Does your dog like to linger around the kitchen when you’re preparing food, in the hope some might make it’s way to them? Well here is a great training exercise that is quick and easy to teach to help with opportunistic pooches:
- Have a mat/bed/blanket next to the food preparation area. Make the mat a hotspot for your dog, by placing kibble/treats on there.
- Pretend to prepare food (I use a chopping board with some carrot already chopped and a spoon to make some chopping noises) and frequently place kibble on their mat to reward them for remaining there.
- Start to slowly decrease the frequency of the treats and increase the time you are preparing food. At any point if they start moving off the mat, encourage them back and increase the frequency you deliver treats again.
- Without saying any words, very quickly, your dog will learn to go to the mat when you start preparing food, as this results in rewards. They do not have to lie down to begin with, however if they do lie down, give them some extra fuss and treats for this, so it will be more likely to occur in future.
- When your dog is reliably staying on the mat next to you, whilst you are preparing food, start to move the mat further away. Continue to return to them intermittently with treats to reward them for staying there.
Our goal is your dog will automatically go to their mat when they see you start to prepare food. This exercise has multiple applications and is great to use at the kitchen dining as well.