10 Ways To Use A Mat In Training

10 Ways To Use A Mat In Training

10 Ways To Use A Mat In Training

Excellent Reasons to Use a Mat in Dog Training

A mat, or a defined place for a dog to “go to,” is a versatile and useful behavior to teach a dog.  A mat can be many things:  a dog bed, a dog mat, a bath mat, a towel, a blanket, a pillow — whatever makes the most sense for the dog and the handler.

1. As A “Place” For The Dog

Useful in emergencies, when clients can’t put their dog in a crate, when they have dropped something, or when they need to vacuum. This gets the dog out of danger quickly without a hassle.

2. Inviting Guests

A doorbell or knock can be the cue for a dog to go to his mat and wait while the client answers the door. This helps to prevent door dashing and impolite greetings.

3. Out From Underfoot In The Kitchen

Instead of being underfoot, the dog is waiting patiently on her mat for the client to finish preparing her meal and/or her medications.

4. Keep Visitors Happy

Some people are not terribly fond of dogs and some dogs are not terribly fond of visitors in their home. When a dog is comfortable on his mat, it makes social gatherings so much easier on everyone! The dog can be a part of the party, but at a safe distance for everyone.

5. Teaching Stay

Having a defined space helps some dogs better understand the concept of stay. The mat is a physical cue for them to lie down and be still.

6. Teaching Tricks

A very cute trick where the dog lies down on a blanket or mat, then grabs the corner of it and rolls herself up in the blanket or mat can be taught by starting with a go to the mat exercise.

7. Home Away From Home

While traveling, it is nice for a dog to have a familiar spot to lie down, to sleep, to hang out. A mat can be a great safety blanket for a dog.

8. Therapy Dog Work

There are many times in therapy dog work where dogs need to simply hang out. Using a mat defines this idea for the dogs and gives them a familiar space. Reading programs are a time/place where using a mat is very helpful and comforting to the dog, the handler, and the reader.

9. Working Outside

If the dog participates in outdoor activities in all kinds of weather, a mat will be helpful in giving the dog a clean, dry space to be. The mat also helps to protect the dog from hot or cold surface temperatures.

10. Defined Space

In a multiple dog house, or in a class situation, having a defined space a dog can call his own, without worrying about other dogs infringing on that space, can help the dog to feel more comfortable and more focused.

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Top 3 Ways To Train “Place”

Top 3 Ways To Train “Place”

train "place"“Place” is a behavior in which the dog goes to lie down on a mat and remains there until released. Here are the three best ways to teach your client’s dogs how to go to their place using modern dog training techniques. There are 6 different ways you can get a dog to do a behavior: luring, shaping, capturing, targeting, modeling, and prompting. Modern dog training should utilize only the most non-physical and non-forceful method possible. Here, we’ll discuss how to lure and shape the “place” behavior.

Luring Place

In this video by K9-1, they demonstrate how to use a food lure to teach a dog to go to their mat or “place.” This is probably the simplest way to train “place” since it requires no guessing from the dog. The dog simply follows the treat to the desired location and recieves the treat when they are correctly placed. Fading the lure can be difficult which is why it should be done after the first few repetitions. Using the lure treat too long can create a dog that only works for a visible treat.


Shaping Place

This method requires a basic knowledge of clicker training. The clicker is activated when the dog does the correct behavior and recieves a treat. Timing with the clicker can make or break this training method which can make it difficult for clients to pick up quickly. However, if you have a clicker-savvy client, this method can create a very solid and accurate behavior in the dog.

This video by Kikopup shows how to shape the “place” behavior and also provides great ways to utilize this skill for other obedience behaviors once it is aquired.

This video of the shaping method by the Pam’s Dog Academy demonstrates how quickly dogs can learn to repeat behaviors in order to make the clicker and treats happen. The clicker has been proven to work more accurately and effectively than a verbal marker, but it can be difficult to juggle for new clients.

There isn’t a “one size fits all” method for training dogs. Each dog and owner will have specific requirements and different paces of aquiring new behaviors. Both of these methods are quick, easy, and fun for all dogs. Using treats in training builds the bond between owner and dog because as the dog is learning new behaviors, they are making positive associations with their owner, enviornment, and the mat. The mat will soon be the most fun and exciting place to be for the dog.

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