Canine Enrichment ~ Snuffle Mat


[en-rich-muh nt]


1. an act of enriching.
2. the state of being enriched.

3. something that enriches :
the enrichment’s of education and travel.


Now lets add a Canine to that and make it Canine Enrichment:

One standard definition of enrichment is: “Additions to an animal’s environment with which the animal voluntarily interacts and, as a result, experiences improved physical and/or psychological health.”

Types of enrichment: (Behavioral-Environmental) Any stimulus which evokes an animal’s interest in a positive way can be considered enriching, including natural and artificial objects, scents, novel foods, and different methods of preparing foods (for example, frozen in ice). Most enrichment stimuli can be divided into seven groups:[4]

  • Environmental; enhancing the animals’ captive habitat with opportunities that change or add complexity to the environment.
  • Feeding; by presenting food to an animal in different ways, such as hidden, scattered throughout their habitat, buried, or presented differently, natural hunting and scavenging behaviors are encouraged by requiring the animals to investigate, manipulate, and work for their food as they would in non-captive environments. Feeding enrichment is the most common technique used.
  • Manipulation; providing items that can be manipulated by the paws, feet, tail, horns, head, mouth, etc. This promotes investigatory behavior and exploratory play that is often closely related to behaviors that can be seen by the species in a natural, wild habitat. It is not uncommon to see manipulation and feeding techniques combined. Many objects offered to an animal in their habitat can contain treats that require the animal to open, break apart, and/or find the treats through obstacles within the enrichment object.
  • Puzzles; requiring an animal to solve simple problems to access food or other rewards. These puzzles can include puzzle feeders that contain the animal’s meal or manipulation objects that are presented.
  • Sensory; stimulating animals’ senses: visual, olfactory, auditory, tactile, and taste. Olfactory senses can be activated by presenting scents that the animal would encounter while hunting and mating in the wild. Caretakers include prey, predator, and pheromone scents within the enclosure. Auditory senses can be activated by playing recordings of the animal’s natural habitat, animal, and vocalizations that can be heard by the species in the wild.
  • Social; providing the opportunity to interact with other animals, either conspecifics or interspecifics.
  • Training; training animals with positive reinforcement or habituation. This technique not only helps the animal to become mentally stimulated, but also helps to create and form a bond between the animal and his/her caretaker; allowing the caretaker to get a closer look at the animal on a daily basis and allowing for easier daily and veterinary care. ~Wikipedia

Since we are learning that dogs need mental and physical activities to keep them from unwanted behaviors. We are finding more and more ways to enrich their lives so they can become better pets. When becoming better pets the dogs are happy as they are getting much needed mental stimulation and you are happy because your pet isn’t destroying things as it has a job to do when you give it one in enrichment toys. There are many different enrichment toys out there, store bought ones as in puzzles, kong toys, tug-o-jugs and home made ones as in a water bottle with holes and treats in it for the dog to figure out how to get the treats out or like below a “Snuffle Mat”.

A “Snuffle Mat” is a interactive toy that you hide treats in between the strips of fabric and have your dog use it’s nose to sniff out the treats and mouth to gobble up the treats once they find them.  For a snuffle mat you will need about 2 yards of fleece and a small dish mat that I got at the dollar store.

Cut fleece into strips.

You start by cutting your fabric into strips.

Cut into smaller pieces.

You then cut them down even further into 6-8 inch strips.

Ready to start.

Staring the knot tying process.

Take one 6-8 inch strip and start in the first row of the dish mat weave your strip in one hole under the divider and into the next hole and up tying it around the divider.

Keep tying each row until each row is filled up.

You keep doing this same procedure until all the rows are filled up going the same way.

How the top should look.

How the bottom looks.

Now go the other way and fill in all the empty holes.

Now you will turn your mat and push the already done strips out of your way and fill in the holes going the other way on the mat.

This is how the mat looks going the other way.

I found it easier to locate the holes and push your previous strips out of the way.

I found it easier to locate the holes and push your previous strips out of the way. You keep at this until all the holes are filled going the other way.

Finished top of the mat.

Finished bottom side of the mat.

When you are done with your mat it’s time to have some fun with the pooches.

Glory was first and she loved it.

Glory stuck her nose in and rooted around til she found a treat and kept on digging.

Gambler was naughty and ripped it when he couldn’t get anymore treats.

Gambler on the other hand was naughty and when he couldn’t find anymore treats he proceeded to rip the strips. So you should be with them when using this toy so you can stop that behavior and not have them wreck your mat.

I can’t wait to try out this snuffle mat with a litter of pups.

This mat I did have fleece cut for me at ~$5.00 a yard and the dish mat was $1.00. It took me about ~2 hours to make and cost $11.00. I did find fleece blankets at Walmart for $2.50 so I bought two of them for the next project so then it would only cost me $6.00 plus time.

I am told that to get the dog slobber out of the mat to wash it in vinegar and dawn dish soap and it comes right out. I haven’t had to wash mine yet.

Enjoy and enjoy watching your pooch interact with this canine enrichment toy.20


Fun With Filters In Saskatchewan Prairies

When we got to Saskatchewan our first stop was to meet up with a friend of ours. While waiting I just had to take some pictures of the gang while we waited. I edited them with different filters.

As you can tell it was a bit windy but overall such a beautiful day and beautiful subjects to photo.

Have a great day!

Wordless Wednesday is a community linkup of bloggers. Visit our host, BlogPaws, and you can use the icons below the post to hop from site to site. It is a great way to discover new blogs…..or even just a convenient way to find all of your favorites in one place. When you visit each site, be sure to leave a comment and let them know you found them through Wordless Wednesday.


My Favorite Wagon Wheel ~ {This Moment} See Beautiful

Each year when we stay at the farm house in Saskatchewan while hunting I have to take pictures of the dogs in front of the beautiful wagon that is on the property. I just love the wagon wheel photos. I see beauty in the wagon and the extra beauty of my dogs in front of it makes it even more beautiful.




And of course one of Guilty taking off.

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” ~ Camille Pissarro

{This Moment} See Beautiful is a once a month Blog Hop, every 2nd Friday of the month. simply create a blog post that made your day, week, and/or month … inspiring you in Seeing Beauty. Blog Hop inspired by See Beautiful.

Gonna Get That Feather

The Sand Spring Gang wasn’t only getting feathers in the field they were getting feathers in the lawn back at the farm house after the hunt.

Do I have something stuck to my lip?

I don’t know if you do Gambler but I think I do?

This one taste’s like a snow goose.

Let me try chewing it and get a better taste.

Maybe if I smell it I could tell who it is from.

na na I can’t figure it out.

Let’s take another taste.

Whoo wee look at all the feathers.

I gotcha.

Nom Nom Nom

Momma getting in on the feather action.

Come to momma.

How you like my mustache?

Jump jump jump to get the feathers.

Ah Guilty it’s over here.

Yup right here, momma’s got it.

You snooze you loose all the feather fun.

I had a great time and so did the dogs trying to catch a feather in the air.

Have a great day.

Those Ears Silly Girl

We all like blooper photos and I usually end up with enough of them when trying to get the gang in a nice photo shoot. Guilty hates sitting for pictures so she is usually the first one to take off, Glory will sit but usually can’t get her ear to lay right and Gambler will sit like a pro but will squint or close his eyes a lot.


I did manage to get a couple of decent picture out of this shoot but none of Guilty.

I enjoyed using different filters to see how the photos would turn out.

Have a great Wednesday!

Wordless Wednesday is a community linkup of bloggers. Visit our host, BlogPaws, and you can use the icons below the post to hop from site to site. It is a great way to discover new blogs…..or even just a convenient way to find all of your favorites in one place. When you visit each site, be sure to leave a comment and let them know you found them through Wordless Wednesday.

Saskatchewan Sunrises


Saskatchewan My Home

Land of the living skies

Where the Saskatchewan  prairie lies

Skies painted with every hue

Pinks, purples and shades of blue

The sun slowly sinks in the west

The land settles down to rest

Our prairie full of harvest gold

Truly a site to behold

Feel the wide open space

Feel the wind upon your face

Our heavens hold the northern lights

Dancing across the sky at night

The rich soft soil of  the ground

Beautiful nature all around

Summer, winter, spring and fall

Season changes we get them all

The beaver knawing on his bark

The singing of the blue jays and meadow lark

Gophers popping their heads  above the ground

Having a look at what lurks around

The loon calls it’s lonely tune

The snowy owl hoots at the moon

Deer and moose stand and graze

In the evenings cool misty haze

The countryside what a site

The prairies, my home, my delight

This place truly a hidden treasure

A pace of life you cannot measure

Friendly people to lend a hand

Hard working people on the land

This is the place that we love

From the ground at our feet to the stars above

Copyright © Phyllis Babcock | Year Posted 2006

The week we were in Saskatchewan hunting John hunted with Gambler on his left side and Glory on his right. I hunted with Guilty. You can see different views of John, Gambler and Glory in the orange sky photos. The morning skies were beautiful and I laid on my pad waiting for the sunrise to see what the day was going to bring in the color of it’s beauty.

There was a full moon while we were there as well so this is the morning photo of the full moon while we were setting out the decoys at 4:30 am.

Saskatchewan In Black And White

Some black and white photos I took while in Saskatchewan this past week.




“Dread not to climb the mountain, for the higher you rise, your load will lighten; for once on top, easy be the stroll to the meadow down below”
― Nancy B. BrewerQuotes and Poems in Black and White

We are joining Dachshund Nola & Sugar The Golden Retriever for the Black and White Sunday Blog Hop.

Sand Spring Harmony Portraits

It’s that time of year again when I bring the gang to work with me to have their health certificates done before taking off to Saskatchewan. Since I bought a new camera of course I had to take some pictures of them.







Wordless Wednesday is a community linkup of bloggers. Visit our host, BlogPaws, and you can use the icons below the post to hop from site to site. It is a great way to discover new blogs…..or even just a convenient way to find all of your favorites in one place. When you visit each site, be sure to leave a comment and let them know you found them through Wordless Wednesday.

Fall Lake Fun

Early goose hunting season has ended for the fall, morning dove is still open but this past Friday it was just too hot to go hunting. John worked at his construction job in the morning and came home in the afternoon to take the dogs to the lake for some water fun.

Chasing out to get John.

Guilty bringing her chuck it bumper in.

Standing guard on shore.

Still playing with her bumper.

Gambler trying to take her bumper away from her.

Momma Glory and Guilty

John taking Guilty out for a swim.

John got cooled off after a hot day of work and the gang got cooled off along with some much needed fun.

Gambler’s Toe Lump

Wednesday Gambler went to the pond jumped in and came back black of course this was all right before we needed to go to pet therapy. I gave him a bath and noticed a lump that was bleeding on his left rear paw.

Toe lump on left rear paw.

From the looks of it and how it cropped up very suddenly I knew I needed to take him to work with me the next day and have it checked and possibly removed. To me it looked like either a histiocytoma which is a benign tumor or a mast cell which can be a serious tumor.

I get to go to work with mom.

Thursday I loaded up Gambler and off to work we went. When I got to work I did a FNA which is a fine needle aspirate on the lump. When you do this you stick a needle into the lump and extract some cells, you then put the cells on a microscope slide, stain the slide and then look at it under the microscope.

Cells under microscope.

More cells.

These cells turned out to be histiocytoma cells so I was relieved. If the cells were mast cells I would of seen many dark granules through out the whole slide which I didn’t see. Because the lump was bleeding and Gambler took to licking it I decided to have my boss remove the lump because we are leaving for Canada in a week and I didn’t want anything to happen while hunting.

Using Laser to ablate the lump.

A histiocytoma is a benign skin growth that usually goes away by itself if given enough time. The typical histiocytoma patient is a young adult dog, usually less than 2 years of age, with a round eroded growth somewhere on the front half of its body. Of course, not every patient seems to have read the text book. Such growths can be found on rear legs or in older patients as well. Because there are other growths that can look just like a histiocytoma, it is important to get the right diagnosis as the other conditions may not be as benign.

The histiocytoma is a tumor originating from what is called a Langerhans cell. This Langerhans cells live in the skin and serve as part of the immune system by processing incoming antigens and presenting them to other immunologic cells. It is especially common in Labrador retrievers, Staffordshire terriers, Boxers, and Dachshunds. It is not related to the malignant process called histiocytosis. Veterinary Partner

More ablating to get the whole lump off.

We have a laser surgery unit at Harmony Pet Clinic, it was what my boss uses for each surgery instead of a scalpel blade. It cuts and cauterizes at the same time so there is less bleeding. For this procedure she did a local block around the lump then ablated the lump and got the underlying tissue. No sutures were necessary as the ablation didn’t go that deep. A scab will form, it will heal up and he will be no worse for wear.

Lump removed, now the healing process begins.

Since the lump has been removed he doesn’t even lick his paw. He shouldn’t be affected at all for hunting and should be able to perform just like he always does.