Mastering the Place Command: Pro Dog Training Techniques

Dog resting on its bed place command

Meraki Dogs blog may earn a small commission when you buy through links on this site at no cost to you. See my disclaimer here.

Imagine a scenario where your dog calmly stays in their designated spot, allowing you to manage your household, entertain guests, or simply enjoy a moment of peace.

As a professional dog trainer, helping countless dog owners achieve this level of obedience and harmony has equipped me with unique insights and effective techniques that I’m eager to share with you.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to refine your dog’s training, let’s dive into the world of the “Place” command together, transforming your pet into a well-behaved, obedient, and contented family member.

Benefits of the Place Command

The “Place” command is incredibly flexible and can be used in various situations. One of its key benefits is its portability.

Whether you’re at home, visiting friends, or in a public space, this command ensures your dog knows exactly where they should be. This not only enhances their obedience but also strengthens their impulse control skills.

Another significant advantage is its role in promoting good behavior without the need for physical constraints like a crate or exercise pen. It teaches your dog to find peace and relaxation on command, which is crucial for their well-being.

Ways to Use the Place Command

  • Door Management: Dogs often rush to the door, which can be problematic, especially with guests. The “Place” command helps manage this behavior effectively.
  • Public Behavior: Your dog must stay in a designated spot when out in public. This command helps ensure they remain well-behaved, even in distracting environments.
  • Guest Etiquette: We all love well-mannered dogs, especially when guests are around. This command helps prevent unwanted behaviors like jumping on guests.
  • Household Harmony: The “Place” command can be a lifesaver for homes with multiple dogs. It helps manage the dynamics and keeps peace among your canine companions.
  • Car Rides: Teaching your dog to stay in their place in the car until released ensures safety for both you and your pet during travel.
  • Mealtime Manners: The “Place” command can be a valuable training tool to prevent begging at the dinner table.
  • Leisure Time: Whether working on your computer, watching TV, or reading a book, this command ensures your dog stays put, allowing you to focus on your activity.

The “Place” command is more than a simple instruction. It’s a cornerstone in building a well-behaved, obedient, and relaxed companion. As a pet pro, I can attest to the wonders this command can do in fostering a respectful and loving bond between you and your dog.

Cute dog sitting in dog bed

How to Teach Your Dog The Place Command

Now that we’ve explored the benefits and applications of the “Place” command let’s dive into the practical steps of teaching it to your dog.

Get Your Equipment Ready

The first step in your training session is to gather the necessary equipment. You’ll need a designated dog bed or cot, a variety of treats (both low and high value), a 6 ft leash, and a 15 ft long line.

Place the bed in a centralized, quiet location in your home, ideally not against a wall or furniture, to make it accessible from all sides during the beginning stages (you can move the bed wherever you’d like after they learn to get on). Then, attach the 6 ft leash to your dog’s collar. This setup ensures you have everything to start the training effectively.

If you’re not sure what bed to use as your starting point, I highly recommend this dog-training cot.

Lure Your Dog to Place (and the Release Cue)

Begin by luring your dog onto the bed using treats to get all four paws on the place. Use low-value treats or kibble to entice your dog onto the bed. Once they’re on, shower them with kibble as a reward.

Before they decide to step off, give your dog their release command, such as “Okay!” Getting on and off the bed should be repeated multiple times. As your dog begins to understand the game, introduce the command – you can use words like “place” or “climb.”

For the not-so-confident pups, if the bed is new and they seem hesitant, start by dropping kibble onto the bed and let them eat it off. This step helps them associate the bed with positive experiences.

If they are only comfortable putting their front paws on the bed first, reward that and gradually encourage them to get their whole body onto the bed. Generous rewards are key once they are entirely on the bed.

Remember, a confident dog might quickly get on the bed. Still, a less confident dog might need a few sessions to feel completely comfortable. This is perfectly normal! Patience and consistent reinforcement are crucial throughout this training process.

Add Duration and Distance

As your dog begins to appreciate the value of staying on the bed, they’ll be more inclined to hop on voluntarily. This is a great sign and a perfect foundation for the next phase.

  1. Start with Luring: Continue to lure your dog onto the bed and reward them for doing so. This reinforces the positive association with the bed.
  2. Introduce Half-Steps Back: Take a half-step back after your dog is on the bed. Be prepared to step forward again if your dog looks like they’re about to get off. It’s natural for them to want to follow you, especially if you have treats. If they attempt to step off, a gentle “no” and a step towards them to guide them back onto the bed should suffice.
  3. Repeat with Increased Distance: This step might need a few repetitions. Gradually increase the distance you step back, always being ready to guide your dog back onto the bed if they move to get off. Reward them each time they get back on.
  4. Introduce Different Movements: Move around the bed as your dog understands the command. Try different movements like stepping back, turning your back, side-stepping, and circling the bed. Your dog might try to get off the bed with each new movement – this is normal. Just discourage them from getting off and reward them for staying on. Now, you can switch from the 6 ft leash to the longer line for more freedom of movement.
  5. Add Duration: Once your dog grasps the concept of staying on the bed, start working on duration. Begin with short periods and reward your dog frequently. Vary the time of the stays – for instance, 5 minutes in the first session, 1 minute in the second, 6 minutes the third session, and so on. This unpredictability helps reinforce the behavior.
  6. Increase to Longer Durations: Gradually, as your dog becomes more comfortable and skilled, you can extend their stay on the bed to up to two hours. Remember to give them breaks every two hours. During these longer durations, you can give them a chew to encourage them to settle down on the bed.
  7. Use an Anchor: As you add time, consider anchoring your dog to a heavy piece of furniture (that they can’t move). This provides a physical reminder to stay put, especially if they attempt to break their stay.

Remember, patience and consistency are key. Each dog learns at their own pace, and it’s important to celebrate the small victories along the way. With time and practice, your dog will master the “Place” command, giving both of you a valuable skill that enhances your life.

Introduce Distractions

Start with Simple Distractions: Begin with something straightforward, like dropping kibble on the floor near the bed. Be prepared to intervene if your dog attempts to get the kibble. This is an excellent way to test their impulse control.

Reward for Staying on the Bed: Reward them each time your dog successfully ignores the distraction and stays on the bed. This reinforces your desired behavior and helps them understand that staying put, even with temptations, is beneficial.

Gradually Increase the Level of Distraction: Once your dog is comfortable with simple distractions, introduce more challenging ones. Ideas for distractions include:

  • Rolling a ball across the floor.
  • Dropping their favorite toy near the bed, ensuring it’s out of their reach.
  • Running past the bed.
  • Opening and closing doors like the front or back door and cabinets.
  • Opening the fridge or a dog treat bag typically captures their attention.

Monitor and Adjust: Watch how your dog reacts to these distractions. If they struggle, dial back the difficulty and gradually increase it again. Setting your dog up for success is essential, so choose challenging but not overwhelming distractions.

Consistency is Key: Regularly practice with different distractions. The more you practice, the better your dog will get at staying on the bed despite temptations.

Reward and Progress: Always reward your dog for staying on the bed amidst distractions. This reinforcement is immensely helpful to them to understand that despite what’s happening around them, the best choice is to stay put.

Generalize the Command

  • Expand Training to New Locations: Start by practicing the “Place” command in different rooms of your house. If you begin in the living room, move to the kitchen, bedroom, etc. This helps your dog understand that the command applies regardless of location.
  • Practice in Outdoor Settings: Once your dog is comfortable with indoor generalization, it’s time to venture outside. Practice in your driveway, in the car, and eventually in more distracting environments like the park. This step is crucial as it teaches your dog to obey the command amidst various outdoor distractions.
  • Use High-Value Treats in Exciting Locations: In more stimulating environments like the park, where numerous distractions exist, high-value treats can be highly beneficial. These treats help maintain your dog’s focus on you and the command, building a stronger association with staying in their place despite exciting surroundings.
  • Reinforce training Consistently: Consistency is vital in generalization. Practice regularly in new environments to reinforce the command. This regular practice ensures your dog understands that “Place” means the same thing, no matter where they are.
  • Be Patient: Generalizing a command takes time and patience. Some dogs may adjust quickly to new environments, while others may need more time and encouragement. Always reinforce the behaviors you want from your dog.
  • Gradually Increase Distractions: As your dog gets better at responding to the command in different locations, introduce progressively more distractions. This will further solidify their training and ensure they remain obedient even in challenging environments.

By generalizing the “Place” command, your dog learns to obey in different settings and becomes a well-adjusted, confident companion. This training enhances their flexibility and ensures they can handle various situations calmly and obediently.

chihuahuas and dog bed

Bonus Tips For Teaching the Place Command

  1. Tailor the Pace to Your Dog: Every dog learns at their own pace. It’s crucial to be patient and not rush the process. Avoid comparing your dog’s progress to others – it’s not a competition. The goal is to build a solid foundation of understanding and trust, not to achieve instant results.
  2. Address Specific Behaviors Like Jumping or Barking: If your dog tends to jump or bark when the doorbell rings, use the “Place” command to redirect this behavior. Start by ringing the doorbell and immediately directing your dog to their place. Reward them once they comply. This exercise helps your dog associate the sound of the doorbell with the action of going to their place rather than reacting excitedly.
  3. Practice Consistently: Consistency is key in training, especially when dealing with ingrained behaviors like excitement at the doorbell. Regular practice will gradually condition your dog to respond calmly and promptly to the doorbell by going to their place.
  4. Be Patient with Progress: If your dog gets particularly worked up by the doorbell, understand that it may take longer to learn to go to their place in response reflexively. Patience and consistent reinforcement are crucial during this process.
  5. Gradual Introduction of Distractions: If the doorbell is a significant distraction, begin with less challenging distractions and gradually work your way up. This stepwise approach allows your dog to build confidence and skill in a controlled manner.

By incorporating these bonus tips, you can fine-tune the training process to suit your dog’s needs and behaviors. This personalized approach ensures a more effective and rewarding training experience for you and your dog.

Frequently Asked Questions

While similar, the “Place” and “Stay” commands differ. The “Place” command assigns a specific spot for your dog, allowing them the freedom to stand, sit, or lie down as long as they remain on that spot. This flexibility makes it ideal for extended periods and more comfortable for your dog than “Stay,” which requires holding a specific position and can become uncomfortable over time. “Place” is also an excellent stepping stone for young dogs who haven’t yet mastered the “Stay” command.

The “Place” command provides a portable and designated spot for your dog. It’s beneficial when you need your dog to stay in one place for any time without using a crate or pen. This command also introduces and reinforces impulse control, teaching your dog to manage their reactions in various situations. This is especially handy when you start puppy training, and your puppy doesn’t quite have the attention span for a stay.

First, to train this behavior, ensure your dog is proficient with the “Place” command. Once they understand “Place,” start incorporating the doorbell sound into training. Ring the doorbell, then direct your dog to their “Place” and reward them for compliance. They may need guidance initially, so keeping them on a leash can be helpful. This training might take some time, especially if your dog gets excited by the doorbell.

Wrapping Up Dog Place Training

Training your dog to understand and respond to the “Place” command is a rewarding journey that enhances both your lives. Remember, every dog learns at their own pace, so patience and consistency are key. The “Place” command not only aids in managing your dog’s behavior in various settings but also fosters a deeper understanding and communication between you and your companion.

So, embark on this training with enthusiasm and watch as your dog becomes a well-behaved, confident, and obedient partner. If you want to enhance your dog’s obedience and impulse control or need guidance in dog training, feel free to seek professional advice and support. Let’s make your dog training journey a success together!

Similar Posts