Use a “Place” to remove your dog from difficult situations.
“Place” is very similar to the “Stay” command, and you could say it’s actually much easier to train because it gives your dog a specific spot to lie down on. This is much easier for them to understand and they may even end up loving that specific spot or mat that you use for the command. Place is very good for teaching your dog to go somewhere and relax. It’s also a good combination of training and MANAGEMENT for difficult situations like when friends come over or you’re eating and you don’t want your dog to bother you. .
Place is mainly different from Stay because it’s like several commands in one. The separate parts of Place are:
Working on each of these separately is the easiest approach, but luckily, doing them all together is also pretty simple! The first thing you’ll have to do is get a durable mat to use as the “Place”.
The first part of Place is for you to lead your dog over to the place with a treat lure. Review LURING for how to do this.
Set up your mat and show your dog that you have some treats by holding it to their nose. You can practice moving them around a bit first, then leading them over to the mat.
When training your dog, many commands will start with a food lure. You’ll even use treats to “remind” your dog you have treats when they’re training around lots of distractions outside. When you want to lure or remind them about treats by, “show” them the treat by holding it in a flat hand and shoving it right up to their nose. There will be no way they can miss it and they will definitely be able to follow it.
It’s ok if your dog doesn’t know the down command yet – you can still get them to do it as a part of the Place command by taking food lure in your FLAT hand and luring them straight down. If your dog doesn’t respond to this correctly by lying down, try pushing INTO their nose at a 45 degree angle.
Once your dog goes into the down, position, say YES and toss a treat onto the mat. This is very important that your dog gets the treats from the mat and NOT from you.
If the behavior you’re teaching is a single action, like sit or down, it should only need a single treat when your dog does it right.
But if the behavior is continuous, like stay or leash walking focus, then the treating for it should also be continuous.
Keep this rule in mind when you’re teaching a new command and your dog isn’t “getting it”. Maybe they need to be treated more often for a longer behavior!
If you've done the Stay, command, this part will seem very familiar. If not, then that's ok because it's very simple too!
Now that you’ve lured your dog onto the place, you should use continuous treats to get them to stay there. Use the other hand that you didn’t lure with, so they get used to not having to follow the treat hand. And remember to try underhand toss the treats onto the mat, so that your dog is learning to like the mat instead of getting up to get closer to your hand.
You must pay close attention to where and when you are rewarding your dog with treats and praise. Wherever your dog knows they should be when treats come, is where they will want to “hang out” whenever they can. We can actually use this to our advantage in leash walking, crate training, and lots of other commands!
For example, when training leash-walking, you should use the same hand for treats on the side of your dog, because if you give them treats in front of you, they will want to cross in front of you when walking.
After about 20-30 seconds of staying on the place, you can release your dog by saying “OK!” and luring them off again. If they don’t understand what “ok” means, help them by luring off the place so they can begin to understand what the release word “OK” means.
After practicing the individual parts of the Place command separately, it's time to put them together and use the command "Place"
Now that your dog has done the movements enough times, you can start using the word “Place” before you start leading them over to the mat.
Your goal is to be able to use on the command “Place” then lead your dog through the steps without telling them “down” or “stay”. But if you need to use these commands a few times while you’re still training , that’s ok too.