Here’s looking at you kid!

Want to know the secret to how we get so many great pictures of our dogs? How is it that we get them to pose?

It is called a place command. What that command means to the dog is he/she has to stay (and keep four paws on) the “place” we designate. The place can be any physical object that the dog can comfortable fit on. We’ve used boulders, tree stumps, park benches, stairs, chairs, pillows…you name it, the options are as endless as your creativity.

It is not a difficult concept to teach because the dog is aware of the physical boundary that is created by the object. As long as you put the dog back each time they make the mistake of leaving (before given permission to do so) they learn pretty quickly to stay put. In the beginning stage of teaching the command it is really helpful to use an object that has at least a few inches of height to it. That way the concept is much clearer to the dog if he/she is on or off of the object (as opposed to a flat rug or towel). A dog bed can work fine, but something a bit more sturdy can work nicely if you want to the dog to remain in a sitting position. I usually start teaching the concept on this placeboard, it works great due to the height and can double as an easy to clean and transport dog bed.

The steps in teaching the dog to stay on the place are pretty simple:

1. escort the dog to the place and help him/her get all four paws on the object

2. help the dog remain there by using a leash to fix mistakes as he/she starts to step off

3. reward the dog (treats, praise etc.) for remaining steady on the place

4. gradually increase the duration of the stay and the distance you are from the dog, fixing any mistakes of the dog getting off as needed.

5 go back to the dog and release him/her by encouraging movement and using a “free” or “ok” command to signal it is okay to get off of the designated spot.

So there you have it, five simple steps to get your dog to hold still so you can snap those photos. Now getting them to look at the camera and not make funny faces…well, I’ll let you and your dog work that one out. 🙂