• Go To Your “Place”

    Posted on May 10, 2013 by in Training

    Do you enjoy your dog drooling and staring while you eat? How about bombarding the door when someone rings the doorbell? No? Then the place cue may be just what you’re looking for. By giving your dog a “place” you can effectively have your dog stay in one place while you eat, when someone comes to the door, while you’re at a friend’s house or eating at an outdoor cafe. The place cue is easy to train but, as with all training, you must be consistent and give it some time.

    Start with a mat, blanket, or even a fancy dog bed like those at Kuranda! Whatever you choose it should only be out and available for your dog when you expect your dog to be on it and staying. I hide mine in a closet until I’m ready for it!

    Training the BehaviorDog-Training-Mat-Behavior

    Have your clicker, treats and your dog ready. Sit in a chair or stand in one place and begin to investigate the mat yourself. After you have your dog’s attention (he’ll be intrigued with what you’re doing!) drop or place it on the floor in front of you approximately arm’s length away.

    1. CLICK the second your dog pays attention to the mat. Remember attention includes simply looking at the mat.
    2. Toss the treat directly behind the mat to “reset” your dog.
    3. As your dog moves back towards the mat CLICK the moment his paws touch the mat and toss the treat behind your dog. Repeat several times.
    4. Now after your dog arrives on the mat wait 2-3 seconds THEN click and toss the treat behind the mat.
    5. As your dog begins to move faster and faster towards the mat, change the location of the tossed treat. Reward to the right side and then left. This requires your dog to understand the behavior is moving towards the mat and not you that is getting him the reward. Repeat several times until your dog is reliably seeking out the mat.
    6. To really test if your dog understands his mat, change the location of the mat and the location of the tossed treat.
    7. After your dog has mastered the above steps and moving towards the mat no matter where the treat was tossed, then you are ready to move to the “advanced” mat behaviors: The Cue, The Position and Distance.

    The Cue

    When your dog is on the mat and giving you the final behavior, then you can name it. If your final behavior is on the mat and lying down – name that. You need to know the final behavior so you are being consistent and your dog knows his job.

    place-trainingThe Position

    Have your dog go to his mat. Once on the mat reward on the mat instead of tossing the treat. Remember as you increase time you can praise your dog for staying to let him know that a treat is on its way. Reward and then give your release cue (Free, Okay, All Done, etc…). Your dog can be given numerous behaviors while on the mat and the mat will indicate he needs to stay in position.


    Stand next to the mat and cue your dog to go to the mat. When he arrives click and reward by tossing the treat. Your dog should increase his speed and enthusiasm back to the mat because of the toss/chase rewards. Continue cuing your dog to the mat while you begin to increase your distance from the mat step by step. Take small steps not giant leaps.

    Put It Together

    Once your dog is running towards the mat with you at a distance, wait a few seconds then CLICK, release and toss the treat. Slowly increase how long your dog waits for the click/treat.

    A Few Notes

    The mat should be like a magnet to your dog. When the mat is out it should call your dog “Come here. Lay on me! Stand on me!” When the mat is not in use – put it away. Practice holding position while you make dinner. Have your dog on the mat in your kitchen and frequently go over and reward him for staying. Remember, the mat can be used as a place for your dog to relax while you eat dinner, let people in the door or out in the world.

    Here’s Jax during his first session with his new Kuranda bed! Since these beds are raised they make for fantastic “mats”. If you’re interested in a Kuranda bed visit the link and you can save 10% off your order!


    Have questions or want to tell me about your mat behavior? Comment below or Contact Me!

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