How to Train a Puppy to Sit on a Mat

Easy
3-4 Days
General

Introduction

Bringing home a puppy is an exciting moment for anyone who loves dogs. Seeing your new puppy run around and excitedly explore her new home is always fun and it can be a great bonding experience to spend the first day teaching her where everything is and where she’ll be sleeping. Of course, once your puppy is settled into your home, then it’s time to get started on training. Teaching her the basics of good manners and etiquette in your home is important and should be one of the first steps to being a good owner.

One of the most useful things to teach your puppy is how to sit in a designated spot. This is usually her bed, but it can also be an object like a mat, which is handy for portability. Teaching her to sit on a mat means that you can take the mat anywhere such as the car, a friend’s home, or to the vet or groomer. This mat can be a spot where she can sit and relax until told otherwise and helps you to keep control of her need for exploration and can keep her from getting into trouble.

Defining Tasks

Most puppies will pick up the ‘sit’ command fairly easily, but can get a little thrown off with the presence of the mat. However, making the mat an interesting and desirable place is usually the first step to creating a space your puppy can connect with the desire to sit and remain until you are ready to continue or until you ask her to do something else.

Your puppy can begin learning this at any age and should learn as early as possible to get used to the command early on. Most puppies will learn how to sit on a mat very quickly and it should not take more than three or four days to learn it. This will also make later obedience commands much easier for her to learn.

Getting Started

To get started, find a large enough mat to accommodate your puppy’s size. She should be able to sit and lay down on it comfortably without her limbs coming off of it too far. Smaller puppies will need smaller mats while larger breeds will need something much larger. Be sure that it can be rolled or folded up for easy storage if you ever need to take it somewhere.

Find lots of tasty treats or fun toys to use for reinforcement. The better these items are, the more likely your puppy will want to remain on the mat when you want her to.

The Lure Method

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Step
1
Hold a treat to your puppy’s nose
Using the treat as a lure, hold it in front of your dog’s nose in order to guide her towards the mat.
Step
2
Reward for two paws
Some puppies may hesitate when they feel the mat under their paws. Offer a reward once yours gets her two front paws on the mat.
Step
3
Work up to four paws
Start withholding the reward until your puppy places all four paws on the mat. You may need to move the lure a little further back to coax her to step onto it. Reward for having all four paws on the mat.
Step
4
Lure into a ‘sit’
Hold the treat above your puppy’s head to coax her into a ‘sit’. Use the verbal command to reinforce the behavior and reward as soon as she sits.
Step
5
Reward generously for mat time
When your puppy remains sitting on the mat, continue to offer plenty of treats and fun toys. This will help reinforce the idea that sitting on the mat means she will get good things. Feel free to allow her to lay down on the mat as well.
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The Bait Method

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Step
1
Place treats on the mat
Use treats or a favorite toy as bait by placing it in the middle of the mat.
Step
2
Call your puppy over
Encourage your puppy to investigate the mat by calling her to it. Get her attention with a treat if you have to.
Step
3
Ask for a ‘sit’
Gently push your puppy’s rear into a sitting position while she investigates the toys or treats on the mat.
Step
4
Reward for sitting
Generously reward your puppy for staying on the mat. Continue to toss more treats on the mat as necessary to help reinforce good things.
Step
5
Try in different locations
Move the mat to a few different rooms and try the same thing to reinforce that the mat is good no matter where it is.
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The Sit and Wait Method

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Step
1
Observe your puppy’s behavior
Puppies are naturally curious and as soon as you set the mat down, she may investigate what it is. Wait until she does this.
Step
2
Reward for curiosity
Offer a treat to your puppy any time she stops to sniff the mat.
Step
3
Ask your puppy to sit
Use the command ‘sit’ and coax your puppy into sitting. Reward as soon as she does.
Step
4
Repeat
Continue to ask your puppy to sit and reward each time.
Step
5
Offer toys
If you want your puppy to remain on the mat, offer her a chew toy to keep her in place. Reward her with extra treats for playing with the toy on the mat.
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Success Stories and Training Questions

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