A complaint we frequently hear from clients is their inability to entertain without their dog ruining the evening. Whether dogs jump on guests, steal food, stretch out across the couch or beg during dinner, there is no denying our four-legged friends lack dinner-party etiquette. Therefore, we teach our canine clients the “place” command. The “place” command directs the dog to a safe, out-of-the-way place where he can relax without disturbing guests.
Injuries occur every day from people falling over dogs. Therefore, this command is equally useful when you are home alone. Directing your dog to remain in his “place” (a bed or mat) while you work around the house or exercise, decreases the risk of injury to you and your dog.
A dog bed, a leash and treats are all you need to teach the place command. Keep your dog on leash throughout the training exercise. Stand beside the dog bed, say “place” and lure your dog to his bed using a treat. When he touches the bed with at least one paw, reward him with verbal praise (such as ‘good boy or good’) and offer a treat. Immediately free him from the position, using a release word such as “free, okay or break”. Using the food as a lure, slowly encourage your dog to place all four paws on the bed, once again rewarding him when he complies. Repeat this exercise until the dog enters the bed on command. Once he responds to your direction, try to move away from the bed and then give the command. Check out this video of our dog client, demonstrating the place command.
The next step in the process is increasing the duration of time the dog remains in “place”. Once again, direct your dog to his “place” by pointing to the bed. When the dog enters his bed, reward him with verbal praise. Break eye contact with the dog and wait a few seconds before offering the release word. At this time, you can reward the dog with a treat.
Do not allow frustration to ruin the training process. Dogs learn by making mistakes. If he breaks command, simply issue a verbal correction such as “nope, no or wrong” and then start over. Once your dog remains in place until you release him, increase the duration of the stay.
Take your time teaching this advanced training technique. If you move too fast, your dog will continuously fail and lose interest in the lesson. If he repeatedly breaks command, lessen the time he remains in place. Unlike a trained service dog, you cannot expect your newly trained dog to remain in command for hours at a time. This is something you will work toward together.
While the “place” command requires patience and work, a polite dog is the finishing touch to any party. If you would like help from a certified dog trainer, contact Sublime K9 Dog Training at (631) 241-6482.
Written by Sublime K9 trainer, Katie McKnight