The Place Command: A Must Know Training Behavior For Your Dog!

Picture this: You’re getting ready for company to arrive, and they missed your text asking them not to ring your doorbell. The doorbell rings, and your dog starts barking and running all over the house. You try to get your pup to calm down before answering the door, but nothing works! The whole situation leaves you feeling frustrated and overwhelmed. 

In those moments, do you find yourself feeling at a loss of what to do as you struggle to get your dog to calm down? If the answer is yes, we’re here to help! Establishing a “place” command with your pup is a great tool to use the next time you struggle to keep your dog calm and in one place. If trained properly, the “place” command is a magical command that you will use whenever you need your pup to relax in one spot.


What is The “Place” Command?

The “place” command is an invaluable command you can use in so many real-life situations both in and outside of your home. This command gives your dog a “job” to do. This job is to go, relax in one spot, and calmly stay there until they are released. This spot can be anything from a raised cot to a mat, towel, or rug. As long as it’s something they will be comfortable on, you’re good to go! 


What Are The Benefits of Teaching Your Dog The “Place” Command?

If your dog is left to make their own choices, they will often show up as undesirable behaviors like:

  • Getting underfoot when in the kitchen.
  • Getting into things they shouldn’t when you’re unable to supervise them.
  • Barking at the window as they watch the world go by.
  •  Barking when the doorbell rings.
  • Rushing the door any time you open it.
  • Getting too excited and jumping on guests when they enter the home.

Having your dog go to their “place” gives them a better alternative than engaging in such undesirable behaviors and can also keep them safe. For example, putting your dog on “place” before going out on a walk will help them to be more calm and receptive to listening when going out for their walk. It is also like an “off” switch that you can use after any activity that riles your dog up. 

Likewise, if you want to nurture a calm demeanor in your dog before engaging in an activity that will excite them, having them settle on their place for 10 min or so beforehand will help them remain more composed. This is especially beneficial for a dog with anxiety or a dog that becomes” overstimulated by the outside world. 

To accomplish this successfully, let’s go over some essential steps.


First, Teach Your Dog to Love Their Place

Slow and steady introductions are always necessary when introducing something new to your pup. Forcing them to do something will only backfire and make training more difficult. You want to persuade your dog into loving their place by using positive reinforcement and plenty of high-value treats. Be very patient and be prepared to put in the work as you lay the initial foundation of the “place” command. You can give your dog a toy or bone they love to chew on while they hang out on their bed or mat. These extra rewards will show your dog that this is a happy place. Avoid using their spot as punishment; your pup will never learn to accept “place” as a calming and safe zone. 

The Place Command A Must Know Training Behavior For Your


Important Notes As You Begin To Train Your Dog To Go To Their “Place”

Before introducing the “place” command, be sure you have the correct tools. Starting with a raised dog cot is recommended. The raised cot will give your dog a distinct boundary, making it easier to teach them to remain within that boundary.

A leash, such as a slip lead, will help you to communicate better with your dog as you guide them through the process.

Choose high-value treats to ensure your dog is well rewarded for choosing to stay on their “place” bed.

Select a release cue for your pup to use when you’re ready to release them from their “place.” It’s great to get your dog to stay put, but they eventually need to be freed! Choose a word you don’t use very often, like “free,” “break,” or even “release.” Don’t choose a common word you often use, as you will confuse your dog. 


You’ll need to start by helping your dog be comfortable with their mat, as some dogs may be tentative to get on the cot at first. You can do this by rewarding them for any engagement with the mat, from looking at it to sniffing it, to finally placing one paw, then two paws on it, and so forth. Make sure your dog knows some basic commands such as ‘sit’ and ‘down’ as you’ll use down to help them settle on their cot once they are comfortable getting on it.

Once they are comfortable going on their mat, you’ll want to work on duration or have them stay on their mat for a few seconds to a min, slowly adding more time.

Next, you will add movement, such as stepping from side to side, taking a few steps back, or walking around the cot. Then you can slowly add in other distractions. With each step or added distraction, you’ll reward your dog for making the correct choice: staying settled on the cot. 

It is also important to remember that you will need to train your dog to stay on “place” in any situation where you want to use the command. Dogs don’t generalize well, so they may have mastered the command in one area or situation but seem to forget what to do when you change it up completely. 

Suppose you want your dog to settle when the doorbell rings, when you’re in the kitchen, or when your kids are playing. In that case, you’ll need to set up these scenarios and actively train for each situation. This may feel like a lot of work, and it is, but once your pup has mastered this command, it will be worth every moment of hard work you put in!


What If My Dog Makes a Mistake?

When introducing new training commands, it is expected that your dog won’t understand what to do right away. Mistakes are bound to happen, and that’s okay! Learning something new takes time and patience. 

Give yourself space and be consistent, taking a neutral stance during the training process. For example, if your dog attempts to get off the cot before you release your dog, calmly say “no” and use the leash to direct them back into position on the cot. If your dog was sitting, put them back into a “sit”; if they were laying down, put them back into a down. Don’t reward them with a treat if they break on their own. 

Remember, you always want to do your best to set your dog up for success during any training session! If your dog breaks the command a few times in a row, you’ve gone too far, too fast. Go back to the previous step for several repetitions before trying to move forward again. 

Most importantly, keep training sessions short and take breaks in between repetitions. You’ll also want to train after your dog releases excess energy. If your dog has too much energy, they will be less focused and less likely to follow through with going to their “place” or holding the command during each session. 

If you are looking for private dog training in Seattle, Washington, Cosmic Home & Pet is here for you! You don’t have to go through the training process alone! Certified dog trainer Brea is ready to help you take your training sessions to the next level.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *