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.
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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.
How to Teach Your Dog the Place Command
- Put your dog on a leash.
- Standing only a few feet away from his dog bed or mat, say “PLACE” and guide your dog on to the mat.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Slowly add distractions, such as people walking by, toys, and the doorbell.
- 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 🙂
P.S.S. If you are looking for a more comprehensive dog training program, Spirit Dog Training offers a wide variety of online training classes for very specific goals.
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Thanks so much for talking about the different situations place training can help with, I agree that it's embarrassing when your dog doesn't listen to you around guests. My aunt just got a new puppy and she wants to make sure she takes care of it properly sine dogs require a lot of attention. She unfortunately works a day job though so she's been looking into taking him to a professional trainer to help train him in her absence.
Thank you for mentioning that you should teach your dog the "put" command so that he can sit calmly on his bed. My daughter got a puppy. I'll advise her to enroll her dog in a training program.
I liked how you wrote that the place command can protect your kids from an overly excited dog. My brother wants to train his puppy while it's still young. He is even looking for a puppy training program that is suitable for his dog.
Does it cause confusion if you move the place around the house? We bought a mat for her place, but my wife and kids move it around. I’m not sure if I should discourage that and keep it in one spot?
As long as the mat is consistent, the dog will associate the mat itself as her “place”. You could also get multiple mats so that they don’t have to move it.
Does this calm dog's excitement? I can understand the concept of the dog staying in place until guests enter but how will this stop the barking and growling?
Take a look at this article about reactive dogs: Your reactive dog (socialize, training, chart.)
We taught our 5 mo old puppy to place at 3 months and she was doing great until two days ago. She placed the other day, then turned around and ran. Now she won't place anymore, not even with high-valued treats. How do we fix this problem?
Start from step 1 again. 5 months she’s going through a phase and she’s testing you.
Is 'Place" the same as "Stay"? I'm getting confused between stay, place and wait and how does the dog know the difference?
Place: the dog can do anything he wants, lay down, sit, stand, as long as he remains in the “place”, which is a bed, mat, carpet, etc.
Stay: the dogs stays in the exact position you tell him to stay in. So if he’s sitting, he remains sitting in that spot until you release him.
Wait: use for temporary, as in the dog should wait to go out the door until you release him, wait to jump out of the car. etc.
Thanks so much for the informative video. So much easier to understand when you can see the process! So helpful
This is very exciting, definitely important.
How early can I start to teach my Boxer Puppy this command? We have her bed and a braided rug in the same room and when I say “on your mat” she goes to the rug. We have never referred to the rug as her mat. Without confusing her, how can we start the Place command for her to go onto the rug. Rug for Place and bed for Mat. Thank you!
It’s never too early… so start today! First question, does it matter if she goes to the rug or the bed? If so then separate them, bed on one side of room, mat on the other. Work on one at a time, when she masters one then teach the other.
Do you allow your dog to chew on toys while in the place command
Yes, they can do anything as long as they stay in the place.
If I teach my dog the place command on their bed, will this prevent them from wanting to go relax on it on their own, and need to be released even though I did not “place” them there? Thanks!
No not at all. We use our dogs bed for their place all the time. They command is what they need to listen to the place can be anything at anytime.
I bought a bed specifically for the purpose of place, and my dog sits/lays down on it whenever he feels like it. He does prefer his normal bed though, but that may be because it’s a lot softer.
I bring home my first dog, a rescue, on Sunday. I am a 59 year old novice! After watching your video about PLACE..I feel my nerves are starting to come. I look forward to watching more. Thank you.
You will do just fine. You are here reading up and preparing, that is a great sign you are ready.
Our dog was taught the place command but now leaves his place and when we say no and go to place him back he grabs the leash and starts shaking his head and growling to play, what can we do?
He’s testing the boundaries. Keep placing him back when he breaks. He will eventually get it.
How do you train your dog to have multiple places in the house? Thanks
Show them where each “place” is. The place command can be transferred to any spot. It’s easiest to train when it’s a raised platform or a different texture such as an area rug.
This will really help me in training my dog. Thank you.
Hi just tought dog place but what do u do when he goes to place by him self with no command but he won’t leave because he thinks I put him There and he waits for command to release him
You can just give him your release command. But I am wondering why he thinks you put him in place even though you didn’t? Your command should be very clear so there is no confusion.
Hi I don’t say anything to him he just to goes and lay down I’ve used the Matt for place in living room but it also doubles as a bed
My daughter-in-law's dog does that occasionally (goes to his place, usually his platform bed, has a nap then wakes up and forgets he went there of his own free will). He'll sit there and whine and give her piercing looks, asking to be released. I think it shows how well-trained he is! Dogs can be forgetful, just like humans.