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Peaceful Meals & Get Togethers - Teach Your Dog “Go To The Mat”! – PART 2!

Earlier this week I shared the first steps in teaching “Place”, “Go to Mat”, “Park It”, or whatever you eventually choose to call this fun game!


In this article, I will share the next couple of steps in this game!




When we first started this game, we gave our marker (“yes” or clicker) the moment even one paw touched the “mat” (“mat” can be a dog bed, a large bathmat, a large rug, etc) and then dropped 4-6 pieces food (one at a time) on the mat.


The next step is having your dog be all the way on the mat before we give our marker and then drop 4-6 pieces of food (one at a time) on the mat. Your dog may already be doing this, which is great!  If so, you’re ready to move to the next step!


If your dog is still figuring out that getting all the way on is now what we want, stick with this step for a couple of days before moving onto the next step.  You may need to stand a step or two back from the mat, so your dog is more comfortable coming all the way on to the mat.  Some dogs are sensitive to our body pressure and if we are too close, they may stop short of coming all the way onto the mat.


Keep sessions short and fun!  Use your release cue and the Get it game to repeat the fun during each session as I talked about in the first article.




One your dog is coming all the way onto the mat, it is time to add a name to the behavior!  Many people call this game “Place”, “Go to Mat”, or “Park It”, but you can call it whatever you want! 

Pro tip:  Keeping the cue word(s) short will make training easier


Begin the game just like you’ve been doing with you on one side of the mat and saying, “Get it” and tossing food away from the mat for your dog to get and come back towards the mat.


This time, when your dog is about 3-5 steps away from the mat, give your cue word and as soon as your dog is all the way on the mat, mark it (“yes” or clicker) and drop food on the mat like you were doing in the beginning steps.


And that’s it! Super fun and super easy!  The key is to give your cue word before your dog gets to the mat, so they hear the word and then do the behavior! They will begin to associate the new cue word with getting on the mat!


Play this 4-6 times and then pick up the “mat” and put it away.  Give your dog a short break to think about the game (about 3-5 min) and bring the “mat” out again and do another round and then put the “mat” away until later in the day or the next day.


Again, play this game in different parts of your house and change the direction in which you toss the food.

Playing this game a couple of times a day for a few days will get you and your dog ready for the next step!


Here’s a video of a client just beginning to add the “Place” cue to the game!


Watch for the next step in this fun game in a couple of days!


Happy Training!



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