The best-behaved dogs are those that have been trained by their owners, as a dog never simply behaves well without some form of structure.
If your dog has been showing some disruptive behavior recently, the key to solving it is a bit of patience and a dedicated training plan, and it’s never too late to start.
Training doesn’t have to be a bore though, and you and your dog will benefit more from it if you find fun ways to get the message across. Using a snuffle mat is just one of the ways you can inject some fun into training, whether it’s teaching them basic commands, offering a reward, or helping them develop self-control.
How do you use a snuffle mat for dog training?
A dog obedience training snuffle mat is a great way to teach basic commands and discipline to your pet. You can hide treats in the mat and teach them commands like sitting, waiting, stopping and searching, and it makes the process more enjoyable and fun for both of you.
If you’ve attempted to train your dog before and failed because it seemed like you were getting nowhere, using something like a snuffle mat could be the answer you’ve been waiting for. This guide can show you exactly how to use the mat to your advantage, what dog training is all about, and ways you can turn it from a frustrating and tedious task to something that gets results.
How Dog Training Works
Dog training is an essential part of responsible pet ownership and something that must be done for a happy pet and a happy owner.
Although our dogs are treated like family members, for the most part, the truth is we are an entirely different species altogether, and dogs behave in ways that sometimes aren’t acceptable to us.
The process of dog training is teaching your dog some basic rules, including how to use the bathroom outside, where and when to eat their food, and how to follow commands like ‘sit’ or ‘stay’. How you train your dog can differ quite a bit though, as there are many methods made popular, and it all depends on what you and your dog respond to the best.
Positive reinforcement is a great way to teach your dog and ensures that they’re never made to feel bad for getting something wrong. Rather, we reward their good behavior and distract them from the bad stuff, which is made easier with accessories and training toys like snuffle mats.
It’s never acceptable to use tactics like yelling, intimidation, or physical punishments on a dog, and a good training routine should never include any of them. By using tools like snuffle mats and other dog-friendly products, it makes training fun, while still getting the point across, and ensures everyone stays calm during the process.
Using Your Snuffle Mat for Obedience Training
Obedience training is all about helping your dog to understand that you’re in charge, and when you deliver a command or want them to do something, they are more than happy to deliver.
Teaching commands and self-control are two popular ways you can use your mat to show them how to behave, so check out how it’s done.
There are some basic commands all dogs should know, and others that are more detailed and might only apply to some pooches. If you’re interested in starting with the basics and have a snuffle mat on hand, it’ll make them a whole lot easier to learn.
Here are some of the favorites and how to use the mat for teaching them to your pet:
- Leave It
This command is to get your dog to stop eating something or to leave something alone, and it can be helpful if they’re about to do something dangerous or destructive.
You can teach it by placing treats on the mat and having them start sniffing for it. Once they discover there are treats inside, ask them to leave it, and repeat this until they’ve lost interest. Once they do and move away from the mat, offer them a different treat from your hand instead to reinforce the behavior.
- Come or Here
This is the easiest way to call your dog and can help keep them out of trouble. To practice the come command, place some treats secretly in their snuffle mat and call them to you from wherever they are. If they come, direct them to their reward in the mat.
This helps to calm dogs down and keep them close to you when you’re out in public. Once they’ve mastered the sit command, you can ask them to sit there while you set up the mat with treats right next to them.
They will understand what it means and might try to come to you. Tell them to stay, and move away a little further again when they do. After a few attempts of moving and having them be still, let them go to the mat for their reward.
Teaching a dog self-control is important because it can stop behaviors like them eating too fast, rushing to get in the car before the door is open, and trying anxiously to get outside to play. Using a snuffle mat can help curb this impulsive behavior, especially if it has to do with their food.
Place some treats on the mat and ask your dog to sit nearby, without sniffing or moving near the mat, and then tell them to go ahead. Each time you do it, practice waiting a little longer and use your ‘stay’ command. Once they’ve established the link, you can try this in other areas where they’re lacking in impulse control.
How to Use a Snuffle Mat for Rewards
Dogs love any chance to be told they’re doing a good job, and as their owners, we need to make sure we’re doing so as often as we can.
One of the most integral parts of training your dog is to reward them, and we want to do this whenever they’ve done something we asked of them.
Rather than simply handing your dog a treat when they’ve done something good, you can put the treat inside their mat and let them search for it. Not only do they get the sweet reward of the food, but it’s a great sensory experience, provides mental stimulation, and gives them a boost of confidence when they’re able to catch the treat they’ve been hunting for.
Another way you can use a snuffle mat for dog training is to reward them as a diversion tactic. For example, if your dog has a problem digging holes in the backyard and you want them to stop, tell them to leave the yard alone and direct their attention to the snuffle mat instead.
If they dig and sniff around there, let them have the treat to show them this is the preferred behavior, and after some time, they’ll get the picture.
Training a dog can be a tedious task, but it’s one that will come with rewards for the rest of your dog’s life.
Spending just a few months with them teaching basic commands means you’ll never have to worry about an unruly pup again and can truly enjoy your time together. Check out these FAQs about dog training that can help answer some more of your questions about the methods used.
What is Clicker Training?
Clicker training is a type of training used for dogs and other animals that replaces the use of food and treats as a reward system and instead uses a clicker sound.
The sound is delivered when the dog does the right thing and is an alternate method of training that can be used rather than other primary reinforcers.
How Much Does Dog Training Cost?
If you’d rather not train your dog at home yourself, some professional trainers and facilities offer the service. An average dog obedience training class can cost between $30 to $80 which is an hour-long class taken with other animals.
More intense services like boot camp kennels can cost over $1000 per week for your dog to attend.
What Age is Best to Start Dog Training?
Many people assume that when they get their puppies home, formal dog training should begin. However, puppies have short attention spans before six months old and so formal dog training can be hard to achieve.
Young puppies can still learn basic commands like “sit” and “stay from eight weeks old, but it’s better to teach in short spells.