5 ways to use a snuffle mat with your dog : Canine enrichment

How to use a snuffle mat
How to use a snuffle mat by Ruffle Snuffle

How to use a snuffle mat

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!). Here’s 5 ways how to use a snufflemat with your dog.

A snuffle mat is an enrichment product designed for dogs to help making eating a joy. Often used to slow down fast eaters, this fabric feeder is a successful alternative to a normal dog bowl.

Introducing the mat for the first time

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 continue 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.

Remove the mat immediately if they start chewing instead of sniffing. The goal here is to teach them to sniff, not chew.

What is a snuffle mat? x
What is a snuffle mat?

Use the snufflemat and repeat twice a day

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. Remember to supervise at all times and remove the mat after each use.

Hide the treats deeper in the snuffle mat

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.

Fill the snuffle mat

After about 3-4 sessions most dogs will have learnt to calmly sniff the whole mat searching for their rewards.

Remember to remove the mat and not leave it alone with your dog or puppy.

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 preparing 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: 

Using a snuffle mat as a distraction

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.

The best snuffle mat for 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 hardly 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. Remember to remove the mat and not leave it alone with your dog or puppy.

Snuffling is an energy zapper

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 orhighly 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. Remember to remove the mat and not leave it alone with your dog or puppy.

Machine washable snuffle mats

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.

How to wash your Ruffle Snuffle mat

Supervision at all times

As with all pet products we recommend that you supervise your pet at all times and remove the item if it becomes damaged. We recommend that you put away the mat after each use. We are not responsible or liable if your dog chews the mat.

Snuffle mat FAQs

What treats can you use with a snuffle mat?


You can use your dogs normal dry kibble, or small tasty treats to make it harder. The smellier the treats, the better. We like liver treats.

Why do dogs like snuffle mats?

Because they love to use their nose to scavenge for food. Finding a treat in the fleece is a satisfying reward for their searching efforts and they never get bored with it.

How does a snuffle mat work?

What is a snuffle mat?

The snuffle mat is made of a rubber base with fleece material strips. The strips are tied securely on the base and then left as long fronds on the top ( like a shag pile carpet). These fronds make the hiding place for treats that your dog sniffs out. This provides mental and physical enrichment and slows down eating making mealtimes longer and more enjoyable.

Are snuffle mats good for puppies and older dogs?

Snuffle mats are a great way to provide mental and physical enrichment to your dog no matter what age they are. They help slow down fast eaters helping avoid risks of stomach upsets. Sniffing out and foraging for food in a mat activates the pleasure centres in your dog’s brain making it a fun and rewarding activity for them.

Are snuffle mats safe?

Snuffle mats should only be used under supervision. Once your dog has eaten the food or treats, put it away until next time. It is not designed as a chew toy.

How to clean a snufflemat

snuffle mat for dog

A Ruffle Snuffle mat can be machine washed at 40 degrees with your normal detergent. High speed spin to dry. Do not tumble dry.

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