Mat Work

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Teaching your dog to settle on a mat is a skill that builds the foundation for many later behaviors. In this class, Good Dog Basics, we’re going to begin mat work by building an attraction for the mat.

When choosing a mat to use for this skill, consider using a rug, blanket, or bed. Each time you practice, use the same mat. It’s best at first to put the mat away when not actively training so that the “magic” of the mat isn’t spoiled.

This week, we’re going to dive in and start developing that vital mat attraction. The mat will become a place that your dog wants to be! Start by having your mat or bed directly in front of you. Toss a cookie beyond the mat, and when your dog steps on the mat to get back to you, you can mark that (“Good dog!”). Give several treats in a row, and treat directly on the mat to build value in that mat itself. After treating several times, toss another “reset cookie” and start again.