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Feb 2020 News

Upcycle Snuffle Mats now available!

Upcycle snuffle mats are now available at the Upcycle landfill avoidance shop situated at 158 Long Road, Greymont in Jhb. You can also check out thier FB page

In case you don’t know, a “snuffle mat” is a material feeding mat for dogs. (Apparently cats love them too!).

Basically, a snuffle mat stimulates a dogs natural foraging instinct by mimicking the hunt for food in grass & fields, stimulating their noses & brains to earn their meals. You hide treats around the mat, and then your dog uses his nose to find them, getting a tasty treat as a reward. A dog’s sense of smell is 50 times stronger than humans. Your dog sees the world through his or her nose!

The added value of these particular snuffle mats is that they are made by ladies that are trained in community sewing projects through Upcycle’s innovation lab.

One of Upcycle’s primary business intervention initiatives is training communities to make useable goods from waste product. The ‘waste’ product used for the creation of the snuffle mats is in line with the Upcycle landfill avoidance concept shop’s mission of creating new products from material that cannot be fully de-branded & so land up in landfill.

Upcycle has been contracted by a corporate product company to upcycle by sanitising their ‘waste product’ that would usually make landfill.
This production line of the Upcycle snuffle mats is a direct response of innovation to the sanitisation process of de-branding for certain corporate T shirts that cannot have branding removed or rebranded. These T shirts would usually end up in landfill due to branding rights & restrictions.

The Upcycle snuffle mats are made from cotton T shirts that cannot be de-branded or rebranded for use as a wearable T shirt. The branded T shirts are cut up into strips to strip away the branding. A square material base is placed to feed strips of material through small slits cut in a line across the base. With a crochet needle, the material strip is hooked in the middle & pulled through the small holes in the base square. The material strip is then looped around itself to knot around the slit in the base material. This process is continued until each slit in a line has a knotted strip through it & then the process is continued until each parallel line is filled. Colour combinations are decided on in the design process beforehand. When the threading of the material strips into the square base is complete, another square material base is sewn onto the side of the base where the slits are fed with knots of material to protect this side from being unravelled in the search for treats.

The Upcycle snuffle mats are designed as a “wooly” appearance; chosen specifically as research has shown this style to be popular with dogs. The colours combined are visually stimulating for humans. The snuffle mats are small & portable but can be made as a larger snuffle mat should you require this. We can create a variety of snuffle mats according to your specifications.

For the most part, snuffle mats are used as an interactive toy, one that encourages their natural behaviour, providing both stimulation and entertainment. We suggest that the treats you place in the snuffle mat is dry kindle as ‘wet’ treats will create quite a mess on the mats. The mats are durable for a hand wash or soft cycle wash. We do encourage multipurpose use – the snuffle mats are perfect for use as a drying mat when you get out of the shower or bath.

When you buy an Upcycle snuffle mat, you are not only being a super dog parent, but you are consciously investing into a local business that makes sure that goods that usually make landfill, avoid landfill. You are also restoring dignity to individuals & communities by investing your money into training & skills development. A snuffle mat taps into your dog’s primal instinct by rewarding their curious nose with a tasty treat. Food games, like a snuffle mat, play a vital role in keeping your dog mentally healthy.

Sniffing is part of the reason why dog’s love walks so much. A walk exposes your dog to an entirely new world of different smells & scents that excites them. Not much to be sniffed out around home. Boredom can lead to problem behaviours with our dogs such as chewing, digging & ultimately destroying household items.

Your dog’s nose was made to hunt, track, burrow, sniff & snort! This is their natural instinct. Snuffle mats can also be used as a distraction during gatherings of people, meeting new people like your new dog sitter & in any situation or environment that may cause your loved pet anxiety & stress. When instinct kicks in, like sniffing for a treat, a dog easily forgets the fear experienced a moment before.

Snuffle mats are also used to train working dogs.
Dog trainers use snuffle mats in training search-&-rescue, sniffer & hunting dogs by training dogs to locate scents. The snuffle mats used in training are called ‘nosework’ mats.

An Upcycle snuffle mat would be a great birthday gift for a friend who has a furry best friend too!