• Lori Nanan

Easy enrichment

A version of this blog originally appeared on Your Pit Bull & You, a nonprofit I ran from 2013-2018.

I’ve wanted to make snuffle mats for a while, but work-related projects have kept me busy and I didn’t want to fork out money for fleece, out of fear I would abandon my new personal project. So, thinking about the dozens and dozens of unworn tee shirts Paul and I have, I thought I’d try those. Someone suggested that tee shirts may not have the weight needed to stand up enough for the food to nestle and offered jeans as an alternative. Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ve also got lots of jeans laying around which you can’t bear to part with, but also will likely never wear. Perfect.

I started with a simple, inexpensive sink mat, seen here. I ordered it on Amazon on Tuesday and it arrived on Thursday. Easy peasy. (Okay, I actually ordered 2.) $4 and if it didn’t work, I had made no huge financial investment and could use it in the kitchen. Win.

I dug through my closet for a pair of jeans and turned up 5 pair right off the bat that I could say I’d likely never wear, but would hesitate to put in the donation bin, because maybe….just maybe I would wear them. (Human brains are weird. Well, mine is anyway). I decided that in terms of texture needed for this project, all 5 pairs could work. Not too thin that they’d shred as I cut them, not too thick that the strips wouldn’t fit through the hole and not so worn that the strips would be limp.

I threaded strips which were about 1.5″ wide and 9″ long through 2 holes and tied them on top. The only thing I’d change would be to make the strips more like 12″, but, otherwise 1 pair of slightly cropped, never worn, still with tags, boyfriend fit jeans did the job. I used basically every part of them aside from the belt loops and the seams. Pretty awesome recycling.

Hazel loved it. I let her go to town on it last night as soon as I was done and it was super fun to watch her dig around! She also got her breakfast in it this morning. Longer strips would definitely make finding the kibble (always use dry bits!) a little more challenging, so I’ll make another one this weekend to test that out!

Part of what was so great about this (for me, anyway) was that I did something productive while just hanging out watching TV. The bigger part is that I now have another piece of enrichment for my dog to enjoy. Anyone who knows me knows that enrichment is sort of my “thing”, and so I am always on the lookout for easy ways to incorporate more of it into Hazel’s life and to have to offer other dog owners.

Dogs not only like something to do, they NEED it. By giving them legal outlets for normal behaviors, we can have happier lives together.

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