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What Is a Snuffle Mat?

by Dennis ODonnell on April 29, 2020

Whether you call it nose work, foraging, hunting or snuffling, it’s all really the same thing – it’s your dog’s way of using his nose to sniff out good things to eat. Enter the Snuffle Mat. This crazy invention is designed to mimic the grass your dog forages in outside. Made from strands of fabric attached to a strong backing, you can bury kibble and treats throughout the mat to create a scavenger hunt for your dog.

Why Does My Dog Need a Snuffle Mat?

Your dog’s nose and brain were made to hunt, track, burrow, sniff, and snort. They were made to WORK! Nose work or snuffling capitalizes on this natural desire to sniff and there’s no better time to do this work than during meal time!

Dogs’ noses have 300 million olfactory receptors that make them 10,000 times better at smelling than we are!

10,000 times!!!

And yet, we keep serving them dinner in a simple, stationary bowl that makes meal time a brainless activity for our pups? The bowl is a human invention and makes perfect sense to us. But to our dog, it’s a big question mark!

If, however, you use a snuffle mat, you are tapping into your dog’s primal instincts and giving him a job to do. The benefits of this are plentiful:

  1. It will keep your dog young. Mental stimulation will keep his mind sharp. With a healthy mind, the length and quality of life are increased.
  2.  It will make your dog tired. Thinking and problem-solving are exhausting. And as the old (and true) saying goes, “A tired dog is a good dog.” And a good dog gets positive attention and has a better bond with its owner, which is really all your dog wants.
  3. It keeps life interesting. Can you imagine endless days with nothing to do? It sounds like a great vacation idea, but if that was your whole life, it would be extraordinarily boring. Using a snuffle mat at meal time breaks up the day, tosses in something new and triggers thought. It literally gives your dog a job.

How do I Teach My Dog to Use a Snuffle Mat?

For dogs that are new to nose work or scavenger hunts, let him watch you sprinkle some of his kibble on top of the mat. Once he successfully finds the first round, let him watch you sprinkle some on top and bury some deeper into the mat. As he becomes better at finding his food, bury more and more of it at the bottom of the mat while he’s not looking.

If you have a dog that is already good at this kind of activity, skip straight to the hardest level.

Snuffling never gets old or boring – it’s one of your dog’s favorite things to do – and the Snuffle Mat is the perfect product to let your dog be a dog!

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