The Place Command
Second, only to a really solid recall, the Place command is one of the most valuable things you can teach your dog.
A place command, in case you aren’t aware, teaches the dog to place his body (all four paws) on (or in) the object you designate. The dog has free choice as to how they wish to position themselves. They can sit, lie down, or stand plus are allowed to change position if they desire. The only hard and fast rule are that they keep four paws remaining in or on that area.
Why is Place Such an Awesome Thing to Teach?
It is awesome because of the versatility. There is so many day to day applications of this dog training skill that make life more enjoyable and easier to manage.
Let me illustrate some examples of the versatility of place training by sharing a few personal photos of my dogs.
One of the common uses for the place command is an opportunity to enjoy a meal without having the dogs underfoot. On a recent camping trip, we laid out a small blanket (an Insect Shield Blanket which keeps the bugs from bothering the dogs!)
The dogs remained there until we gave them permission to get up after we had finished our lunch. It made eating stress-free with no begging or having to manage keeping them out of other mischief.
When traveling, my dogs understand that “in the car” is the equivalent place command that allows them free range of movement in the vehicle BUT they should not jump out when I open a door or put down the tailgate. Not only do they load up willingly when told, they understanding they need to keep all paws in the car. This keeps them safe because they won’t jump out until they hear the permission cue that allows them freedom to go.
Sometimes we even have a place within a place. An example of this is having a designated area inside the car to keep the dog from roaming freely from seat to seat. My Duck Toller, Diva, decided to settle in for a nap after I told her to place in one of the seats of our RV.
When you are teaching a concept like this it is important to remain aware that you did give your dog a command. If Diva had jumped out of the seat it would be my responsibility to have her get back up there immediately. If we don’t notice our dog’s mistake within a few seconds of them breaking the command, the timing (and thus the meaning) of the lesson will be lost.
There are also occasional uses where you might find the Place command to be of significant value.
When visiting the veterinarian, “Place” can be very handy in getting the dog to willingly step onto the scale to get their weight. I wasn’t mindful of getting a photo on our last visit to the vet, but I did grab a good picture on a recent outing after I had asked my dog to hop into a kayak.
She balked at first but once I pointed into the bow and asked her to Place she obediently hopped right in and we were soon off and enjoying some time on the water!
The uses are limitless, but before you begin to generalize the place concept to all these varying uses, remember to start simple with a raised platform that is stable and easy for your dog to learn on.
We use dog cots when we start because they are the perfect teaching tool, plus extremely durable and provide years of service as a comfortable dog bed.
If you’ve found some unique uses for your dog’s place command, I’d love to hear about it! Please share here in the comments section or on my Facebook page
I recently received a free DVD for Teaching the Place Command from Robin Macfarlane with a purchase from Gun Dog Supply. Unfortunately, my laptop doesn’t have a DVD drive. Is this course available online? I’d love to watch it as it came with my purchase of 2 CATO boards for my dogs.
Hi Jerri, Please reach out to the folks at Gun Dog Supply. They should be able to help you out and provide digital access for the Place dvd. Thanks! Robin
I like a lot of the advice you give here and on youtube. I agree the place command is very helpful. I am an older person and picking up my almost 60 pounds growing doberman pup to weigh him on my bathroom scale was no longer a good option. After teaching him the place command I fitted the scale with a piece of non slip material. I now have him place and sit on a 12×12 inch scale. It’s great.
Mireille, Thank you for the kind words. Thrilled to hear how you’ve adapted the training to suit a variety of purposes. Good work! Give your pup a scratch from me.