5 reasons to teach a dog to sit on a mat
Sometimes, referred to as “stationing”, training a dog to stay on a mat, bed or platform makes for a relaxed household.
Here are five reasons to train a dog to relax on their bed.
1. Out of mischief
For young dogs or new dogs in your household, teaching the dog to stay on their mat or bed, prevents any unwanted behaviour like stealing laundry, chewing shoes, eating the cat’s food or counter surfing.
Teaching dogs to settle on their bed while the family is eating is incompatible with the dog begging at the table. Likewise, when the family is relaxing, the dog can be trained to relax on their bed and not jump on the furniture or pester you to play with them.
2. Polite door manners
It is a lot more relaxing to greet visitors to your home or deal with deliveries if your dog is on their mat. Sitting on a mat is incompatible with jumping on guests or charging the door when you receive a delivery.
Once your guests are settled and the doors are secured you can release your dog to greet them or simply reward the dog for staying on their bed.
It is not just doors in your house where you can use your dog’s bed cue. Consider using it as a safety protocol when loading the dog in and out of the car. When the dog gets out of the car, ask them to sit on their mat while you unload your gear. When you return, ask the dog to sit on their mat while you reload the dog and your gear. A dog sitting on their mat ensures the dog is safe in car parks and roads.
3. Take your dog anywhere
Dogs that have been well trained to settle on their bed, know “what their job is” when they see the mat. With careful training, you can confidently take your dog and their bed when visiting family and friends or visiting the local coffee shop.
Just a note: If your dog is relaxing on their bed, ensure that other dogs or people don’t approach them. If you want your dog to say “hi” to other dogs or people, then release them from the mat to go “say hi”.
4. Barking and chasing
Sitting on a mat is an incompatible behaviour with barking and chasing the postman, garbage truck or the mower. Use these sounds as triggers for the dog to hop on their mat and receive a delicious reward.
5. Multi dog households
If you live with more than one dog, training dogs to go to a mat or bed is a great way of preventing incidents between the dogs. You may consider using stations to invite dogs through doorways individually, for feeding, or taking their turn for training, grooming or cuddles.
With multiple dogs it is important also to protect each dog when they are on their bed. The bed should be a “safe” space where the other dogs (or cats) are not allowed to annoy them. Implementing this philosophy is particularly useful when introducing a puppy to older dogs in the household. It ensures that everyone has a safe space to relax without fear of being disturbed.
These are just a few great reasons to teach your dog to settle on a mat. Mat training is covered in Teamwork Dog’s Puppy 2 and Foundation courses. It is also used in the Reliability and Stability classes to teach more advanced skills.
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