Cool Tricks to Teach Your Dog
Teaching Your Dog to Go to His Bed or Station
Teaching your dog to go to a specific place on cue and stay can help in a variety of ways. You can teach your dog to go to his spot when the doorbell rings, when you’re eating dinner, or even when you want to clean up a spill. It’s a great behavior to use when teaching a variety of dog tricks and freestyle dog dancing.
The wrong way to use station training. Over the years I have seen some dog trainers, particularly those using shock collar training, use station training in an inappropriate way. This note is not to address shock collar training, which I am firmly against, but when not to use a station or stay behavior with a dog.
As a dog parent or dog trainer, it is important to understand our dog’s emotions clearly. If a dog is uncomfortable, we need to help that dog feel more comfortable and secure. The STAY behavior should be used very cautiously and with our dog’s best interests and feelings in mind the entire time of the stay. If you ask your dog to go to his station and stay during a time he’s stressed or uncomfortable, this not only will teach your dog the station or stay cue is stressful, but that situation he’s in may also be stressful.
I never feel that a dog should be put on a stay and allowed to be petted or handled by strangers without the dog owner’s active interaction with the dog and stranger. I personally always feel that my dog deserves the ability to move away during petting; he should not be forced to be greeted. A lot of dogs will STAY because they were taught to and will tolerate the interaction or situation, but are not comfortable. To me, this is not being a dog’s advocate. But I digress.
Steps in teaching your dog to go to a station, bed, mat, or spot.
- Choose a quiet environment.
- Place a special rug, towel, or pet blanket on the floor. This station should be portable so that you can take it on the go, such as when you vacation with your dog.
- Lure your dog with a healthy dog treat to step on the station with all four feet. Say YES! as soon as he steps on it and give him a tasty dog treat. Repeat this 5 times.
- Next, lure your dog on the station, this time ask him to DOWN on the station. As soon as he does, YES! and treat. Repeat again 5 times.
Your dog’s progression will depend on how quickly he responds to your gestures and requests. Once your dog is really understanding and is even starting to anticipate going to his station and lying down, it’s time to provide your dog with his training cue. In other words, what you want to call this behavior. Go to your bed, go to your mat, etc.
- Tell your dog “go to your mat” and gesture to his mat. Once he lies down on his mat, say YES and follow up with a reward or even a jackpot! Repeat 5 times.
- As your dog gets better and better, increase the distance away from the mat. Instead of standing 5” away from the mat, stand 1′ away. Ask your dog to go to his mat, provide a little gesture and say YES and reward when he does.
Continue working on adding distance away from your dog’s mat and lessening the gesture until eventually your dog responds to his verbal cue from across the room without any gestures. Through your dog training lessons and proofing, you will eventually teach your dog to be able to go to his mat and stay even around distractions.
Can you think of a time in your life where this training behavior can come in handy? Tell me in the comments.
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