Life-Changing Dog Training – The Place Command

My dogs go crazy when the doorbell rings, whether it be one of my kid’s friends or the UPS man. Can you relate? Screaming and yelling at the dogs to be quiet and go lay down… all while we “welcome” our guests in.

Not such a welcoming even is it? It’s embarrassing when your dogs are naughty, at least that’s how I felt. Until we started place training for our dogs. The Dog Place Command was a total game changer for us. 

Place Command Dog Training

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Most of us think about sit, stay, and down as the basic training commands to teach our dog. But in my opinion place training for dogs should be at the top of your list of training.  

What is the Place Command for Dogs?

The PLACE command is simply training your dog to go to a specific place, such as a dog bed, mat, raised platform or a place board. Some people will say “go to your bed”. Keep in mind that a simple “go lay down” is not the same as a PLACE.

We have multiple areas that we use as the dogs “place”. For the most part, their “place” is their dog bed. Although, I really want to buy a nice dog training place board. And for feeding time, we use the kitchen rugs.

Other names for the place command could be “go to bed” or “mat training”. It all means the same thing, stay in this spot until I release you. 

The Dog PLACE Command Saved My Sanity!

The place command can be useful in so many situations. You can have your dog go to his place anytime you need to keep him out of trouble. Here are just a few examples:

  • Front Door Greetings: It’s great for when the doorbell rings and your dog rushes the door. Train your dog the place command to have him wait patiently on his bed. You can then open the door and greet your guest without your dog creating chaos.
  • Resource Guarding: We also use it for our “resource aggressive” dog, Ginger. We put her in her “place” during dinner time, or anytime someone is eating a snack on the couch.
  • Jumping: If you have issues with your dog jumping on people, use a dog training mat to place your dog. This will help your dog calm down and keep your friends safe from being jumped on. 
  • Children: If you have young kids and want to keep them safe from an overly excited dog. Or maybe keep the dog safe from a nose poking, tail pulling toddler! Read Why Family Dogs Bite. 

The PLACE command is so valuable, I can't believe more trainers don't include it in basic training classes!Click to Tweet


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How to Teach Your Dog the Place Command

  1. Put your dog on a leash.
  2. Standing only a few feet away from his dog bed or mat, say “PLACE” and guide your dog on to the mat.
  3. Once he has all four feet on the mat, say “GOOD” and give him a high-valued treat. Treats are not necessary but can add motivation if your dog doesn’t want to go on to the mat.
  4. Your dog does not need to sit or lay down… he just needs to have all four paws on the dog mat. He can do anything he wants as long as he stays on that space. If the dog gets up before you release him, say NO and then simply guide your dog back the mat. Do NOT repeat the command.
  5. Start this command with no distractions, leaving him by only a foot, for a few seconds. Gradually extend the time and distance. You can add distractions after he fully understands the command and can stay in the PLACE for at least 2 minutes at a time.
  6. Practice and repeat until your dog can remain in his place. Do not expect him to stay for more than 10 seconds in the beginning, slowly extend the time as you practice.
  7. Slowly add distractions, such as people walking by, toys, and the doorbell.
  8. Continue to extend the time your dog is in his place. Don’t feel bad for him, this should be a relaxing time for the dog. 


[Related: If you need help training your dog, you may also want to read
How to Find the Perfect Dog Trainer.]

Here is a great video from SolidK9 Dog Training showing the Place Command in Action:

Now it’s your turn…

Leave a comment below and let me know if you will be training your dog the place command. I always reply to comments, so let’s start a conversation… it could help someone else with a similar problem or question.

P.S. We simply use our dog beds in our living room, but many trainers will recommend a place board or training mat so your dog has a clear understanding of the boundaries. I admit, our dogs will sneak a paw, and sometimes try to squirm their way off the bed. But honestly, I’m happy as long as they are touching the bed 🙂

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About the Author Debi@RescueDogs101

Debi McKee is a mom of three kids, three dogs and the creator of Rescue Dogs 101... where she guides you in your journey of adopting and raising a rescue dog every step of the way. She also volunteers for a local dog rescue and Humane Society.

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