The Place Command
One of the things I always introduce the first week of my Level 1 obedience class is the Place Command. I think it is one of the most useful tools for teaching your dog to stay still and be calm. Essentially it involves the dog going to a certain “place”, be it a bed or a mat or just a spot in your house, on command. What you use this command for is up to you.
I usually encourage using place as a way to keep your dog away from the front door when people come over. It helps deter your dog from jumping up, which is one of the issues I deal with regularly from clients.
You can also use the command for keeping your dog away from the dining table or certain areas of the house you may not want them in.
Teaching the Place Command also teaches independence. It gives your dog a space that is theirs, away from the hustle and bustle of the household. They can retreat to their place whenever they need to rest and most dogs actually enjoy having this option.
It is easy to teach the Place Command simply by shaping the behaviour:
- Pick a spot in your house and put down a bed or mat.
- Point to the bed and when the dog goes on it immediately reward with something tasty.
- Once the dog goes on the bed willingly you can give a command like
“Go to bed”. Keep rewarding when your dog responds.
- Encourage your dog to chew bones or play with toys in this space.
Once you can send your dog to their place on command, you can start associating the command with the doorbell ringing, guests coming over or dinnertime for the family.