The Place command is one of the most popular skills we teach to our clients and their dogs. Everyone loves the idea of having a spot they can send their dog to so they can relax and just “chill out” for a while. The idea of having a dog bed or pillow that the dog can remain on while you have dinner with guests or sit to enjoy a movie for a couple hours is appealing to most every dog owner.
But training is about more than just teaching the dog to calm down.
At That’s My Dog! we see so much more value in the command than just the “chill out” response. Teaching a dog to Place on any manor of objects is a great way to build confidence. Most dogs aren’t immediately comfortable climbing onto a step stool, or navigating a retaining wall, or holding steady on a rolling chair. Helping a dog to conquer these novel experiences is one of the ways we take shy, reserved dogs and help them blossom. It is also how we take overly excited dogs and teach them to focus. Generalizing the idea of Place can help any dog grow their confidence and increase their repertoire of knowledge.
As long as the object is safe to be in or on and your dog can fit all 4 paws, the sky is the limit in what you can come up with.
To generalize the dogs understanding that a Place can be most any object, remember to escort and help them the first time or two you expose them to something new. Use plenty of praise and positive reinforcement and soon you will have them trusting their ability to climb onto and stay in place on all sorts of different surfaces. A Place can be any defined area the dog can safely fit all 4 paws on. The area should have a defined edge so that the dog can easily understand the difference between being On or Off of it.
Ideas for practicing Place: dog bed, pillow, chair, step stool, boulder, retaining wall, man hole cover, scale, bath tub, step, bench, tree stump, dog bowl, bucket, box, tail gate or back of the vehicle, back seat of the car, kennel or crate (either inside or on top), beach towel or blanket.