WEEK 1: Getting Started
WEEK 2: Duration on Mat
WEEK 3: Distraction on Mat
WEEK 4: Distance on Mat
WEEK 5: Hand Signals & Verbal Cues
Week 1 | Duration Overview
In the first week you will teach your dog to hold position on the training mat until they hear a release cue. To do this you will use a high rate of reinforcement for the duration of time that your dog remains in position on the mat. Make sure that you are training in a low stress, minimal distraction environment – like your living room. Placing the training mat on a tile or hardwood floor will be helpful in these initial weeks, the contrast in texture will make it easier for your dog to learn to target the training mat.
In the first week of training we will be focusing on teaching your dog to offer certain behaviors as a default. In this process, your dog will also become more aware of hand gestures, body language and other contextual cues, that will increase the probability that your dog will offer desirable behavior, without always having to hear a verbal cue. With this in mind the only verbal cue we will be using in the first few weeks will be a verbal release cue: “all done.” We will also be using verbal markers like “good” or “yes.”
We will not be using verbal cues like “sit” “down” “go to place” “leave it”` or “stay.”
I highly recommend that you make an attempt to diminish or completely avoid their use in your day to day routines within the first few weeks of training.
In the third week of we will bring these cues back into the training picture and discuss good habits that will establish and maintain strong, reliable, enthusiastic responses to verbal cues long term.
If you haven’t already, I recommend watching, or rewatching, these pre-requisite videos before beginning today’s training:
- Training Tools
- How to Cut and Store Food
- Markers in Training
- What is a Training Break?