If you haven’t already done so, please read and watch the video Go To Your Bed & Mat Training Part 1.
Mat training is all about sending a dog to a designated spot and having him stay there until released. As we outlined in our first post, this technique It can be used to train a dog to get into their crate, stay in place when meeting strangers for the first time, or prevent them from jumping out the door when you’re signing for your delivery!
Increasing Time on the Mat
Now that your dog can go to his bed on request, start incrementally increasing the time between rewards. This will teach the dog to stay on the bed for longer periods of time before needing reinforcement.
First session: Dog gets on the mat and you delay the reward by one second, then step back and wait two seconds before giving a reward, then step back and wait three more seconds for giving a reward, four seconds and so on. Release the dog from the mat by using a word such as “free” or calling your dog to you.
Second session: Dog gets on mat and you delay the reward by two seconds, then step back and wait three seconds before giving a reward, then step back and wait five seconds before reward. Release your dog from the mat.
Third session: Dog gets on mat and you reward after he has been there five seconds. Release.
Fourth session: Dog gets on mat and you wait 10 seconds to reward him. Release. Keep increasing the time you wait before giving him that first reward.
Adding Distractions: Once your dog can eagerly stay on the mat with fewer rewards then you can start on distractions. Be sure to give your dog a reward every time that you present a distraction and he is able to stay on the mat.
● Stand near dog and touch the ground
● Stand near dog and sit on the ground
● Pet your dog
● Run around the dog
● Drop a toy on the ground
● Drop food on the ground
● Have another leashed dog walk by
● Get creative and let us know in the comments how you do!
Here is a video using distractions:
Video stars: Hammer, Labrador Retriever and Jules, Senior Labrador Retriever
Janine Allen is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer and Behaviour Specialist. Check out her website here!
Did you find these tips helpful for your and your FirstMate? Have any training skills you’re dying to learn? Let us know in the comments below!