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The Rise of Platform Coaching – Dogster

The magic of animals on platforms dates again some 160 years to skilled horses on containers and later to circus lions on pedestals. There’s simply one thing about your personal perch. And canine trainers have taken discover.

“The circus world discovered that if you happen to put an animal up on a platform that they’ll keep on, they’ll be completely comfortable to remain there,” says Michele Pouliot, a constructive reinforcement coach and worldwide clinician who champions the usage of platforms via canine freestyle.

“I believe in about any form of canine coaching, you may give you a logical motive to make use of some form of platform,” Michele says. And for a lot of canines, it has turn into a great place for instances when the doorbell rings or throughout meals.

Michele witnessed the advantages of the field accidentally whereas coaching for aggressive obedience in a California coaching facility within the Nineteen Seventies. Years later, when she began freestyle, she introduced the field out of storage. Her canines discovered the combination of obedience, trick coaching and dance cues quickly via increase a reward historical past inside a clearly outlined area.

Why It Works

Each canine and human have readability of place by delineating their place on a raised floor. “It provides them a transparent outlined boundary … Having that and a specific default habits on that boundary is what you’re actually searching for,” says licensed skilled canine coach Heather Lawson.

Heather encourages an computerized down as a default as a result of it’s a relaxed place, and you actually do need your canine to remain there. “In actuality, they don’t do a variety of sitting. It is just as a result of we ask them to take a seat.”

Plus, it’s nice for an older canine new to your private home, as a result of the platform creates a way of construction and a spot for safety, Heather explains. Instructing your senior to go to a specific location comparable to a canine mattress or mat moved to a unique location turns into a straightforward transition on the vet and simply completed by inserting the mat on high of the platform whereas coaching. It’s a two-for-one! Platforms can present conditioning alternatives on your older buddy. (See skilled canine coach and motion specialist Lori Stevens’ specifically created protocol Two Paws Up for Seniors within the sidebar on web page 52).

After six to eight weeks, they’ll be stronger and finally extra assured to maneuver Lori says. Word: For all canines, and significantly older canine security, place a non-skid materials beneath to stop the platform sliding on slippery flooring like wooden and tile.

When utilizing a platform to coach puppies, coaching time is essential. Select it fastidiously so your pet is ready to concentrate on staying on the platform. Train the pet beforehand, so he’s extra prone to keep put, and preserve periods brief and candy.

Use For Residence

  • The platform is a superb instrument to show family manners, comparable to:
  • Stopping door charging when the doorbell rings
  • Well mannered greetings for folks getting into the home
  • Fundamental cues like sit, lie, keep
  • Stopping counter browsing throughout meal prep time

It additionally helps enhance impulse management, creates a selected place to go to relatively than in off-limits areas, comparable to front room furnishings, and supplies a go-to spot throughout mealtime.

Heather makes use of video games for educating stationary home manners. Make platform time thrilling and a “place the place all good issues occur,” she says. All you want is a raised floor, high-value treats and for Fido to like it!

Get Began

In fact, step one is to coach your canine on methods to use the platform.

  1. Lure her onto the platform and right into a Down place with a favourite deal with. Mark with a “Sure!” or “Good!” Deal with and reward. (Puppies can begin on a fuzzy bathmat. There should be a tactile distinction between the mat and the ground floor, although.)
  2. Apply stepping onto the platform and off. Repeat as much as 5 instances, on and off. Cease luring when there’s sufficient historical past constructed that you could stand again as your canine gives the habits.
  3. Add the cue “Place.”
©Photos courtesy Blue-9 Pet Merchandise

Keep On Place

The second step is to show her to remain on the platform (Keep On Place).

  1. Inform your canine “Place.” As soon as she is on the platform, pause for a rely to a few together with your pup in place, then mark with “Sure!/Good!” and reward.
  2. When the time is completed, cue her to get off the platform with the discharge cue “OK!” Then throw a deal with away from the platform as a launch to get off the station.
  3. Repeat this course of 5 instances to construct a historical past of success. As soon as she has this, you’ll need to add period in small increments as much as a rely of 10 to fifteen seconds.
  4. Ping-pong between shorter and longer time durations (3 seconds, then 10 seconds, then 5 seconds, and many others.), step by step exceeding 15 seconds. If she breaks (will get off the platform), no worries. Decrease your standards and return to the purpose of success. The method is similar with adults or puppies. Go slowly and have a number of persistence.

For multi-dog households, you could prepare one canine at a time, then have one canine follow a Keep on the platform whereas working with the opposite. Bear in mind the canine on Keep can also be working. Reward him, too!

Let’s Play a Sport

Subsequent, it’s time so as to add a ways as soon as your canine understands getting on and off the platform. Across the Clock is a superb recreation for including distance, as your canine will doubtless must go to her station from afar.

  1. Begin with having your canine keep on the platform on the place of 12 o’clock, then toss the deal with, and say, “OK” to launch.
  2. As she returns, cue “Place.” When she’s down on the platform, mark with “Sure!/Good!” and reward.
  3. Toss the deal with round utilizing Across the Clock positions, serving to your canine perceive returning to the platform and into Down. Give a great deal of reward and treats.
  4. Add the “Keep” cue (for her to remain on the platform) placing distance between you and your canine/the platform after a number of periods. This implies as you launch her and he or she goes out for the deal with, take a step away from the platform till step by step you’re throughout the room. Bear in mind to reward!
©Photos courtesy Blue-9 Pet Merchandise

Including Distractions

As soon as your canine has period and distance down, it’s time so as to add distractions with the Thoughts Your Enterprise recreation.

  1. Ask for “Place,” then mark and reward with high-value treats.
  2. Present a low-value toy to your canine. If she doesn’t go away the platform, reward generously for the Keep.
  3. Reset with an “OK” to launch her off the platform. Then cue her again on. Wiggle the toy, and toss it within the air whereas encouraging a Keep. Reward and reward for staying put with a high-value deal with.
  4. Subsequent, strive inserting the toy on the ground. Ask for Keep. Reward when she does.

Transfer on to strive distracting her with totally different toys. Low-value treats can be used as a meals distraction. Simply place them on the ground and ask for “Keep.” Deal with if she stays. (Rule of thumb: Reward treats should be of upper worth than the distraction.) Cease after 5 to 10 reps or earlier than your canine tires. Go away your buddy profitable and wanting extra.

Subsequent are the true checks: Guests and the doorbell. Make them a recreation. Begin with a member of the family getting into the room, giving your canine a Keep on place on the platform. Enhance the extent of distraction with different folks getting into as soon as she has been profitable 9 out of 10 instances. With the doorbell:

  1. Use a doorbell ringer app or your doorbell. Stand near the platform. Ring the doorbell. Cue her to Place.
  2. As soon as on the platform, encourage a Keep. Reward and follow.
  3. Progress slowly and in brief periods. (For those who’d just like the doorbell because the Place cue, step by step improve the time between doorbell and the “Place” cue.)

After the sport is known, add going to the door whereas your canine is on place. Preserve the treats coming!

Look For Pleasure

The platform gives a cheerful place the place you make it simple on your canine to succeed and be rewarded. Michele agrees. “It’s a straightforward approach to get habits whether or not you need them to remain there or for an elephant to place a foot up on a pedestal. It’s a pure factor for them to do.

Platforms give safety and construction to your canine and make a terrific go-to spot throughout mealtimes, when the doorbell rings or to trick prepare.

Getting a Platform

Platforms (additionally referred to as place boards) are used for coaching in a number of canine sports activities. Buy on-line (see proper for distributors) or DIY (directions under). The rule of thumb is: It needs to be large enough on your canine to show round and lie down if you’d like her staying there. The simple means — measure the ground area whereas she is mendacity down. Peak might be round 12 inches or as little as a mat for seniors.

Platform Distributors:

Cato Boards;

KLIMB Platforms;

K9 Play Merchandise;

Kuranda Beds;

Really feel as much as making your personal platform? For this DIY venture, you will have:

  • Foam insulation board (out there at {hardware} shops)
  • Yoga mat
  • Contrasting colour duct tape
  • Field cutter/utility knife
  • Unhazardous glue (elective)
  • Straight edge
  • Measuring tape
  • Everlasting marker


  1. Measure the quantity of area wanted on your canine (measure the ground area whereas she is mendacity down.)
  2. Measure the area wanted on the froth board. Mark with a straight edge and marker.
  3. Reduce to dimension utilizing a utility knife (For a taller platform, reduce two boards and glue or duct tape collectively.)
  4. Reduce the yoga mat to dimension to suit the highest. Glue in place if desired or tape it down with duct tape.
  5. End board edges utilizing duct tape across the perimeter.
©Ian Georgeson | Alamy Inventory Photograph

Two Paws Up For Seniors

“Growing old canines get weak within the hind finish first,” says Lori Stevens, skilled canine coach and motion specialist. For a therapeutic twist utilizing platforms for strengthening the hind finish, give Lori’s Two Paws Up a strive. Permit six to eight weeks to see a stronger canine with extra confidence to maneuver.

Get your vet’s approval beforehand for low-maintenance workouts, and ensure anti-slip materials covers the platform.

Lori’s Two Paws Up

  • Begin with a lower-level platform that meets the wants of your canine. Lure one paw up. Mark with “Sure!/Good!” Encourage two paws up. Mark and reward whereas solely entrance paws are on the platform.
  • When completed, toss a deal with away from the platform and launch with “OK!”
  • As soon as your canine understands, add a cue of your alternative, like “Paws up!” Slowly construct endurance with entrance paws on the platform as much as 10 seconds.
  • Correct alignment with the hind legs is necessary. If the hind legs are wider than the entrance paws, it’s too tough. Decrease the variety of seconds, or the peak of the platform or the variety of repetitions.
  • Enhance period, slowly strengthening the hindquarters. Add one other 5 seconds each seven to 10 days working towards 30 seconds. As soon as profitable, platform top might be elevated, however decrease the variety of seconds initially when top will increase.
  • One other thought: Lure your canine to stroll over the platform pausing and treating when entrance paws attain the ground and with hind legs on the platform.

Look ahead to any signal of ache or fatigue. Give loads of breaks shifting on the tempo of your canine’s consolation.

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