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How to Teach Your Dog to "Park It"

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teach your dog to go lay on a spot to settle down

Put dog on a leash. Have your treats and something flat for the dog to walk/sit/down on. A old bath mat or towel is good. You will target this spot to teach the dog Park it, so they need to be able to walk over it easily. Your dog must know how to sit https://knoji.com/teach-a-dog-how-to-sit/ and down https://knoji.com/how-to-teach-your-dog-to-lie-down/ with a hand signal, it's important you don't say "down" for this command, the dog needs to hear a new word/cue for this.

We use “shaping” to teach them this, get one step, then get the next step and then the next, get more each time.

Step 1: Place mat in middle of the area your training in. Walk your dog to the mat and as soon as he touches it with a paw, mark (click or say Yes), treat, praise (good dog), then release and walk away from mat, come at it from a different direction and do the same thing. Have them touch this mat until they feel comfortable walking onto it, and they get all 4 paws on it.

Step 2: If they get all 4 paws on mat and feel comfortable about it, delay the Marker (don’t click or say Yes), see if they will sit on the mat, (don’t tell them to sit, let them think and figure it out on their own).

As soon as they sit, Mark it, treat it, praise, then release them. Come at the mat from different directions. Work on this for a while until every angle is finished with your dog sitting on the mat no matter where your coming from. This may only take maybe 10-15 walks around the mat.

Step 3: When they move to the mat and sit easily and quickly, delay the marker when they sit, count to 45 seconds and see if they will Down (on a hip) for you, if not, use your hand signal to motion them into a down, DO NOT SAY DOWN. As soon as they’re down (on a hip) on the mat, Mark it, treat it, praise, then release them and do it again. They need to be able to go to the mat and lay down (on a hip, with no cueing from you) with NO HESITATION, before you can add the “park it” Cue words. As soon as they are quickly going to the mat and laying down (on a hip), add the cue “park it”, then Mark it, treat it, praise and release it.

If they don't know a down hand signal you will need to wait for them to lay down on their own. 

Go to this mat from different directions and practice in different areas of your home. You will always be next to the mat at this early learning stage. You should be able to tell them Park it afterwards and they will go to the mat and lay down. Don’t forget to stand opposite the mat from your dog and say Park it also, not just when you’re standing next to him. You can use wait ( https://knoji.com/is-your-dog-rushing-out-the-door-andor-gate-teach-them-wait/ ) so you can leave him on one side of the mat and you go to the other side, say your release word and “Park it”, and you can use a hand signal, like pointing to the mat if you'd like..

You can use any cue word you want you don’t have to say “Park It” , you can use , “go to bed”, “place”, “chill”. You can transfer this to any object you want your dog to “park it” on, he will learn what the words mean, some you may have to lay the mat on the area you want and send them there, they will learn it is where you want the park it to be, then take the mat away but the spot or bed or whatever remains.

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