White terrier mix dog standing in a green field with a red collar on

Go to Place, Hand Signal

The next hand signal that we are going to focus on is going to be the “go to place” hand signal. Begin by standing in front of your mat at the 4 o’clock or 8 o’clock position. You should be about 3 – 5 feet from the mat. Remember, cue first, prompt second. While holding onto the leash you are going issue your go to place hand signal (open palm, sideways sweeping motion to mat), followed by a prompt which in this case can be as simple as stepping to the front of the mat. The moment that your dog touches two paws to the mat you are going to mark “good” take a piece of food from your left hand and reinforce with your right hand. Most dogs will default to a sit, but if your dog is in a standing position, that’s ok too! Reinforce for your dog on the mat at an interval of 2 – 3 seconds. Give your dog 3, 4, 5 rewards. Once you decide to deliver the final reward you are going to immediately give your dog a release cue, lead your dog off the mat and provide a single reward. Give your dog a break before moving on to the down. Each time you practice, you will alternate between the 4 o’clock and 8 o’clock position.

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