On your mat from a distance

“On your mat” promotes calmness, boundaries, and personal space to your puppy.

And what should you not forget to do from now on? To give your chosen release word when you are asking your puppy to leave the mat! You do not want your puppy to start guessing when it is allowed off it!

Your puppy must understand what “On your mat” really means and does not only try to sit in front of you as this is often the case.

Usually, people tend to stay next to the mat, so the puppy comes to sit in front of their owner whilst on the mat but really what the puppy understands to sit in front of the person.

The next step that will really test the understanding of your puppy is to start to send your puppy to the mat whilst you are further away from the mat.

Increase the distance very slowly. Change your position in relation to your puppy and to the mat and always reward on the mat, but in different places.

And for a small challenge, can you walk all around the mat with your puppy staying on the mat?

On your mat

Instead of making the bed or mat a punishment for your puppy, it is valuable to teach your puppy to love going on its mat or bed. This effort will have a lot of benefits in the future.

The obvious ones are sending your puppy to its mat when someone is ringing your doorbell, when you are eating instead of letting it beg, or sending your puppy to lie calmly on its bed whilst you are watching TV.

You can also use this behaviour to later teach your puppy to wait/stay and respond to commands from a distance.

I like to use the raised bed for this exercise as it gives a better understanding of the boundary to the puppy.

The puppy should regard being on the mat as a place of value, so to reinforce this the rewards should not be given from your hand, the rewards should be positioned on the mat.

Do not forget that we are starting with baby steps.

To start with, click as soon as your puppy has at least one paw on the mat and throw the reward on the mat.

For puppies that struggle with the exercise you can even click just for watching the mat and put the reward on the mat, then click when the puppy has one paw on the mat and increase slowly the difficulty until the puppy understands that it needs to have 4 paws on the mat.

When your puppy starts liking the mat, add the words “On your mat” when the puppy is on the mat or is on its way to the mat, so it associates the action to the words. When you think your puppy has understood, you can then use the words as a command.


  • You need to change your position as you want the puppy to understand that it to be on the mat is what is important, not its position relative to you.
  • You should be able to send the puppy to the mat by increasing the distance between the puppy and yourself.
  • With time, you should be able to walk all around the mat and your puppy should stay on it.
  • Give a release command when you want the pup to leave the mat.

For more advanced work, after your puppy has reached the mat you can give the sit command.