Another of my dog’s favourites. Snuffle mats are made from rubber mats with strips of fleece. You sprinkle treats or kibble in between the strips of fleece. It takes my dogs about 20 minutes to eat their food from a snuffle mat, as opposed to about 30 seconds from a bowl, and then they swap to make sure that nobody has missed anything and get about another 10 minutes enjoyment.
The towel game is another really easy way to entertain your dog. Get a tea towel, place treats or kibble on the towel, roll the towel up (leaving some treats visible the first few times you do it), give the towel to the dog.
Dizzy, the dog in the video, had lost the use of his back legs, so this was a great game for him; his brain had to work out how to get the treats, but his body didn’t need to move much.
This is also a really good way to introduce a new baby (human or fur) even before it comes into the household. It’s not the only thing that you should do though, get in touch for help. Get a clean tea towel, rub the towel over the new addition (human-baby or fur-baby), bring the towel home, roll treats inside the towel and let the dog explore. Sniffing releases the feel-good chemicals; oxytocin, serotonin, and dopamine, so your dog is bonding with the new addition, even though the new addition is not present.
The snuffle box is an absolute favourite of mine and so easy to make. It involves a box, some scrunched up newspaper and some kibble (dog biscuits) or small treats. Make sure that the edge of the box isn’t so high that the dog will damage his throat. As you can see, Celyn preferred to get inside hers. My first attempt was with 2 boxes that kitchen bins came in. Celyn could even shut the top of the box so she could eat inside in peace! The boxes lasted over a month when Dyfri’s started to rip, so I upgraded to 2 plastic boxes.
Some estimates allocate one-third of the dog’s brain to the chore of scenting, so snuffling is a very enriching exercise for them.