that you really don't need to do that. And I'm kind of a do-it-yourself kinda gal.

Here is what you need:

  • a sturdy box cutter
  • fabric scissors
  • antifatigue mat with holes 
  • fleece - How much you need will depend on the size of your mat and how wide you make the strips.  A one foot square mat will need between 90 and 100 strips of approximately 2 inches wide.  If you are buying fleece, you will need approximately 1.8 yards of 45" wide fleece. This is a great way to use up left over pieces of fleece or you can get creative with a variety of colours and patterns

Step 1: Cut your antifatigue mat to the size you want. I used a mat that had one foot square sections so it was easy to cut along the section lines but it does require a large size box cutter and fresh blade.

   The original mat was 2" x 3" - this is after I have already cut off two sections. The mat has crinkly edges on both ends. YOu can see the crinkly edges on the bottom of th emat in the picture. These need to be trimmed off.

   One foot square section with the 'crinkly' edge trimmed off, ready to start adding the fleece strips.

Step 2: Cut your fleece.  Depending on the size of the holes in your mat, you may need to adjust the width of the strips. I suggest cutting a few trial strips first to see if you have the right width for your mat.  When the mat is finished you don't want to have any "holes" left - the fleece strips should fill the holes so food does not fall through.

Cut the strips ~2 inches wide and 45 inches long. Cut each strip in 3 equal lengths (will be ~15 inches long).  Precision is not critical - I cut my pieces freehand, but if you prefer you can measure, mark and cut.  The length is not critical and you can adjust according to how long you want them. For very tiny dogs, you may want shorter 'tails'.

Step 3: Start filling in the mat with the fleece strips.

   Fold a strip in half.

  Poke the folded end through a hole forming a loop.


   Tuck the ends through the loop and pull tight.

Complete the row and move to the next row, filling in the whole mat.  Once the rows are all completed, finish the side edges by adding strips into the edge holes.

If the fleece does not completely fill the holes you can add more strips on a horizantal direction between holes. (You can also do this if you want more strips or more elaborate patterns - you will need to use narrower strips in order to get more of them into the holes.)  For the mat I used, 2 inch wide strips and filling in on the horizantal only worked perfectly. The whole process took me about 2 hours.

That's it!  Turn the mat over, hide some treats here and there between the fleece strips, stand back and let you dog explore!  If you dog is not used to using his nose to hunt for food, give him lots of encouragement, use larger treats and 'hide' a few in plain site on top of the strips.

   Completed mat.

   A treat tucked in between the strips. Once the fleece strips are pulled back in place, the treat is invisible.

    The back side of the mat.


Aoibheann loves her mat!