The Rise of Platform Coaching – Dogster

The Rise of Platform Coaching – Dogster

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

“The circus world realized that for those who put an animal up on a platform that they’ll keep on, they’ll be completely blissful to remain there,” says Michele Pouliot, a constructive reinforcement coach and worldwide clinician who champions using platforms via canine freestyle.

“I feel in about any form of canine coaching, you’ll be able to provide you with a logical cause to make use of some form of platform,” Michele says. And for a lot of canines, it has turn out to be an excellent place for occasions when the doorbell rings or throughout meals.

Michele witnessed the advantages of the field by chance 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 realized the combination of obedience, trick coaching and dance cues quickly via build up a reward historical past inside a clearly outlined house.

Why It Works

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

Heather encourages an automated 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 plenty of sitting. It’s only as a result of we ask them to take a seat.”

Plus, it’s nice for an older canine new to your property, 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 special 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 in your older pal. (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 vital. Select it rigorously so your pet is ready to concentrate on staying on the platform. Train the pet beforehand, so he’s extra more likely to keep put, and hold classes quick and candy.

Use For Dwelling

  • The platform is a good instrument to show family manners, comparable to:
  • Stopping door charging when the doorbell rings
  • Well mannered greetings for individuals getting into the home
  • Primary 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 quite than in off-limits areas, comparable to front room furnishings, and offers a go-to spot throughout mealtime.

Heather makes use of video games for instructing 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

After all, step one is to coach your canine on 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. Follow stepping onto the platform and off. Repeat as much as 5 occasions, on and off. Cease luring when there’s sufficient historical past constructed you could stand again as your canine presents 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 depend to a few along 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 occasions to construct a historical past of success. As soon as she has this, you’ll wish to add period in small increments as much as a depend of 10 to fifteen seconds.
  4. Ping-pong between shorter and longer time durations (3 seconds, then 10 seconds, then 5 seconds, and so forth.), steadily 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 lot of persistence.

For multi-dog households, it’s good to 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 be working. Reward him, too!

Let’s Play a Recreation

Subsequent, it’s time so as to add far as soon as your canine understands getting on and off the platform. Across the Clock is a good recreation for including distance, as your canine will seemingly have to 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 classes. This implies as you launch her and he or she goes out for the deal with, take a step away from the platform till steadily 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 depart 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 may also 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. Depart your pal 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 individuals getting into as soon as she has been profitable 9 out of 10 occasions. 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 briefly classes. (In case you’d just like the doorbell because the Place cue, steadily enhance the time between doorbell and the “Place” cue.)

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

Look For Pleasure

The platform presents a contented place the place you make it simple in your canine to succeed and be rewarded. Michele agrees. “It’s a straightforward technique 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 an ideal 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 beneath). The rule of thumb is: It must be large enough in your canine to show round and lie down in order for you her staying there. The straightforward means — measure the ground house whereas she is mendacity down. Top 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 individual platform? For this DIY mission, you have to:

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


  1. Measure the quantity of house wanted in your canine (measure the ground house whereas she is mendacity down.)
  2. Measure the house wanted on the froth board. Mark with a straight edge and marker.
  3. Minimize to measurement utilizing a utility knife (For a taller platform, reduce two boards and glue or duct tape collectively.)
  4. Minimize the yoga mat to measurement 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

“Getting older 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. Enable 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 selection, 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 troublesome. 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 peak might be elevated, however decrease the variety of seconds initially when peak will increase.
  • One other concept: 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 transferring on the tempo of your canine’s consolation.

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