Obedience training is an important part of helping dog owners and their pets live together in harmo- ny. Out of control pups create unnecessary stress for humans and dogs in a household. This will often perpetuate the problem, opening a need for growth. One of the most useful and at times overlooked commands is “place”.
Place, or similar variations of the command, involves a dog going to a designated spot at the sound of the word. In many cases this spot is a rug, crate, dog bed, or even a room. The command is typically taught by using a motivator, such as high value dog treats, to lure a dog to the desired spot. After a dog gets used to the lure, we add in the cue such as place, spot, bed, etc. Breaking it down helps to avoid confusion. Depending on the dog, the teaching may need to go faster or slower.
Place is useful for teaching impulse control in puppies and dogs. Some dogs may lose their composure when visitors enter the home. Others may become extremely reactive to certain stimuli outside such as the mailman or large vehicles. Some love to beg for food and be underfoot during human mealtimes. All of these situations beg for an alternative behavior to be learned. This behavior should be initiated before something becomes too exciting and a pup becomes unable to listen. This means practicing in a quiet environment first, then gradually utilizing the command before the stimuli arrives.
A dog’s place should be safe and comfortable, possibly even reaping rewards such as treats and bones. Creating a positive environment will reinforce the behavior of going and staying at the spot.
Trying to use it as punishment will dissuade a dog from wanting to follow through
with the command. A key part of obedience training involves motivating a dog
to perform a desired behavior, in this situation place, that is physically incompatible with the unwanted behavior such as jumping on people, watching the mailman through the window and barking uncontrollably, or sitting beneath the table begging for food. Teaching new skills helps keep an active pup’s brain busy, maintaining a better behaved dog. It is vital to remain consistent with commands and behavior over time to create new habits and support a long term change in behavior.
Training is an excellent way to channel a dog’s energy into something positive. Keeping strong with the behavior over time reinforces healthy habits and creates
a well behaved dog, and in turn a happier home. Place is a fantastic option to teach
a dog for fun, or to produce a solution to an unwanted behavior. Positive reinforcement will help the command, and your dog, stick!