How To Teach “Go To Mat”

How To Teach “Go To Mat”


Mat-work is one of my favorite behaviors to teach and is a behavior that has a ridiculous number of uses.

  • Do you have a dog who has rude door manners with visitors?  You can fix it with mat-work.
  • Do you have a dog who begs at the table?  You can fix it with mat-work.
  • Do you have a dog who counter surfs while you prepare dinner?  You can fix it with mat work.
  • Do you have a dog who gets a little to excited while visiting friends?  You can fix it with mat work.
  • Do you have a dog who generally struggles to settle down?  You can fix that with mat work.
  • Do you have a dog who is fearful in new situations?  You can help them with mat work.
  • You can teach a dog relaxation using mat work (a different type of work than in the video).
  • You can use a mat as a mark to teach moving downs, send outs, and the like.


I really love mat-work and it’s one of the things I work on at the beginning of my training.  I like to teach it early on because it tends to be an easy to “shape” behavior which is great for my foster dogs who are inexperienced with shaping.

This video is long but it’s mostly ‘real time’ so you can see the actual training time.  There are a few sessions missing so I could shorten the video a bit–the last one on the first day and 3 in the middle of day 2 but the rest are all in real time.

I tried to keep my sessions to under 90 seconds (though I wasn’t always successful).  Most of the sessions were back to back with a 1-2 minute play session in between.

I hope you enjoy!


What do YOU use mat work for?



  1. Loved this video. New puppy in the house and wanted to teach it. Thanks for laying it all out so simply for me!

    • You are absolutely welcome! Congrats on the new puppy!!

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