This is baby Trout’s first training session and first time seeing the mat.
Step 1: Hold your dog’s bed and wait for your dog to show interest in it. As soon as she does, set it on the ground. Click the second she glances towards it and toss the treat on the bed.
Step 2: Click and treat rapidly, tossing treats on the bed. After multiple clicks and treats, give the dog her release cue (I use the word “break” here) and pick the bed up.
Step 3: Wait quietly for the dog to show interest in her bed. As soon as she does, put the bed back down and begin clicking and treating rapidly for interactions again. Repeat this step several times.
Step 4: Once the dog is reliably going towards her bed, toss a treat off the bed to get her to move off of it rather than picking the bed up. Wait quietly for her to move back to her bed, then begin clicking and treating rapidly again.
Step 5: Vary your position in relation to the bed each time you toss a treat to move the dog off of her bed.
Step 6: Once the dog is reliably going to her bed, wait for her to offer a sit or down before you start clicking and treating.
That’s it for our first lesson! At this point, we want the dog to view her bed as a Magic Food Place where she can go to make good stuff happen. Later on, we’ll teach her to go to her bed on cue and to lie down and stay there until she’s released.
By introducing the bed in this manner, the dog becomes conditioned to view her bed as a wonderful place. This will make “go to your bed” a much stronger and more reliable behavior later on, because the very act of going to her bed will make her feel happy.