Clicker Training For Fun & Games (3)

Happy Dog after Clicker Training

“To the mat”

Wouldn’t it be nice if your puppy went to the mat and lay down nicely on command? This can happen, and once you have learned this behavior, you can use it in many ways. For example, you can place the mat wherever you need to take the puppy: in the car, in a box or just away from people who donít want a puppy to jump on it.

In the last Clicker training I attended I learned how to do this lesson. The trick is to teach the puppies that it is good to hang around on the mat. And this is how it works:

1) First put the mat on the floor in front of the puppy. You must be ready to click immediately, because most puppies will investigate anything new. When the puppy comes to sniff the mat, click and treat him. It’s best to let your puppy come to you for treats so he can practice walking on the mat again and again.

2) Next, do not just click to sniff the mat. Wait ñ the puppy should try to figure out what comes next. If the puppy comes to you, ignore him. If the puppy tries something else, such as actually touching the mat with his nose or putting a foot on the mat, click and treat again. Click on anything that draws the dog into the game that this particular item on the floor is important.

3) Click little by little on each new step, click when the puppy approaches the mat, and ignore the puppy if it moves further away. If the puppy does not touch the mat, the height may help. A dog bed works better than, for example, a flat towel.

You can also lure the puppy onto the mat with a treat and then click when the puppy steps on the mat. You want the puppy to understand that you want his feet to come on the mat. For many puppies this only takes a few minutes, but for some it can take several sessions.

4) Once the puppy is on the mat, the next step is to ask for a seat. When the dog sits down, either on your keyword or by itself, click on him and treat him.

5) Finally, attach a cue. Make sure the dog knows exactly what he is doing before you attach a verbal cue like ‘mat’ or ‘bed’. Practice until the puppy goes to the mat and sits on the cue.

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