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 habits to show, it’s extremely helpful for a wide range of completely 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 habits, defuse pressure between two canine, transfer her away from a guarded useful resource, and way more.

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

12 Steps to a “Place” Mat

A spot mat is any moveable rug, mattress, or blanket which you could simply take with you wherever you go along 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 job will probably be – she’s going to need to lie down on it. 

When educating this habits, 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 habits, 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 tips on how to practice the habits:

1. Hold your canine’s new mat and present nice curiosity in it – study 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 appears to be like 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 on your canine.

“Shaping” encourages your canine to supply plenty of completely different behaviors. You’re going to strengthen more and more nearer and nearer approximations of the habits you actually need.

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

4. If you have got 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 affords 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 affords to lie down on the mat, use your marker and provides her a high-value deal with on the mat. Any different supplied OTMBs proceed to get medium-value treats.

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

5. If your canine is just not 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 have got given her a cue, marked it, and given her a deal with for a half-dozen or so Downs interspersed together with her different supplied behaviors, pause for a number of seconds; see if she chooses to supply you a down when she doesn’t get marked for every other habits. 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 supplied sit after sit; it is a habits that canine typically use as a well mannered “default” – one thing to do after they don’t know what else to do. She’s slightly 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 habits is rewardable, however downs get the higher rewards. She ought to quickly start providing solely downs on the mat, despite the fact that different behaviors will nonetheless be getting medium rewards.

8. Now give your canine a launch cue, transfer just a few 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 habits 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 keep in mind to reward any OTMBs.

Minnie eagerly complies with a verbal cue for “down.” Click and high-value deal with! After just a few 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 larger distances. By now she is probably going returning to the mat and instantly mendacity down. If she is just not, 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 period for the down-on-mat habits. Increase the period of time in small increments – only a few seconds at a time. 

If at any time your canine will get off the mat earlier than you give your launch cue, decide up the mat and ignore her for a minute, then place the mat down and check out once more. If she will get up a number of occasions in a row, you have got elevated period too shortly – return to a shorter period and work your means up once more. (For recommendations on rising the period of the “stay” habits, 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 wherever 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 habits. Practice sending your canine to her mat within the face of kindergarten-level distractions – soar as soon as, soar twice, clap your palms…. Gradually work as much as school degree, the place you may ship her to her mat even with children working by way of the home or whereas meals is being ready within the kitchen. 

Eventually, for those who hold working towards, she ought to be capable 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 mission in only a few classes. If your canine continues to be engaged on primary good manners or has issue with impulse management, it might take longer. In any case, it’s effectively definitely worth the effort. 

What’s your house?

You can see that there are many helpful purposes for this easy habits. I’m keen 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 just a few in a future problem. Ready, set, place! 





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