A dog training mat is a portable rug, bed, or blanket that you can teach your dog to lie down on and stay on cue. It can be used in a variety of ways, such as:
〉 To teach your dog to settle down and relax in different environments
〉 To provide your dog with a safe space to go to when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious
〉 To prevent your dog from begging or jumping on guests
〉 To help you manage your dog’s behavior in public places
There are many benefits to mat training your dog, including:
✤ It can help your dog learn to self-regulate their emotions. When your dog is feeling overstimulated or stressed, they can be taught to go to their mat and calm down. This can help to prevent unwanted behaviors, such as barking, biting, and chewing.
✤ It can provide your dog with a sense of security. A training mat can become a safe haven for your dog, where they can feel comfortable and relaxed. This can be especially helpful for dogs who are anxious or fearful.
✤ It can make your life easier. A well-trained dog who knows how to go to their mat can be much easier to manage in everyday situations. For example, you can use your dog’s mat to keep them from begging at the dinner table, jumping on guests, or getting into trouble when you’re not around.
Mat training is a relatively simple process, but it does require patience and consistency. Here are some tips to get you started:
✽ Choose a comfortable mat or blanket for your dog to lie on. Place it in a quiet area of your home where your dog won’t be disturbed.
✽ Lure your dog to the mat with a treat or toy. Once they are on the mat, say “place” or “mat” and give them the treat or toy.
✽ Repeat step 2 several times, until your dog starts to associate the mat with the cue word.
Once your dog is consistently going to the mat on cue, you can start to add duration. Ask your dog to stay on the mat for a few seconds at a time, and gradually increase the duration as they get better.
Be patient and consistent with your training. It may take some time for your dog to learn to go to their mat and stay on cue, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Here are some additional tips to help you mat train your dog successfully:
✦ Keep training sessions short and fun. Your dog should enjoy going to their mat, so don’t make the sessions too long or difficult.
✦ Use high-value treats or toys to reward your dog for going to their mat and staying on cue.
✦ Be patient and consistent with your training. It may take some time for your dog to learn to go to their mat and stay on cue, but it will be worth it in the long run.
If your dog gets off the mat before you give them the release cue, don’t get frustrated. Simply pick up the mat and try again later.
Once your dog is mat trained, you can use their mat in a variety of ways. Here are a few ideas:
Use it to teach your dog to settle down and relax in different environments. For example, you can take your dog’s mat to the park, the vet’s office, or even on vacation. This will give them a safe and familiar place to go to when they are feeling overwhelmed or anxious.
Use it to prevent your dog from begging or jumping on guests. When guests come to visit, have your dog go to their mat and stay there until you give them the release cue. This will help to prevent them from begging for food or jumping on your guests.
Use it to help you manage your dog’s behavior in public places. For example, if you take your dog to a restaurant, you can have them go to their mat and stay there while you are eating. This will help to prevent them from getting into trouble or bothering other patrons.
Mat training is a valuable skill for dogs of all ages and breeds. It can help your dog learn to self-regulate their emotions, provide them with a sense of security, and make your life easier.
If you haven’t already mat trained your dog, I encourage you to start today. It’s a simple process that will benefit both of you in the long run.