Place the mat right beside the front door. Follow these steps and pay no attention to any barking or unwanted behaviours – they will dissipate with practice.
- Knock on the door (you will be indoors with your dog and yes, your dog will see you knock).
- Immediately happy-talk, grab 3-4 small pieces of high value, place the food on the mat.
- Your dog may or may not react to the knocking but hopefully will see and eat the treats.
Do not react to any barking – simply follow the steps. Do not ask for any behaviour, like “sit” – just place the food on the mat after you have knocked. There are no contingencies here – we want to pair knocking with food on the mat. Everything else is “static”. It’s common for us humans to knock and hesitate so that we can see what the dog does and if they “deserve” the food reward. Spoiler alert: your dog will likely bark. No need to knock and hesitate to see what happens. Just knock and follow it with food on the mat. 🙂
Once you have done this 5x in a row, move the mat one mat-length away from the door in the direction of the area where you want it to be in the end. Moving it any further than this will set your dog up for failure, so keep them successful by keeping steps easy!