One of the most practical and versatile commands you can teach your dog is to go to his “place.” Once your dog solidly knows the place command, you can keep him from jumping on your guests at the front door, begging at the dinner table, and bothering kids or other guests when they visit.
Here are 10 steps to teaching your dog the “place” command:
- Choose a mat or dog bed that will serve as your dog’s “place.” If you want to be able to use the command in any room, select a portable bed that can be easily moved.
- Begin by having your dog on a leash and collar.
- Walk your dog towards the dog bed calmly and assertively.
- About two feet from the bed, give the “place” command one time only.
- Once your dog gets on the bed, relax the leash and stand next to your dog, maintaining eye contact.
- After about 30 seconds, give the dog a command to release him from his place. The word I use to release is “okay.”
- Have your dog’s leash in hand as you say “okay” and guide him away from his place.
- If your dog breaks the place command prior to you releasing him, tell him “No” one time only, then guide him back to the bed.
- Do not give the “place” command again once you reach the bed. You already told him once, so you want him to understand that he must abide by your request.
- Repeat this exercise several times, each time increasing the physical distance between you and your dog, and increasing the time you ask him to hold the place command.
Once your dog appears to be solid with the place command, begin to challenge him by adding distractions while asking him to hold the place command. Distractions could be knocking on the front door, picking up his toys, or eating something considered “high value” in front of the dog.
Your goal should be to work with your dog for a mere 10 to 15 minutes a day about 3 or 4 times daily. Most dogs enjoy this exercise and delight in pleasing their owners!
If you’ll work with your dog consistently on the place command, you’ll have a well-behaved dog in no time. I’ll bet you’ll wonder how you ever lived without the “place” command!