Our new Snuffle Quilt is a fun game based enrichment toy for dogs. Made from fleece it features a non slip backing and a tie to help anchor the quilt in place. If it does move around it can be tied down or you can kneel on the oppostite end to your dog.
It is best to start on each station individually so as not to overwhelm your pooch. Remember to keep it light and fun. Start slow and work on building your dog's confidence and understanding of each station. Once your dog has sussed out a station move on to a new one or think of new ways up the difficulty.
This game works best when you engage with your dog. Keep your sessions short only 3-5 mins long.
There are 7 activity stations on the quilt - The Snuffle, Ladder, Tent, Twist, Flowers, Pocket, and Roll
Below we talk through each station.
The snuffle station of the quilt is probably the easiest activity. Simply scatter treats in the folds and allow your to snuffle and sniff.
The ladder station has three rungs like ladder that a small treat or chewy stick can be placed under. Your dog will be able to see and smell the treats but will have to nose around the rungs to get the treat.
Try to get your dog to only use their nose to investigate the ladder rungs. Don’t worry they won’t do it the first time.
If your dog becomes frustrated or is using their paws too much on this station try swapping out little treats for longer treats like chewy sticks, jerky or longer bikkies which will be easier to grab. Sit next to your dog and treat when they use their nose to investigate rather than their paw.
The tent has four tent-like pockets to hide a treat. This station is my dog, Mr Mozart's, least favourite station. He gets overwhelmed when all the pockets are filled at once. The dog has to circle the station to get to each pocket of treats. My dog didn't want to move from pocket to pocket. All he wants to do is rip the damn thing off the board. We had to start off slow and let him figure out how best to access each pocket.
If your dog is like mine and starts to get frustrated reduce the number of pockets you use at one time. Try filling just one pocket and let your dog get the hang of retrieving treats, repeat play using that one pocket. Once your dog can confidently find the treat without getting frustrated move on to the next pocket, still using just one treat on the board. This will help your dog learn to move around the station to get at all the treats. Once your dog can move around each of the four pockets individually try filling two pockets at a time, then move on to add three and four.
The twist is much like the ladder with a treat under the twist. But, as the name suggests, there is a twist! The twist can be opened and a treat placed inside (it looks like an eye)
The flowers have two layers of petals to hide treats inside.
Hide the treats under one layer of petals to make things easy or under two layers to up the difficulty. If your dog has trouble only fold down a couple of the petals so your dog can see the treat hidden inside.
The pocket is a row of narrow pockets that hold a longer treat like jerky, chewy treat, carrot sticks etc. All your dog has to do is grab the stick and pull. Start with nice long treats and get shorter as your dog grows in confidence. This is Mr Mozart's favourite station.
This may be the trickiest of the stations. It also has the most variations. This station consists of an elastic band and a roll of fleece.
The aim is for your dog to pull out the fleece and unroll.
Start really slow here with the fleece nice and long and easy for your dog to grab. Treat your dog when they nose/paw the fleece. Fold or roll the fleece smaller and smaller as your dog gains confidence.
The fleece can be folded and rolled longways, shortways, diagonally, or simply scrunched.
Pass the fleece through a toilet roll to raise the difficulty.
Learning to unroll the fleece can be a challenge in itself. Start off the quilt, place a treat under the fleece and let your dog nose and paw at the fleece to reveal the treat. You may want to hold the other end so the fleece can’t slip and slide. Once your dog can reveal the treat consistently try hiding the treat under one fold and let your dog nose around again. Keep ading more folds as your dog understands the game better. Advance the game to a tighter roll as the confidence grows.
Fleece likes to cling to scratchy treats, I like to use my dogs kibble on this stage because they don't get caught up in the fleece so much. Some experimentation may be needed.
The Snuffle Quilt can give you hours of fun. Use your imagination, incorporate different treats, toys and objects to the board. If your dog is just too good at finding treats try swapping them out for scrunched paper, card, toys, cloth. Teach your dog to target each station. There are endless ways to play.
Posted: Thursday 18 March 2021