Stationing, in a nutshell, involves sending an animal to a designated location where they'll stay until released. When properly used, it serves as one of the most versatile tools in a trainer's toolbox. In the dog training world, people commonly refer to stationing as "place training" or "mat work." While currently commonplace in many trainers' training, behavior, and environmental management arsenals, it has only really become popular in the last few years. Outside of dog training, though, behavioral and training specialists have used stationing in various forms for centuries. Falconers teach their birds to stand and stay on a perch during demos and public appearances. Exotic animal trainers and zookeepers use stationing to keep animals and staff safe during healthcare, training, and enclosure cleaning. Stationing: going to a designated object or place, interacting with it in a specific and trained way, and maintaining the proper proximity or position continuously until released via verbal, environmental, or physical cue Military dolphins and sea lions station next to their unit's boat or watercraft during operations. Farmers and ranchers train livestock to stand and stay on a scale for veterinary procedures. Riders teach horses and camels to target and remain next to a block for training or husbandry purposes. Circus ringmasters used stationing during performances when working with large or dangerous animals. The list could go on and on. The exact species involved or who is doing the training/teaching/handling isn't important. What matters is that every example of stationing mentioned above shares a common skillset: the animal going to a designated object or place, interacting with it in a specific and trained way, and maintaining the proper proximity or position continuously until released via verbal, environmental, or physical cue. What is Stationing in Dog Training? As a foundation skill, stationing in dog training seems pretty simple. When given a cue or signal, the dog gets on a designated object. Typically, the object is a box, top of a crate, dog bed, or purpose-built station like the Klimb dog training platform. The dog then remains on the station until released by their trainer or handler. With proper training, neither duration nor distractions matter in the context of stationing. No matter how much time passes or how chaotic the surroundings, an experienced stationed dog should remain happily stationed until released. Stationing application, however, can get very complicated very quickly. It can involve complex and multi-step behavior chains involving lots of distance, duration, and
The same behavior chain used to teach your Service Dog to open or close a door. For those with physical disabilities, training your Service Dog to close doors can be incredibly helpful. Whether you're not steady on your feet or even if it just takes a while for you to move across the room, training your Service Dog to help with basic everyday tasks can be a huge help. Opening or closing doors is a task that's easy and straightforward to teach, so grab your partner and get ready to have some fun!
When it comes to Service Dog training, all of the hundreds of available tasks can be boiled down to 7 essential behaviors. One of those behaviors, targeting, is an easy foundation behavior every Service Dog should know. By learning how to teach a Service Dog to target, you'll be able to start task work with a solid base upon which to build.