This is the Hellbeast.
She is, as far as we know, an Akita Inu x Border Collie. (We got her from the RSPCA when she was 4 months old). She has a full dose of Akita* attitude and Border Collie brains, so we’re always looking for ways to keep her occupied.
Snuffle mats are excellent for nose work and mental stimulation for all dogs. The mat is basically a very dense, long-tufted, fleece rag rug, and you sprinkle it with treats or food that your doggo then has to sniff out. You can buy them, but they’re pretty easy to make. Here’s a short, clear, video tutorial:
I’ve been meaning to make one for the Hellbeast for ages, so this weekend I rounded up all the scrap fleece in the house:
- one old pair of red polka dot pyjama bottoms
- two old red Ikea blankets used for the Hellbeast, with big rips where she plays tug with them
- plain yellow and black left over from bee LARPing costumes
- part of a forest green blanket that joined our fabric stash from somebody else’s costume-making supplies
- small bits of flower print fleece I bought ages ago because it was cheerful, and cut some of the flowers out for prototype yarn bags that didn’t work out.
If you watch the video, you will notice that the maker very sensibly chose a small square of anti-fatigue mat. I, on the other hand, was late-night shopping on amazon, picked a cheapo doormat, and was like, yeah, that’ll do. It’s 40 cm x 60cm, and I ended up needing around 300 fleece strips. Of course, there’s nothing to stop you cutting the mat down (other than sheer stubborness). Also, this doormat has staggered holes; not a problem, you just need to tweak what you do at the edges.
Bargain fleece is to be had at ebay (the crafter’s best friend), but if you’re not fussed about colour the Ikea POLARVIDE blankets give you 1.3 x 1.7m for £3.
It’s not very pretty, but the Hellbeast won’t care. In my mind it’s a dog toy, not a piece of home décor, and I didn’t buy any new fabric, so I’m calling that a win! We’ll see what the Hellbeast herself makes of it tomorrow.