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"rug"

The objective is to teach the dog to go to a designated location (a rug), on command and to remain there until released. A rug is used because it is easily transportable from location to location and because a dog can learn to generalize to any change in surface, such as a towel, coat, or piece of paper (in case the rug was forgotten at home).

Step 1:

With the dog on a leash, place a treat on the rug and step a couple of yards away. Point at the rug, say "rug," and run with your dog to the rug. He should already know there is a treat there from watching you put it in place and should go eagerly to the rug. If not, improve your acting skills to get him to notice the incredibly wonderful, delicious, irresistible treat you are putting there.

Once you reach the rug and after he has eaten the tasty treat, command "down," and give a second treat for the down.

Practice this a few times.

Step 2:

Don't put the treat on the rug ahead of time. Instead, say, "rug," run to the rug, then say, "down." Reward the dog for the down, but not for going to the rug. Notice he will have to go to the rug anyway, in order to get the treat for the down.

Practice this a few times.

Step 3:

Point to the rug, say, "rug," run to the rug, and look expectantly. Wait for the down, then reinforce it. If he doesn't guess to down on his own, go back to step 2 and repeat a few more times.

Practice a few times.

Step 4:

Point to the rug, say, "rug," run to the rug, wait for the down, then wait a few more seconds before giving the treat for the down.

Practice a few times. Don't get in a hurry! If you skip ahead too fast your dog will lose interest in the game.

Step 5:

Unclip your dog's leash, after first making sure you are in a secure safe location for off-leash activities. Point and say, "rug," and start to run with him, but hang back a little so he gets there first. Wait a few seconds and reinforce.

From this point on, it's a matter of working on increasing the amount of time he will lie there before getting reinforced. When you get him up to five minutes, it's time to return to a much shorter time period and start working on building up distance from where you start to where the rug is.