Crafting for canines


- Words and project Emily Naismith Photograph­s Thomas Naismith

Even though our spoilt pups love lazing on our fancy couches and accompanyi­ng us to our favourite cafés, they also enjoy pretending they’re still wild dogs once in a while. That is where the snuffle mat comes in. Hiding food among the fabric strips for them to sniff out makes them feel like they’re scavenging like their canine ancestors. It can be super mentally enriching for them, too! If your anxious dog needs a bit of a distractio­n or you’re forced to skip their walk but don’t want them to wreck your house, a little session with the snuffle mat can help channel that excess energy in a harmless way. It can also be used as a fun reward, or even to slow down super-fast chompers (which is why this cute-as-heck greyhound Mick needs to use one).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED fleece fabric (or an old fleecy blanket) scissors a rubber mat with holes (you can find this at a hardware store) high-quality kibble (we used Scratch)


Cut your fleecy fabric into strips, about 5cm wide and 15cm long. It doesn’t matter if they’re not exactly the same width or length – a bit of variety adds to the interestin­g texture.

Starting in one corner, poke a fabric strip down through the hole, under the mat, and back up through the next hole. Tie a single knot to keep it secure.

Do the same thing for the next hole over and tie another knot. Continue all the way along the row. Then, move along to the next row and create another row of single knots.

Once you have two rows complete, join them together with strips of fabric. (So, instead of knotting horizontal­ly, you’re knotting vertically.) This will make your mat start to look denser.

Continue with the steps above for the rest of the mat, working in batches of two rows. Then, once you’ve done the whole mat, tie some fabric strips around the edges to hide the black ends of the rubber mat.

And now the fun begins! Sprinkle some high-quality kibble on top for your dog to find. If you’d like to give Rover more of a challenge, hide the dry food deep between the fleecy strips so they really have to work to find it. Make sure you only use the snuffle mat when you’re around to supervise, though, so your pooch doesn’t decide the mat itself is rather tasty, long after the kibble is gone!

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