As a part of my Disorderly Dogs, the Pawdcast I visited dog enrichment as a way to help your dogs life their best life possible AND help you manage unwanted behaviors from your pups. Dog enrichment doesn’t have to be expensive toys or take a lot of time to put together. To help you, I also put together an enrichment e-book that you can get by signing up for email updates at my main website. Check out our “Products We Use” page to see which toys we like the best to supplement these great do it yourself fixes. And be sure to follow me on Instagram to see how I enrich my dog’s lives day-to-day!
In the mean time – I’ve updated my DIY dog enrichment below!
DIY Snuffle Mat
What in the heck is a snuffle mat? Essentially, a snuffle mat activates a dog’s brain by making them search for their food in terry cloth or fleece laced through a durable bottom. Why does it work? As I mention in the pawdcast, I think dogs (and especially adolescent dogs) should work for their meals to help them practice positive behaviors AND work through undirected energy.
At meal times it’s as simple as hiding some kibble in the flaps for your pup to dig through and find. They feel rewarded, they get fed, and you get a happy and engaged dog.
- Find a durable, rubber, perforated outdoor mat. You can find these at home supply stores or Like this one I found on Amazon.
- Using fleece (many fabric stores sell fabric by the pound to help you save a few bucks), terry cloth, or other durable material, cut into roughly 6 inch strips.
- Take a strip and wrap around the perforations in the mat with the ends facing all the same way (up).
- Tie your strip to the mat securely.
- Alternate holes + colors.
- Add kibble, and tada!
- Spot clean as needed.
For something even simpler/cheaper that can keep your dogs busy and working for their meals, try this recycled paper goods tube hide and seek.
- Hold onto various sizes of paper towel and toilet paper tubes.
- Fold the ends of one side of the tube and fill with kibble. It’s ok if the kibble doesn’t fill up the whole tube – use about how much you usually use at meal time.
- Fold other ends.
- Hide somewhere in house – after foraging and shredding the dogs are happy and fed!
- You can also poke holes large enough for the kibble to roll out of to change up the game from shredding to smarts.
- Pick up and toss debris!
Other enrichment ideas!
- Frozen Kong!
- If feeding kibble: mix kibble + greek yogurt or kefir yogurt in a bowl
- Stuff into Kong and freeze overnight
- Feed next day
- If feeding raw: stuff your dog’s favorite raw food into a kong + seal with greek or kefir yogurt and freeze overnight
- Feed next day.
- Kibble in grass
- Frozen marrow bones
- Slow feeder bowls