Canine Companion: Snuffle Mat May Be Answer To Dog’s Boredom
Hey, guys. I don’t know about you, but these cold temperatures are really getting to me. I just want to play outside. And, I am sure your dog is staring you down wondering what the heck is going on.
We all want to get out of the house and escape this cabin fever. On top of that, it’s not even snowmobile season yet so we don’t even get to hear those motors roaring.
Anyway, back to the boredom. If your dog is going crazy being cooped up in the house so long, I recently learned about a really awesome mental toy and feeder. I’m not sure if you remember, but a while back we talked about hiding your dog’s food around the house or playing some type of hide and seek to get some of that mental frustration out.
The feeder I learned about this week is called a snuffle mat. Weird, right? No, I don’t get credit for any purchase. I want to make that clear before I go any further here. I am just sending an idea your way in case your dog is starting to develop behavior issues due to boredom. That’s an extremely common problem in the winter months.
The Snuffle mat is an excellent idea for boredom. It’s fit for any dog breed regardless of size, weight, or age. That’s a huge plus.
The snuffle mat is basically this giant fluffy mix of fabric mess. I know that probably doesn’t make sense by just reading this article. But, you’ll get it when you do a bit of research. I’m an Amazon junkie so my advice is to visit Amazon.com and type in ‘dog snuffle mat.’ You’ll see exactly what I am talking about here.
They’re all different prices depending on the type you’re looking for. Take a look around and find what your unique dog would enjoy the most.
Instincts Back to Life
Your dog will be able to utilize her natural hunting instincts searching for her food or treats in that ‘mess’ of fabric. This has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety. If your dog is experiencing a bit of anxiety due to lack of mental and physical stimulation, this could be the key for you and it’s worth a try.
What if my dog tears this thing to shreds? I know. I was thinking the same. Most of the snuffle mats I have seen are completely non-toxic and made with safe materials. With that being said, we don’t want them to consume it causing an obstruction either.
These are clearly not indestructible, but many I have found are made with strong materials. You may want to supervise your dog at first if she tends to be a ‘wild eater’ to make sure she doesn’t tear it up.
There is a ‘pro’ here though if your dog is a ‘chewer.’ This provides mental stimulation as well as the opportunity for you to teach the ‘leave it’ command. Once she begins chewing, the training process to prevent excessive chewing can begin. Or, she may be more gentle so she’s able to search for the treats more easily. Watch and see what she does.
Thankfully, as I was learning about these, the majority are machine-washable. That’s important obviously because we don’t want a gross pile of fabric full of dog slobber lying around getting stinky.
You’re able to wash it and get back to playing.
My Dog, Goober
My family dog, Goober, has been a bit bored. I have been trying to keep him busy but he’s getting bored with the ‘same day, similar toys,’ deal.
I am going to grab one of the mats for Goober so he’s able to try something completely new and earn some treats at the same time. He’s able to get some extra mental stimulation. And, knowing Goober, he will likely get some extra physical activity in there because he will be wandering in circles trying to find the little pieces of kibble hidden in there.
Goober isn’t a chewer, but he does experience anxiety from time to time if we aren’t able to go outside and play (it’s too cold for him). This could be the perfect solution to keep him busy on the days it’s too cold to play in the snow. So, i’ll try this along with those of you who grab one.
I would love to hear what your dog thinks of the snuffle mat if you grab one. Please feel free to send me a message at AmberLDrake@dogbehaviorblog.org to share your story. If I am able to share your experience with others, please let me know.
Well, that’s all I have for you today. Until next time.