The “place command” is teaching your dog to go to a specific spot and stay in that spot until they are released. This training can be used to teach: Place, Bed, Kennel, Crate, etc. Dogs can learn different command words for each different type of resting place.
First you will choose your dog’s place. This may be their dog bed, a blanket, towel, rug, etc. Next choose your command word…what would you like to call this specific resting place? For example: Place, Bed, Kennel, Crate, Spot, etc.
To begin training, stand close to the place (within 5 feet) and say your command word “Place” while pointing and looking at the place. Then use your food to lure the dog onto the place. Be sure to lure the dog’s entire body all the way onto the bed or rug. Once the dog is on the place, move your baited hand upwards to initiate the Sit. As soon as the dog is on the place and sits, mark with your “Good” and reward. Then ask for a Down, and mark “Good” and reward. Putting your dog in a Down is a more relaxed position and will make it easier for your dog to remain in Place for longer periods of time. You may give your dog several extra rewards while in the Place/Down position to get them to stay in place for longer. Be sure to give your Release Cue as you walk away. Repeat the training.
Once your dog is getting the idea, you may slowly add distance and ask your dog to “Place” from further and further away. If the dog does not understand or makes a mistake, simply food lure them back onto their place and follow the above instructions.
When training a Place command, I also highly recommend practicing your Stay. A proper Place command means the dog goes to this specific spot and remains there until released. To do this, first practice your Place command, mark “Good” and reward. While the dog is still in Place, practice your Stay with distance. Be sure to always come back to the dog and release them using your Release Cue, “Break.” Keep practicing your Place/Stay command with increased distance and time.
Check out our YouTube Place training video for more details.
Place training for when guests arrive at your home
This training can be particularly helpful for teaching a dog proper door etiquette. Once your dog has a reliable Place command, you can start training it at the door. When a guest comes over, ask your dog to Place. This will take a few tries at first because of the extra excitement. Remember to stay calm. You may need to lure your dog onto their place. Once the dog goes to Place, remind them to Stay, then walk to the door. If the dog leaves their spot at anytime, calmly put them back on their Place and start again. Slowly proceed through each of the following steps until you can invite your guest inside.
1) Touch the door, 2) Jiggle the door handle, 3) crack the door open, 4) open the door slowly an inch at a time until it is all the way open, 5) say hello to your guest, 6) invite the guest inside.
While practicing this, anytime the dog gets up from their Place/Stay, shut the door and go back to the beginning. (It is best to first practice this with a helper that is willing to stand outside your door for a long period of time). Be sure your guest practices “No Touch, No Talk, No Eye Contact,” and ignores your dog when they enter your home. If the dog remains in their Place and stays calm through the entire process, calmly release your dog and allow your guest to greet the dog. If the dog becomes too excited or jumpy when released, calmly re-direct the dog back to their Place and have the guest ignore the dog until she/he can remain calm.
Practice this same command when you return home from being away. Upon entering, ask your dog to Place. Ignore the dog and calmly put your things down, etc. At first you may need to food lure your dog onto their place. Once your dog is able to Place/Stay upon your return, reward by going to the dog’s place and calmly lavishing with praise and petting.
Place training for Dog Agility
A place command can also be used in dog agility. There are different types of dog agility equipment, one of which is the agility box. This is usually a raised square box that the dog must jump onto and wait. This equipment piece can be trained using the Place command training.