Sometimes the solution can be easier than you think — like this trainer's idea for wiping your pup’s muddy paws!

Spaniel running through muddy field
(Image credit: Getty Images)

There’s so much advice out there for dog parents, from books to TV shows to social media influencers to well-meaning friends and relatives, that it can be easy to make things more complex than they really need to be. 

Sometimes, you can find a solution that’s surprisingly simple. So simple, in fact, that it might not actually occur to you. Take this idea to help you wipe your dog’s muddy paws – all you’ll need are some of the best dog treats. Juliana DeWillems, owner and head trainer at JW Dog Training, explains all in a new Instagram post. 

“Sometimes reducing frustrating scenarios is a simple fix,” says DeWillems. “If a muddy dog is bouncing around, mouthing the towel, and trying to get away from you, wiping them off can be a huge to-do. It doesn’t have to be that way.”

If you aren’t sure how to clean dog paws without much too much difficulty, this might be a good exercise to try. DeWillems explains that she gets a snuffle mat and loads it with plenty of small treats. With her dog outside, waiting to come in, she places it where she wants his head to make wiping his paws easier. 

“I lure him right to the snuffle mat,” she says, “And as soon as he dives in, I go to town wiping. I actually had to readjust him here because the snuffle mat was slipping and moving him around.” But as you can see in her video, he’s too busy enjoying his treats to mind too much. 

As DeWillems says, it can take some trial and error to find the best way to set the mat up for you to clean your dog’s paws, so don’t worry if it doesn’t go totally to plan right away. And in between wiping the paws, be prepared to reload to snuffle mat before your dog’s done so they don’t get bored or restless!

“Planning ahead with a distraction like this not only helps your dog associate handling and wiping with tasty treats, it also reinforces the behavior of standing still while you do it.”

Another option for your pup could be a licky mat smeared with peanut butter – essentially, anything that will keep your dog occupied with some sniffing or licking when they come inside. 

If you’d like advice about how to protect your pup’s paws and keep them healthy, you might find this article useful: Five natural ways to moisturize dog paws.

Pet Parents Forager Snuffle Mat & Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
$20.99 at Chewy

Pet Parents Forager Snuffle Mat & Slow Feeder Dog Bowl
<a href="https://www.prf.hn/click/camref:1011l8tqY/pubref:hawk-custom-tracking/destination:https%3A%2F%2Fwww.chewy.com%2Fpet-parents-forager-snuffle-mat-slow%2Fdp%2F505506" data-link-merchant="chewy.com"" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">$20.99 at Chewy
Designed to withstand even the roughest of forages, this snuffle mat will slow down the time it takes your pup to eat. It's also washable, for quick and easy cleaning after mealtimes. 

Adam England
Freelance Writer

Adam is a freelance journalist covering lifestyle, health, culture, and pets, and he has five years' experience in journalism. He's also spent the last few years studying towards undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in journalism. While a cat person at heart, he's often visiting his parents' Golden Retriever, and when he's not writing about everything pets he's probably drinking coffee, visiting a cat cafe, or listening to live music.