|Beds around our house need to be big enough for two sprawled dogs.|
The "Mat" cue would be for a new mat, a large bath mat actually, that is most portable than his bed, so in the future I could take it places like the vets and have him lie calmly on it. However, with this mat, he will need to be released from it, so I need to get him to love this mat and want to lay on it for long periods of time calmly in distracting environments. I'm going about teaching it to him in the way that is laid out in control unleashed, so he now knows that lying on the mat gets a better reward than standing on it or sitting on it. I have yet to add the cue word to it yet, I want him to really associate it with being a calm happy place before I do.
I started working with the mat in a training session, but since my post the other day I decided to scrap that idea and incorporate it into more daily activities. So for example yesterday I was working on painting a display sign for a local restaurant called Chez Tess, and decided to put his mat next to my chair and just toss treats down at various times rewarding him for just lying there.
Here is a video of me teaching Kobi to use his mat. I took this video before I changed my morning routine with feeding him a little before going for a walk then training so as can be seen there is a lot of frustrated barking from him to try to get some food. What I was trying to do was treat rapidly for a few seconds then wait silently for the same amount of time before giving another treat. Didn't work, what I should have been doing was using a random rate of reinforcement so that he never knew when he would get a treat.