How to use a snuffle mat
First time use
The Ruffle Snuffle mat is an enrichment activity designed to use your dogs greatest sense, their nose. The action of sniffing out a treat is hugely satisfying and self-rewarding for your dog ( just like barking, but not as noisy!).
The first time you use it, just put 3-5 really tasty treats on the top of the mat loosely in the fleece. Stay with your dog whilst they learn how to sniff out the treats. If the dog starts to lift or pull at the mat then you can ask them to Sit or give them the ‘Leave it’ command. Then encourage them to continuing sniffing by pointing out the treats on the mat to them. This sniffing behaviour will help your dog enjoy continuing to sniff for treats rather than picking the mat up, shaking or digging in it.
When the dog has found all the treats put the Ruffle Snuffle away. Repeat this exercise twice a day for the first few days. This will associate the sniffing activity with the reward of finding the treats.
After this you can make the activity more rewarding by hiding the treats deeper into the mat. You can then mix the really tasty treats with normal kibble and progress to hiding just kibble with the odd tasty treat in the future.
After about 3-4 sessions most dogs will have learnt to calmly sniff the whole mat searching for their rewards.
Training & Working with a Ruffle Snuffle mat
You can use the Ruffle Snuffle mat to help your dog learn some self-control. Ask your dog to ‘sit’ whilst you by prepare the mat in front go them. You can then give them a release command, such as ‘okay’ when you want them to start sniffing. You can also use the ‘Leave it’ command when you put the treats on the mat, before giving the release command.
Using a Ruffle Snuffle to train your dog to come when called:
The mat can also be used as a reward tool during training.
The Ruffle Snuffle can also be used as a great distraction for your dog, for example whilst at the groomers, helping your dog sit quietly under the table at the pub.
Slowing down fast eaters
Mealtimes for dogs are boring. They often get fed once a day, from a bowl, where they can just gulp down one of their favourite things, food. Or they may just ignore it and hardlly eat at all, because it is just plain boring. A Ruffle Snuffle mat can change all this. Once you have taught your dog to sniff for treats you can then start adding more kibble ( dry food) and transition it to replace their bowl at mealtimes. Split your dog’s meal into two sessions to extend the activity further.
Did you know, 15 minutes of sniffing uses as many calories as an hours walk! This is why a Ruffle Snuffle makes a great activity for puppies of highly active dogs who still have boundless energy even after a walk.
The sniffing will also act as a calmer and directs excess energy into a different activity.
Washing your Ruffle Snuffle mat and toys
The Ruffle Snuffle is machine washable at 30 degrees. We recommend that you put in a couple of small hand towels to balance out your load and use only a gentle spin to get rid of excess water. Air dry your snuffle mat as use of a tumble dryer is not recommended. See our video here on how to wash.
As with all pet products we recommend that you supervise your pet at all times and remove the item if it becomes damaged.