Settling on a station, bed, or mat is one of the most important skills we can teach any dog.
Why is it so important? Settling is the perfect alternate behavior to replace almost any annoying behavior your dog has thought of.
It’s also a great skill to include in your training repertoire to balance out all the exciting, high arousal behaviors you might also be working on. And having a well-trained parking spot behavior makes the logistics of any training session a lot easier to manage.
Tips for Training
- Start with an elevated surface, like a cot or platform. Then work on a flatbed or mat.
- Use a very high rate of reinforcement to start. Reinforcing every couple of seconds isn’t too high!
- Make sure to deliver the reinforcement in the same spot each time. The less your dog has to move to get the treat, the better.
- Reinforce deliberate disconnection – this was a game changer for me! Drop that reinforcement between the dog’s paws anytime he looks down away from you, rather than reinforcing the dog for staring at you. It makes a big difference! (Thanks to Laurie Luck for turning me on to this tip!)
Finally, once you’ve got the behavior jump-started, shift to training it in whatever situations you hope to use it (during dinner, while watching tv, etc).
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