Go to Your Mat – Layer 1

Objective:  The objective of this game is to teach your dog to go to their mat and lie down on cue.  The first layer builds value for going to the mat


Optional Videos:


Lots of yummy treats, a portable dog bed (a towel, or bath mat are good options), and a quiet training location

Step by Step Instructions Comments
When your dog looks at you, place the mat on the floor
Mark with a ‘Yes’ and treat the first interaction with the mat.

  • The interaction could be looking at the mat, moving toward the mat, sniffing the mat, stepping on the mat
Your dog may immediately move to the mat due to the value already built up from practicing the ‘Relax on a mat’ behaviour.
Quickly feed 5-10 treats on the mat one at a time
Say your release word, mark (‘Yes’ or Click) and toss a treat to move your dog off the mat.  Pick up the mat
Wait a few seconds and repeat the above steps four more times Give your release cue, say “All done” and pick up the mat.  If you are going to keep training, take a break and give praise or play with your dog before continuing with the training session.
If this is the same mat that your dog relaxes on, place it back in its usual spot once you are done training and continue to reward your dog whenever she chooses to lie down on her mat.
Troubleshooting:  My dog won’t leave the mat when the release word is given
Make kissy sounds, tap the floor, and slap your leg, move away to encourage your dog to come off the mat. If this continues to be a problem, you may need to use lower value rewards for being on the mat and a higher value reward for coming off the mat.
When to Advance  
When your dog drives to the mat as soon as you put it down
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