The Place Command

The Place Command Works on Front Door Barking

Have you ever wished that when the doorbell rings, your dog immediately goes to his place as you answer the door?  This translates into so many advantages for you as a dog owner. You’ve probably got your own list but let me list the ones just off the top of my head:

  • No barking to limited barking
  • No jumping on our new front door
  • No running out the front door
  • No jumping on visitors and,
  • Trust me there are more than these few I just mentioned

Teaching your dog the Place Command definitely has its advantages.

The Place Command

We began to work with our dog Sammy on the place command last year around this time – Halloween time. What better opportunity to take advantage of all the hobgoblins roaming from door-to-door ringing doorbells with a cheery, “Trick-or-treat!” Hoards of freak-ish costume clad kids are the perfect set up and, in the right neighborhood they just keep on coming until you finally turn the porch light off for the night.

 While the place command is another control or “stationary” command like sit or down, there are definitely advantages to teaching the place command.

 Where you teach your dog to go when you give the command “Place!” is usually his doggie bed. So instead of doing a control command, like down or stay his doggie bed has a more positive association with it cause that’s where he sleeps and rests near you. Now think about how positive his association is with the place command like sleeping and resting near you.   So you are already ahead of the game.

 Teaching the basic place command

 All your dog training, even in the home, should be done on leash until your dog learns his place command. Here are the steps you should take in training this command:

 Guide/lure your puppy to his dog bed or matt

  • Once he is on the bed, praise/treat
  • Once he’s comfortable hopping on the doggie bed, release him with, “Okay!”
  • If he happens to get off before you release him, quickly lead him back on his place. Praise.
  • Gradually require him to stay on his place for longer periods of  time.
  • The last piece is to add more distractions that are relevant to you like; kids visiting your kids, etc.

Repeat the above and remember that each time he tries to get off, use your leash as you quickly and gently guide him back on the bed.

Practicing with family and friends, when it is convenient for you, lessens his stress and yours.  So that when you have an actual visitor, you have practiced enough and both you and your dog know the routine.

 Now add the doorbell ring

 You want to make sure that you get the basics to the place command down really well before you begin to add the doorbell ring as the cue for him to go to his place.

 Again, train when it’s convenient for you to train so you both get good at this command.

 Proofing, or distraction training, is important but it is a multi-staged process. By that I mean, first work your dog on getting him really good at going to “place!” BEFORE you add the doorbell into the mix.

 Have someone outside ring the doorbell – followed by your command to your dog, “Place!”   This way you begin to pair the doorbell ring to the command, “Place!”

You eventually begin just ringing the doorbell as you direct your dog (point) to place without saying, “Place!”

 Ideally you want to have worked on this a while, before you add the trick-or-treaters at Halloween as more distractions.

 If you can have as much fun with your dog as we did with Sammy working on his place command, then you have success!

Please comment below and tell us what you think of teaching your dog the place command.  Also please share with others by “Tweeting” and “Liking it on Facebook”

“Together, We Can Raise a Happy and Obedient Dog”

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Jim Burwell is a “thanks for making the impossible, possible” professional dog trainer having trained 20,000+ dogs and counting and serving more than 7,000 clients.  Jim’s easy to follow, common sense, and positive methods have made him the “dog trainer of choice” for 30 years.  One of his clients says it best: There are people who are so good at, and passionate about, what they do, that in their presence, one can’t help thinking that they have found their true calling and are doing exactly what they should be doing on this earth. Jim is one of these rare people. His quiet and understated manner, his effective technique for training dogs (and their families) is something which I feel fortunate to have witnessed and in which to have been an active participant.  Jane Wagner

(c)Jim Burwell Inc.

3 replies
  1. Jim
    Jim says:

    Marjean: Good question! The most critical thing(s) to remember in conditioning a dog are:

    1. Mark the behavior you want first (go to place) with a “click” or “Good!”
    2. Wait at least 1/2 of a second before treating. You can treat on the bed or off the bed – doesn’t really matter – as long as you marked the behavior when your dog gave you the behavior you asked for (got on place or sat.)

    Thanks for asking!

  2. Marjean
    Marjean says:

    Jim, I was wondering why you rewarded Sophie when she got off the mat. I have always rewarded my dog while they are still doing the behavior, then releasing them.
    I like your positive methods and the relationship you have with the dogs you do the videos with!
    Thanks for being a great example.

  3. Kitty
    Kitty says:

    I’m going to work on this tonite! Using a dog bed makes sense since they like to go to their bed anyways.

    I like your site – very informative Thanks

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