The Puzzle Week – Part 2: Starting Matwork

Day 1

Puzzle kindly agreed to assist me in teaching CU-style matwork from scratch. This is how we started out on our first evening together. This session was filmed just an hour or so after Puzzle temporarily moved in with me. She’s still new to the apartment, new to me, and new to the mat. Rather than doing any actual CU matwork here, we are working on feeling comfortable. Notice how my body language impacts her!

Day 2

Second session – first session of Puzzle’s second day. I’m still not standing near the mat, but sitting in the way that helped Puzzle be comfortable earlier. I am being mindful of what I’m communicating with my body language – I don’t want her to startle. She starts out more comfortable, and is starting to become magnetized to the mat: it’s hard to lure her off!

Our third session! I’m being more mindful of dropping treats CU-style: they show up at random spots all around Puzzle. I want her to believe that the treats are coming from the mat rather than from me. This is one of the elements that distinguishes CU matwork from other protocols: we do NOT want handler focus. It’s about the mat, not about the human. You’ll also see me drop a treat off the mat after the click in the middle of the session. Will Puzzle go back to the mat to reactivate it?

Day 2 was all about matwork. Mat work is a low-energy, relaxing activity. It’s hard to overdo it! So Puzzle ate most of her daily meals on the mat that day, and made some lovely progress! At the same time that she is learning about mats and about the fact that I am safe, she is also learning the meaning of her first marker cue, the tongue click: food is about to appear!

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