black and brown dog waling on a sunny beach wearing a yellow collar

How to Teach a Dog to Station on a Mat

During this set you will use a high rate of reinforcement for the duration of time that your dog remains in a stand on the mat. This will teach your dog to hold a stand. Here is an explanation and demonstration of the first set

We are going to begin by teaching your dog to target the training mat. Hold your leash in your left hand with just a few inches of slack, along with a couple of sticks of food. Hold a food lure in-between your thumb and index finger. The food that you use to lure, and subsequently use as a reward, will be slightly larger than the size of a pea.

To use a lure you are going to hold that piece of food 2-3 inches in front of your dog’s nose and use steady forward movement to encourage your dog to follow the lure.

Lure your dog to the back end of the training mat and as soon as your dog places two paws on the mat you are going to tell your dog “good,” and reinforce with food. Take another lure and guide your dog forward so that they now have all four paws on the mat. Reinforce your dog in a stand for a 10 – 15 second duration of time. You are going to use a high rate of reinforcement, meaning you should reinforce every ½ second to every 1 second. Maintain a steady, predictable rhythm to your reinforcement. Now deliver the final reward and give your release cue, “all done”. Once you say “all done” you are going to turn sideways, drop your shoulder and encourage your dog to pop out of position.

Give your dog one reward for responding to the release cue and moving out of position. The sequence and timing of your cue is important. Your cue “all done” needs to come first. Your prompt – turning to the side, dropping your shoulder, needs to come within a ½ second to 1 second AFTER the release cue. Now you are going to put one minute on your timer and give your dog their first training break.

Don’t forget to give your dog a 60 second break before moving on to Set 2.

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