The Rise of Platform Training

The Rise of Platform Training

The magic of animals on platforms dates again some 160 years to educated horses on bins 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 realized that in the event you put an animal up on a platform that they will keep on, they’ll be completely completely happy to remain there,” says Michele Pouliot, a optimistic reinforcement coach and worldwide clinician who champions the usage of platforms by canine freestyle.

“I believe in about any type of canine coaching, you’ll be able to give you a logical purpose to make use of some type of platform,” Michele says. And for a lot of canines, it has turn into a perfect 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 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 by increase a reward historical past inside a clearly outlined house.

Why It Works

Both 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 searching for,” 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 numerous sitting. It is simply as a result of we ask them to take a seat.”

Plus, it’s nice for an older canine new to your house, as a result of the platform creates a way of construction and a spot for safety, Heather explains. Teaching your senior to go to a specific location similar to a canine mattress or mat moved to a distinct location turns into a simple transition on the vet and simply achieved 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 good friend. (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 in the end extra assured to maneuver Lori says. Note: For all canines, and notably older canine security, place a non-skid materials beneath to forestall the platform sliding on slippery flooring like wooden and tile.

When utilizing a platform to coach puppies, coaching time is essential. Choose it fastidiously so your pet is ready to give attention to staying on the platform. Exercise the pet beforehand, so he’s extra prone to keep put, and hold classes quick and candy.

Use For Home

  • The platform is a superb device to show family manners, similar to:
  • Stopping door charging when the doorbell rings
  • Polite greetings for individuals getting into the home
  • Basic cues like sit, lie, keep
  • Preventing counter browsing throughout meal prep time

It additionally helps enhance impulse management, creates a particular place to go to reasonably than in off-limits areas, similar to front room furnishings, and supplies 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 adore it!

Get Started

Of course, step one is to coach your canine on learn how to use the platform.

  1. Lure her onto the platform and right into a Down place with a favourite deal with. Mark with a “Yes!” or “Good!” Treat and reward. (Puppies can begin on a fuzzy bathmat. There have to be a tactile distinction between the mat and the ground floor, although.)
  2. Practice stepping onto the platform and off. Repeat as much as 5 occasions, on and off. Stop luring when there’s sufficient historical past constructed you can stand again as your canine provides the habits.
  3. Add the cue “Place.”
©Images courtesy Blue-9 Pet Products

Stay On Place

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

  1. Tell your canine “Place.” Once she is on the platform, pause for a depend to 3 together with your pup in place, then mark with “Yes!/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. Once 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 on.), step by step exceeding 15 seconds. If she breaks (will get off the platform), no worries. Lower your standards and return to the purpose of success. The course of is identical with adults or puppies. Go slowly and have plenty of persistence.

For multi-dog households, you could practice one canine at a time, then have one canine apply a Stay on the platform whereas working with the opposite. Remember the canine on Stay can be working. Reward him, too!

Let’s Play a Game

Next, it’s time so as to add a long way as soon as your canine understands getting on and off the platform. Around the Clock is a superb recreation for including distance, as your canine will seemingly have to go to her station from afar.

  1. Start 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 “Yes!/Good!” and reward.
  3. Toss the deal with round utilizing Around 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 “Stay” cue (for her to remain on the platform) placing distance between you and your canine/the platform after a number of classes. This means 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. Remember to reward!
©Images courtesy Blue-9 Pet Products

Adding Distractions

Once your canine has period and distance down, it’s time so as to add distractions with the Mind Your Business recreation.

  1. Ask for “Place,” then mark and reward with high-value treats.
  2. Show a low-value toy to your canine. If she doesn’t depart the platform, reward generously for the Stay.
  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 Stay. Praise and reward for staying put with a high-value deal with.
  4. Next, strive inserting the toy on the ground. Ask for Stay. Reward when she does.

Move on to strive distracting her with totally different toys. Low-value treats can be used as a meals distraction. Just place them on the ground and ask for “Stay.” Treat if she stays. (Rule of thumb: Reward treats have to be of upper worth than the distraction.) Stop after 5 to 10 reps or earlier than your canine tires. Leave your good friend profitable and wanting extra.

Next are the actual exams: Visitors and the doorbell. Make them a recreation. Start with a member of the family getting into the room, giving your canine a Stay on place on the platform. Increase 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. Once on the platform, encourage a Stay. Reward and apply.
  3. Progress slowly and briefly classes. (If you’d just like the doorbell because the Place cue, step by step 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. Keep the treats coming!

Look For Joy

The platform provides a contented place the place you make it simple on your canine to succeed and be rewarded. Michele agrees. “It’s a simple option 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 important go-to spot throughout mealtimes, when the doorbell rings or to trick practice.

Getting a Platform

Platforms (additionally known as place boards) are used for coaching in a number of canine sports activities. Purchase on-line (see proper for distributors) or DIY (directions beneath). The rule of thumb is: It must be large enough on your canine to show round and lie down in order for you her staying there. The simple method — measure the ground house whereas she is mendacity down. Height might be round 12 inches or as little as a mat for seniors.

Platform Vendors:

Cato Boards;

KLIMB Platforms;

K9 Play Products;

Kuranda Beds;

Feel as much as making your personal platform? For this DIY venture, you have to:

  • Foam insulation board (obtainable at {hardware} shops)
  • Yoga mat
  • Contrasting coloration duct tape
  • Box cutter/utility knife
  • Nontoxic glue (non-compulsory)
  • Straight edge
  • Measuring tape
  • Permanent marker


  1. Measure the quantity of house wanted on 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. Cut to dimension utilizing a utility knife (For a taller platform, reduce two boards and glue or duct tape collectively.)
  4. Cut the yoga mat to dimension to suit the highest. Glue in place if desired or tape it down with duct tape.
  5. Finish board edges utilizing duct tape across the perimeter.
©Ian Georgeson | Alamy Stock Photo

Two Paws Up For Seniors

“Aging 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. Allow 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

  • Start with a lower-level platform that meets the wants of your canine. Lure one paw up. Mark with “Yes!/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!”
  • Once 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.
  • Proper alignment with the hind legs is vital. If the hind legs are wider than the entrance paws, it’s too tough. Lower the variety of seconds, or the peak of the platform or the variety of repetitions.
  • Increase period, slowly strengthening the hindquarters. Add one other 5 seconds each seven to 10 days working towards 30 seconds. Once profitable, platform peak might be elevated, however decrease the variety of seconds initially when peak will increase.
  • Another 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.

Watch for any signal of ache or fatigue. Give loads of breaks shifting on the tempo of your canine’s consolation.