canine freestyle moves database

teaching position using a rectangular platform

getting started

Here the dog is introduced to the platform and taught that anything to do with the platform is GOOD.
Initially focus on clicking any sort of acknowledgement of the platform.

Before starting your first platform training session ensure the following:


You understand what you will be doing.

You have your platform that is the correct size for your dog (as described in The Platform)

Work out where you are going to train and if you will use a bait-bag (treats bag) or have your treats in a dish nearby. The platform needs to be in a place large enough for you to be able to throw treats behind the dog to get him off the platform and behind you too.

Check the flooring that the platform will be on. Check the color of the flooring and that the platform will not slip on it if the dog enthusiastically jumps on it. You don’t want the platform to slip out from under him and give him a fright.


If you are training inside, put your dog in another room while you are getting ready. If you are outside, leave the dog inside while you are getting ready. If your dog has to be in your training area, put him on a drop stay away from where the platform will be for training.

Place your platform so the dog cannot access it. We do not want the dog to interact with it in any way and not be rewarded for that interaction.

Get your treats ready. Preferably use non-crumbly treats and of a color that the dog can see when tossed on the ground. The dog should not be hoovering the ground looking for his treat or for the bits that split off the main piece thrown.

Get your clicker (if using a clicker).

If there is anything else you need for training, eg music (not essential) , get it ready.

Grab a handful of treats and your clicker so you are ready to click immediately there is interaction from the dog with the platform when you bring the dog into the training area.

Place the platform on the ground and get the dog. If you use a cue to inform him you are starting a training session, say it. Watch the dog as he enters the training area and C/T (click then treat) any interaction with the platform.


There is no need to speak to the dog during any platform training, until you are ready to start using a cue for teaching “positions”.

You do not need a cue for the dog to get onto the platform. The platform itself will become the cue for the dog to get on it. The platform itself is a strong visual cue.

Stand near the short end of the platform facing it. Initially you can treat the dog from your hand while your dog is interacting with it. The aim in this session is for the dog to be confident on and around the platform and try out movement interacting with the platform.

To get the dog off the platform toss the treat away to set him up for another trial.


Any movement relating to the platform (No click means “try something else”)

Movement relating to the platform could be

a head turn,
a step toward it,
sniffing the platform,
one paw touching platform,
one paw maintaining touch on platform,
two paws on platform,
three paws on platform,
four paws on platform

Depending on the confidence of the dog he should quickly start interacting with the platform. Click any movement on to the platform and once on the platform any movement on the platform. Reward in situ. You can click for different behaviors on the platform.

Make sure your training is “clean”. That is keep still while clicking and do not let the dog see your hand get the treat before or during click.

Click for different moves, ie dog offering various behaviors in relation to the platform.

If you find after 6 clicks to an offered behavior, ie the dog does not seem to be progressing or offering something different, toss a treat away, and while the dog is off the platform getting his treat, pick the platform up and put it away so the dog cannot interact with it anymore. That will end that training session. If you use an end of training session word you may use it to tell him training is over, unless you are going to train something else.

By the end of your first training session your dog should have some awareness that being near or somewhere on the platform is very worth his while.

Remember the goal was to: Introduce dog to the platform and instill in his mind that anything to do with the platform is GOOD.

You may repeat this step, but don’t stay on it too long, else the dog won’t progress.

The next step will be to “magnetize” the dog to the platform. (“Magnetized to the platform” is quoted from Michele Pouliot.)