Written by Christine Durrant, Professional Dog Trainer and Pet Care Consultant
Teaching your dog to go to a mat is a wonderful way for your dog to relax while guests enter and visit your home, at times when you need a break and when you visit public places with your dog.
Mat training is one of the first behaviors I teach when I am working with young or very active dogs. Some dogs don't truly understand how it feels to relax and once they do, they learn to do it instead of other behaviors. We can begin teaching a dog to go to a mat and settle at any age, regardless of breed or activity level. Visit our Videos page for a short intro to this training or, our store to purchase the complete video.
Some tips to get you started on training your dog to go to a mat:
1. Select a flat, slip proof mat (a short pile rug or a yoga mat cut to fit your dog's size are great choices).
2. Have some delicious treats on hand.
3. Lay the mat down and reward your dog for showing ANY interest in it. This can be simply walking over to it, sniffing it or stepping on it.
4. Continue to reward your dog for interest in the mat for a few "sessions".
5. Next, stop rewarding for interest and only reward for your dog stepping on the mat.
6. Once your dog enjoys stepping on the mat, only reward for them stepping ALL the way on the mat and so on....until they begin to relax and eventually lay down!
Visit our video page to learn more about mat training!
Christine Durrant, CPDT-KA Professional Dog Trainer and Behavior Consultant