Among the handful of standard obedience commands a dog should know, the “place” command is one of the most helpful. What is the “place” command? It could be considered a step above the “stay” command because you’re actually training your dog to “stay” on a specific “thing.” It’s a vital command if you plan to take your dog on outings that involve lots of people and/or other dogs.
Training your dog to adhere to “place” is easier if your dog already knows some commands because it could be considered just an adjustment to an existing command. However, if you’re just starting out with your training and jump right into the “place” command, that’s okay too; it can be taught on its own.
Once your dog understands and obeys the “place” command, you can take him just about anywhere without fear that he will wander off into areas that he shouldn’t. It is also helpful to use “place” when your dog is meeting a new person and tends to get excited. Instead of jumping on someone, your dog can be greeted on their “place” by the person in question.
It is important for your dog to learn how to be in one place for extended periods of time. You can teach your dog a variety of immobile commands such as sit, stay, lay down, or anything else that means not moving. This is helpful when it comes time to teach your dog to stay in a “place” because he already knows the behavior you are expecting from him. Now you are just telling them where you want him to do that particular action. For that reason, it will be helpful if the “place” command is similar but not the same as the “stay” command. For instance, if you are using hand gestures, you might flatten your hand and make a tapping motion with it to indicate sit or stay. When you want the dog to go to his or her place, make the exact same motion while pointing to the place.
What is a “Place?”
A place is an area that you create for your dog. It stands out from the rest of the floor, but it does not have to be anything special. Some people use a board or a mat, but you can use a small blanket, towel, or something similar. Eventually, you will want to use something small like a washcloth so you can carry it with you easily and put your dog in “place” when you are out and about.
Benefits of the Place Command
Once your dog learns to stay in place until you indicate that he can leave it, they can go anywhere with you. The method is similar to a crate in that the dog understands that the designated “place” is his own personal place—it is where he belongs—but is also where others don’t belong. In fact, when you are out and about, your dog may go to the place whenever he or she feels uncomfortable because he considers it a safe place.
- Use it to keep your dog from running out the door when it opens.
- Introduce guests without overwhelming them or the dog.
- Sit outside without fear of the dog wandering away.
If your dog already knows “sit” or “stay,” simply use that command with the towel, blanket, or whatever you’ve designated as the physical place. If your dog normally sits in front of you when you use the sit command, put the place in front of you and reward them with a treat for sitting on it.
In situations where this is completely new territory, use the place command and reward your dog for even touching the place with a paw. Build up gradually. The more of their body they put on the place, the bigger the reward. Continue encouraging your pet while he sits on the place. If they leave the place without permission, do not reward them for going back on it or it will become a game to them. When starting out, be sure that the place is big enough for the dog’s entire body. If you plan to eventually use a washcloth, put the washcloth on the place to begin with and gradually remove the larger item.
Once you and your dog have mastered “place,” the adventures you are able to share will expand. A dog who knows to get on his place and stay there until you tell him to move is welcome in a variety of places so you can enjoy having your best friend by your side more often.