• March 12th, 2021
    Written by: Kimberly

    A dog underfoot in your kitchen or jumping up on guests when they come in the door can be frustrating. Having your dog in the kitchen or waiting under the dining table for scraps can also be dangerous if they get a hold of something they shouldn’t. One way to stop these behaviors and get your dog out from underfoot is to train them to go to a “place.”

    Your dog should learn to go to their place - a dog bed, a rug, their crate, or some other area - at your command. You can choose any setting, but a portable dog bed or mat can be easily moved from room to room as you teach the skill in new areas. When taught, you can always get your dog out from beneath your feet with a command.

    How to Train Your Dog with a “Place”

    Training begins by choosing where your dog will go and getting her to love her place. Give your dog positive associations with your chosen place by giving her treats or toys on the bed or rug. When she goes to her place on her own, reward the behavior. If your dog already enjoys relaxing on her bed, you can continue using that for training.

    Once your dog is used to the mat in their space and beginning to interact with it, you can start training. It is best if your dog already has a release word and knows the command for lay down before proceeding with these steps:

    • Get Your Pet Onto the Mat - Reward with a click or treat when your dog gets onto the mat. If she doesn’t get on all the way already, go slowly. First reward for getting one paw on and work up until she is entirely on the mat. Release your dog with her command or lure her off the mat.
    • Reward a Return - From here, you want your dog to return to the mat on her own. If she does, treat her. If she isn’t going back to the mat on her own yet, repeat the previous step a few more times.
    • Put Your Dog Into a Down - With your dog on the mat, prompt her to lay down and reward her when she does.
    • Build On with Duration, Distance, and Distraction - Let your dog spend an increasing amount of time laying on her mat, waiting a little longer to give her the reward. Then add in distance by having her go to her place from further across the room. Finally, use distractions, such as someone in the kitchen or someone at the door, while you send your dog to the mat.
    • Name the Command - When your dog consistently goes to her place, give the command a name like “mat,” “bed,” or “place” so she knows what to do every time.

    With a solid “place” command, you can work on many unwanted behaviors from your dog. Continual use of the command and positive reinforcement can teach her to always go to her place in certain situations, giving her an alternative response when she gets excited or rambunctious.