Training Your Dog to Go To Bed

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Training Your Dog to Go To Bed

by Michael Russell

Training the dog to go to a mat and stay on the mat is a trick that is actually more than just a mere trick. It is a valuable tool for many other situations you might find yourself in. It is relatively easy to train.

The first thing is that the dog must know is the command to "Stay!" This is accomplished while the dog is on leash and with plenty of treats. Put the dog into a sit or down and place your hand directly in front of its face, palm facing towards the dogs and fingers flat. Tell the dog "Stay" in a firm commanding tone. Hold the leash in your left hand about one foot above the dog's head, with the collar snug up around the top of the neck. Relax the collar slightly as long as the dog is quiet and still. You must remain alert and if the dog attempts to shift or move you want to be right on top of it with a short sharp "no!" and a slight tap on the nose with your right hand. DO NOT repeat the word stay. Also DO NOT tug upwards on the leash, as this is a signal for the dog to move. If the dog does move before you can stop him, simply put him right back into the position he was in. When you are able to move several steps away from the dog and walk out to the end of the leash and back, you are at the point that you can begin to teach the dog to stay on a mat.

For some reason it is much easier from this beginning point to teach the dog to stay on a mat than it is to continue to teach him to stay in any other place. Perhaps it is because he understands the concept of confinement if he is placed on a mat. At any rate it is very easy and seems to proceed much more quickly if you will from that point on practice the "Stay" command with the dog on a mat.

Finding a good mat is important. A straw mat is excellent because it is easy and lightweight to carry and can be cleaned with just wiping it down. It will also protect the clean dog from getting dirty by lying down on the ground. Furthermore, when you use the mat in therapy situations such as hospitals it prevents your dog from possibly getting "doggy germs" on surfaces, which should remain as antiseptic as possible. For small dogs, a straw type placemat is easy to find. For larger dogs look in the welcome mat section of your local department stores.

Simply put the mat down, place your dog on a "down-stay" on the mat and train as before. In no time at all your dog will be staying for a period of three full minutes. During this training, you must stay on watch and not go out of sight. Once the dog will stay for three full minutes with you near by, then you may begin walking out of the room, staying out of sight for a minute or so and then returning. As you are training, begin to add the words "go to bed" right after you have told him "stay". The dog who is placed on the mat seems to be able to maintain the stay for a much longer period of time and much earlier in the training than a dog that is not on a mat.

Once you have gotten the dog used to this activity it is an easy thing to turn this into a parlor trick. With a flourish, unroll the mat, tell the dog to "go to bed" and he will go to the mat, lie down on it and stay.

Michael Russell Your Independent guide to Dog Training

Michael Russell - EzineArticles Expert Author

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