Teaching your Miniature Schnauzer to stay using a mat is much easier than teaching your dog to stay using traditional methods. The mat gives your dog a target for his body, which dogs understand more readily than if you just tell them to lie down and stay on the floor. You can also carry the mat with you anywhere, to the vet’s office, to a friend’s house, or to the park. Having the mat helps your dog understand that you’re playing the same game in a different location. This will translate to better success in different environments. So let’s dive in!
How to train it:
Step 1. With a treat in your hand, tell your dog, “Go to your mat” in a cheerful tone of voice and point to his mat.
Step 2. Pause a second or two (one-one thousand, two-one thousand), then lure your dog onto his mat by putting the treat up to his nose and slowly moving it over the mat. If you move your hand too quickly or too far away from his mouth he may give up and lose interest.
Step 3. As soon as your dog has four paws on the mat, treat.
Step 4. Tell your dog, “Down.” Give the hand signal or lure it if your dog needs help. When he lies down, treat him. Continue to treat to keep your dog on the mat. After a few seconds, tell your dog, “Okay,” and allow him to get up.
Repeat steps 1-4, gradually increasing the amount of time you ask him to stay on the mat.
What this is great for.
Working at your desk.
Cooking in the kitchen.
When guests are visiting.
Anytime you need to get your dog out from underfoot
When to practice.
Practice when you can pay attention. For example, when you are answering easy emails, not when concentrating on a report due tomorrow. Or when preparing a sandwich, not trying a gourmet recipe for the first time. And TV commercials are a better practice time than engrossing movies. Use mental stimulation toys to help keep your dog occupied and on his mat when your attention is needed elsewhere.
As you increase the time your dog spends on his mat, throw in some shorter intervals to keep him motivated.
As your dog gets better and better, space out the treats he gets for staying on his mat. Eventually he will stay for no treats at all, but to keep the behavior strong, thank him occasionally for a job well done.
If your dog gets up before you release him, tell him, “Uh-oh” and immediately direct him back onto his mat and into a down. Don’t treat him, but make the duration of this down short, so you can release him and repeat the exercise right away and reward for a successful result.