Written by Melissa Viera
Teaching your dog to go to a mat and to remain there until released has lots of benefits. Mat work may not have been on your list of obedience skills to train, but this behavior can be just as useful as sit, down, come, and leave-it.
The mat can be used in day-to day life, on outings, and for fun. Mat work is a great tool to have in your training tool box.
A few ways you can make use of having a dog who goes to their mat on cue:
1. When the Doorbell Rings
Does your dog bark when the doorbell rings or when someone knocks? Is this a behavior that you find undesirable? If you don’t want your dog barking at the doorbell you can teach them to run to the mat instead. When guests enter the home your dog will be on their mat so that your guests can come through the door. Once your dog knows how to go to their mat on cue you can begin replacing your cue with the sound of the doorbell. With enough practice your dog can learn that the sound of the doorbell means to run to their mat.
2. In Waiting Room at The Vets
The waiting room can be a busy place filled with scents, animals, and people. With enough training your dog will recognize that when the mat come out it is time to settle on it. You can bring the mat anywhere even on a visit to the veterinary. Imagine having a dog who waits calmly on his mat in the waiting room.
3. For Begging Dogs
If your dog is always by your side waiting for a piece of food to drop at dinner time you can teach them to go to their mats at dinner time instead.
4. Multiple Dogs Households
In multiple dog households each dog can have their own mat. When training, the dogs can learn to wait on their mats for their turn. You can also have them wait on their mats before feeding time.
5. For fun
You can have a lot of fun using the mat in training. You can teach your dog to run to the mat from a distance away, to back up onto the mat, to stay on the mat while you go out of sight , to do a drop on recall and more.