Teaching the ‘Place’ Command

By Fred Hassen & Toni Drugmand

Sit Means Sit Dog Training

The Place Exercise

Is your dog hysterical with out of control enthusiasm when the door bell rings? The anticipation of a guest at the door can send many dogs in to a frenzy. Perhaps your dog is territorial with aggressive barking and lunging at the door and window guarding every inch of your home. Does your dog think that a grand adventure awaits him when he runs out the door? Never fear! It is possible to train your dog not to exhibit these behaviors.


Teaching boundaries is important for the well being of both you and your dog. It gives you peace of mind to know your dog is under control and the dog learns to relax and take your direction in place of deciding to run things on his own.

Early in our training program our clients learn to teach an exercise we call “Place” This means the dog will go to an area that has a clearly defined boundary such as a dog bed or cot and he will stay there until released. It is an excellent way to handle the doorbell with all its anticipation and excitement.

Giving your dog direction helps him gain control of his energy

Giving your dog direction to go to his place is valuable to you and your dog for many reasons: he will be less likely to injure or annoy guests with his enthusiastic greeting; you will be better able to control protective behaviors such as barking; he will be less likely to run out the door and be injured or killed by a passing car. Out of control aggressive behaviors such as barking can lead to the dog becoming more confident with what he assumes is his role to protect and defend. The excessive barking can develop into more serious behaviors which can result in a liability to you if the dog bites someone. For all these reasons good training is extremely important to both you and your dog.

Here are some introductory steps to teaching your dog to go to his place.

Use something elevated for a teaching aid. An example of a training cot can be seen at: http://www.dogonittraining.com/video/puppies/F_PuppiesGoToPlace.html . These are excellent teaching aids because they are elevated and help the dog clearly understand the boundary. The reason they are excellent to start teaching this exercise is that it is very simple for the dog to understand that he is either on the place or off the place

Use a leash or line to help guide your dog

We start introducing the dog to the place exercise by asking him to walk on leash with us over the place obstacle. It should not be difficult to walk in a straight line over the place if the dog has been taught to walk and follow you on a leash. The leash is being used at this stage so that if the dog decides to try and avoid the place you may guide him using the leash.

Give your dog the opportunity to choose

Once your dog is on the place allow him the opportunity to step off. Only let the dog get a front foot or two on the ground before immediately guiding him back onto the place as you tell him the word “place” (or what ever word you decide is easy for you to remember). You may give your dog his favorite toy, chew bone or a treat while on the place.
Consistently Reinforce

What ever you teach your dog must be consistently reinforced order for the dog to learn and understand what is expected of him.

By Fred Hassen and Toni Drugmand, Sit Means Sit Dog Training, www.sitmeanssit.com
Ask The Trainers:
For email questions about training your puppy or dog contact:
Toni Drugmand at tdrugmand@aol.com Or Fred Hassen Fred@sitmeanssit.com

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