Mat Training Tips – Whole Dog Journal

Mat coaching – educating your canine to go lie down on her mat on cue, and keep there – sounds fairly easy, and actually, it’s. Not solely is it a easy conduct to show, it’s extremely helpful for a wide range of totally different coaching challenges. You can use it to show your canine well mannered greetings, park her calmly in public or at your coaching class, improve her confidence in novel conditions, ship her to her mat in any room in the home, give your self a break from attention-seeking conduct, defuse stress between two canine, transfer her away from a guarded useful resource, and far more.

It’s a little bit of a marvel, then, that extra people don’t train their canine this easy conduct. If we’ve grabbed your consideration and curiosity, learn on to seek out out how one can train your canine.

12 Steps to a “Place” Mat

A spot mat is any transportable rug, mattress, or blanket you can simply take with you anyplace you go together with your canine, and that you’ll train your canine to lie down on, on cue. The extra comfy the mat, the simpler your coaching process shall be – she’s going to need to lie down on it. 

When educating this conduct, it helps to make use of a brand-new mattress, mat, or blanket. Make a giant fuss over it; admire it with enthusiasm, till your canine feels compelled to test it out, too.

To practice this conduct, it’s a good suggestion to start out with a model new rug, mattress, or blanket – one your canine has by no means seen or used earlier than. It’s not important, however as soon as she understands the train, she’s going to acknowledge it as her particular “go to your place” mat. Here’s the right way to practice the conduct:

1. Hold your canine’s new mat and present nice curiosity in it – look at it, exclaim over it, sniff it – till your canine reveals curiosity in what you’re doing.

2. Have a useful provide of medium-value treats and a provide of high-value treats prepared. Be ready to mark with a clicker or verbal marker. When your canine seems at, sniffs, or in any other case reveals curiosity within the mat, use your marker (click on! or “Yes!”) and place a medium-value deal with on the mat to your canine.

“Shaping” encourages your canine to supply a number of totally different behaviors. You’re going to strengthen more and more nearer and nearer approximations of the conduct you actually need.

3. Continue to mark for any mat-related behaviors that your canine provides – aside from grabbing it! – inserting a medium-value deal with on the mat every time you mark. 

4. If you will have used shaping in your coaching earlier than and your canine is shaping-savvy, she is more likely to shortly begin providing a wide range of behaviors. If she provides any on-the-mat behaviors (let’s name them OTMBs for brief), use your marker and put a medium-value deal with on the mat. But if she provides to lie down on the mat, use your marker and provides her a high-value deal with on the mat. Any different provided OTMBs proceed to get medium-value treats.

At first, use a marker (reminiscent of the press of a clicker or a verbal “Yes!”) when your canine interacts with the mat in any manner; then shortly ship a medium-value deal with on the mat.

5. If your canine will not be savvy about shaping, proceed to mark any OTMBs, however often, randomly use your “Down” cue to ask her to put down on the mat. When she does, mark and provides her a high-value deal with.

6. After you will have given her a cue, marked it, and given her a deal with for a half-dozen or so Downs interspersed along with her different provided behaviors, pause for a number of seconds; see if she chooses to provide you a down when she doesn’t get marked for every other conduct. If she does, mark and feed her a number of high-value treats. Jackpot! If she doesn’t, return to marking any OTMBs, interspersing random downs. Deliver a medium-treat for different behaviors and a high-value treats for downs.

At first, Minnie provided sit after sit; it is a conduct that canine typically use as a well mannered “default” – one thing to do once they don’t know what else to do. She’s a bit of caught.

7. Repeat steps 6 and seven till your canine begins providing downs throughout your pauses. Your canine is studying that any on-the-mat conduct is rewardable, however downs get the higher rewards. She ought to quickly start providing solely downs on the mat, though different behaviors will nonetheless be getting medium rewards.

8. Now give your canine a launch cue, transfer a couple of steps away from the mat, and invite your canine to comply with you. When she does, stand quietly and ignore her – no marking, treating or praising. Most canine will return to the mat to immediate you for extra marks and treats. If your canine steps on to the mat, begin marking and treating, once more, utilizing medium-value treats for any conduct and high-value treats for downs. Do not maintain out for downs! At this juncture, you’re reinforcing her for returning to the mat. Downs are nice in the event that they occur, however bear in mind to reward any OTMBs.

Minnie eagerly complies with a verbal cue for “down.” Click and high-value deal with! After a couple of cued downs and extra high-value treats, Minnie will get it: “down” pays higher!

9. Repeat step Eight quite a few occasions. Each time you give a launch cue and step away from the mat, go a step or two farther away. You are educating your canine to go to her mat from higher distances. By now she is probably going returning to the mat and instantly mendacity down. If she will not be, return to sometimes, randomly holding out for downs. Remember, solely the downs get high-value treats.

10. When your canine is constant about shortly returning and mendacity down on the mat every time, you can begin including length for the down-on-mat conduct. Increase the period of time in small increments – just some seconds at a time. 

If at any time your canine will get off the mat earlier than you give your launch cue, choose up the mat and ignore her for a minute, then place the mat down and take a look at once more. If she will get up a number of occasions in a row, you will have elevated length too shortly – return to a shorter length and work your manner up once more. (For recommendations on growing the length of the “stay” conduct, see “Stay Happy,” WDJ November 2012.)

11. When your canine will go to her mat and lie quietly on it for an prolonged time frame, you may add your cue. Use no matter cue you want – maybe simply the phrase “Place!” Practice sending her to her “Place” from more and more longer distances, and finally from anyplace in the home.

Now, transfer farther from the mat and invite your canine to comply with you. Then stand quietly and provides no cues. Mark and reward your canine if she returns to the mat; don’t maintain out for a down.

12. Finally, it is advisable add distractions and generalize the conduct. Practice sending your canine to her mat within the face of kindergarten-level distractions – bounce as soon as, bounce twice, clap your arms…. Gradually work as much as faculty degree, the place you may ship her to her mat even with youngsters operating by way of the home or whereas meals is being ready within the kitchen. 

Eventually, when you maintain working towards, she ought to have the ability to go to her mat on cue on the Ph.D. degree – when the doorbell rings, guests enter, or throughout every other thrilling scenario.

Depending in your canine and her degree of coaching, you may accomplish your mat coaching undertaking in just some classes. If your canine remains to be engaged on primary good manners or has problem with impulse management, it might take longer. In any case, it’s nicely definitely worth the effort. 

What’s your home?

You can see that there are many helpful purposes for this easy conduct. I’m prepared to wager that lots of you WDJ readers have already discovered good makes use of for mat coaching. We’d like to see yours on our Facebook web page, and perhaps we’ll even print a couple of in a future problem. Ready, set, place! 

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