“Place” Command – Dog Training

Step 1 – Foundation:

Create good associations in a familiar place.

When working on “place” command in dog training, begin in a setting that your dog is familiar with. Establish a single location (their crate, a mat, or a raised bed) as a special place where they eat to create good associations. Begin training as soon as possible — say “place” when your dog moves to the desired location, and reward them with their food AFTER they have gone there (not before). With that reinforcement, your dog will beat you to their place in no time!

Remember, rewards should be used as REINFORCEMENT, not to coax your dog to comply. Using a clicker is helpful by using a sound to “mark” the moment, telling your dog which behavior is about to be rewarded. Rewards can be their food, treats, or short play sessions. 

Step 2 – Reinforcing: 

Solidify the “place” command with patience and consistency. 

Once your dog knows what their place is, move to another (still somewhat familiar) location to test and reinforce what “place” means. Choose your yard, porch, or driveway — anywhere that offers some distractions but which is familiar. Using patience and consistency, work on getting your dog to stay in their place as you walk around, move away, and tug on their leash. If your dog moves, calmly put them back in “place” and try again.

Follow these tips to reinforce the “place” command:

  • Repeat the “place” command while your dog exhibits the correct behavior. 
  • If using a leash, apply pressure against the leash to test your dog’s resolve to obey the command. 
  • Often reinforce your dog’s willingness to honor the command. Use a happy voice, some pats and rubs, and quick play sessions that help to keep the training fun for both of you! 

*Patience is key: Never get mad or forceful, but be consistent with your demands.

Step 3 – Testing:

Test “place” with distractions in short, fun sessions. 

Once they seem to get the idea, it’s time to challenge your dog — pick a place they’re not familiar with that offers some distractions (don’t go too crazy just yet!). This will test your dog’s willingness to obey your commands amidst new scents, sights, and temptations. Stay consistent with your commands, hand signals, and reinforcements, and be patient! Some slip-ups will happen; when your dog breaks their command, simply correct their behavior in a calm manner and try again. 

During place training, patience is key. Try throwing in other already-known training commands like “sit,” “stay,” or “come,” between the new “place” commands to keep the experience fun and rewarding for both of you! You can increase the level of training by gradually moving to more distracting locations once your dog is consistently performing “place” in unfamiliar environments. 

**You only need to do 5- or 10-minute sessions with your dog—keep it short and fun!**

"Have fun with this, don’t make it a job! 5-10 minutes will pay dividends for the rest of your lives."

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