Introducing Settle (Relax on a Mat)
- Treat Pouch
TRAINING ENVIRONMENT: Start in the least distracting (most boring) place in your home.
RECOMMENDED TREAT POSITION: Start by placing treats in center of the mat. If your touch behavior is not well developed you may need to toss some treats off the mat in order to get your dog to move away and reset the behavior.
- Stock your pouch with 15 pea sized treats
- Make sure you have your clicker ready.
- Take your mat out and show it to your dog.
- If your dog doesn’t get too amped up, play a little “keep away” by showing it to him and then walking away from him.
- Lay the mat out on the floor.
- When your dog shows any interest in the mat (a look, a paw, a sniff) click while he is still doing it and then place a treat right in the middle of the mat.
- Use your touch cue or click again and toss a treat to get him off the mat.
- Try to click for similar behaviors only 3 to 4 times and then pause to see if your dog will add anything to the behavior. If he does, click that.
- Click each successive behavior 3 or 4 times, and then pause to see if your dog will offer more.
- If your dog lies down on the mat, click and jackpot by placing a treat at a time between his toes until you’ve given him three treats.
- ALWAYS (this is critical) pick the mat up when you’re not using it in training. It needs to be reinforcing 100% of the time he interacts with it at this stage in his training.
- PUPPIES: Do five repetitions three or four times a day.
- DOGS: Do 10 to 15 repetitions, three times each day.
A repetition is one interraction with the mat.
AT THE END OF THIS STEP:
- Your dog should be approaching the mat after each time you move him away from it.
- Your dog should be standing on the mat with at least two paws, but may not be ready to sit or lie down. If he does, make sure you jackpot. I usually do two treats for a sit and three to five for a down.
My dog won’t approach the mat.
- Try a less distracting environment.
- Try practicing some sits (or another known behavior) where you use the mat as a place to treat.
- Feed your dog his meals on the mat. Put the mat on the floor in the spot your dog usually eats, show him his food, when he steps on the mat, put his food bowl down.
- Consider what you are using to reward him. When first acquiring a behavior, your dog will only work for you if you pay him with something he likes.
- If you need to lure, do it only a few times. Don’t do this unless you absolutely have to. I want your dog to think.