For many dog owners, this pandemic has been an opportunity to bond with their pups. And as fun as spending 24 hours a day, seven days a week together can be, it can also cause some unforeseen issues with you and your pooch.
It seems many of our dogs have become accustomed to having us around all the time, so as we begin to return to our regular lives, it may be quite a shock for them. After following us around all day everyday for so long, it will be hard for them to stop. One way to ease this transition for your beloved pup is the “Place” command.
The “Place” command is exactly what it sounds like. It places your dog in a safe place, and keeps them there until you release them. This is helpful when letting in guests, grabbing the mail, leaving the house, and many other scenarios. Giving your dog a “place” can help make them feel safe and comfortable, even without your direct attention. This “place” can be anywhere your dog is safe and comfortable, such as a crate, cot, or bed.
Here are five simple steps to teach your dog the “Place” command.
The first step in giving your pup a “place” is to teach them to value that place. Have them watch you toss a treat into the bed or crate, lead them away, and then allow them to run back to the food. If they begin to hover in that place awaiting food, reward them. This is the sign you are ready for the next step.
Once your dog understands the value of the bed or crate, you can introduce the concept of staying in the crate until released. Lead your dog gently into the crate, and reward him. Before your dog leaves the crate, state the command “Free,” and toss food away from the crate. This release word teaches your dog that being “Placed” means “Stay until I am released.” Ideally, after some repetitions, your pooch will begin to scamper back to the crate all on their own. Then it’s time for step three.
Once your pup is comfortable entering, exiting, and hovering inside the crate, you can finally introduce the “Place” command. Gently lead your dog into the crate, and say “Place.” Move away from the crate, and if your dog stays, come back and deliver a reward. If your dog moves, simply deliver a “No” or “Uh uh” and lead them back to the crate. After a successful “Place,” give the “Free” command and reward your dog once he exits. Repeat until he is staying in position until you give the release word.
Your pup should now know to stay in his place until he’s given the release word. It’s time to reinforce his understanding of the “Place” command. Say “Place,” and watch to see if your dog will move into position on his own. If he doesn’t, just give him a gentle lead to his position and reward. Move away from the crate—if he stays, move back and deliver a reward. Release with “Free” and repeat.PHOTO COURTESY: K9 PARENT TRAINING»
The final step to the “Place” command is to introduce real-life scenarios. One way to do this may be by utilizing the front door. Knock on your door (from the inside!), give the “Place” command and wait until your dog assumes his position. Open the door for a moment, and if he stays, reward him! Once he has successfully stayed, move back to the crate and give a reward, then release with “Free” and give another reward. If at any point your dog moves out of his place, give a simple “No” and gently lead him back. This scenario can be altered and practiced in whatever manner suits you and your pup’s needs.
Learning the “Place” command will take time and dedication, but it is invaluable as we transition back to our daily life. You can check out the informative YouTube video teaching this activity at bit.ly/K9PT-YouTube Happy training!
Manny Guerra, ABCDT, is the owner of K9 Parent Training. (760) 813-5250 k9parenttraining.com