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Train Your Dog to Go to His Place

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Dog Lying Down in Place
Photo © iStockphoto.com/HKPNC

Training your dog to go to his place can be helpful when you need him to settle down or get out from under your feet. You can pick one place in your home or a different place in each room to send your dog when you tell him to go to his place. This command is fairly easy to teach your dog. Here's how to do it:

What You Will Need

Your dog should know how to lie down on command before you teach him to go to his place. Spend several training sessions working on down. Once your dog is able to reliably lie down on command, you're ready to move on to the place command.

Next, decide where you want your dog to go when you give him the command that sends him to his place. A bed or area rug works well. If you want to be able to use the command in any room, use a portable bed or mat that you can easily move from room to room.

You will also need a handful of treats and a clicker if you plan on using clicker training.

Choose a Command

Decide on a command to use. Using one word usually works best. "Place" is frequently used, but "bed" or "mat" work fine, too.

Lure Your Dog to His Place

Start off by standing close to the bed or mat that will serve as your dog's place. Give him the command "place," and then use a treat to lure him onto his spot. As soon as all four feet hit are on the mat, praise your dog or click the clicker and give him a treat. Repeat this several times. Most dogs will go to the bed or mat on command after a few short training sessions.

Add the Down

Once your dog is putting all four feet on the mat or bed when you give the command, begin asking him to lie down. Give him the command "place," and as soon as he gets to his mat, give the command "down." It may take him a few minutes to comply the first few times, but after a few practice sessions, he should lie down automatically when he gets to the mat after you give him the "place" command. Once he's done this several times, he should only be getting treats and praise when he lies down after you give the "place" command.

Increase the Length of Time

Now that your dog is consistently lying down on his mat after you give him the "place" command, you can increase the amount of time he spends on his mat or bed. To do this, slowly add a few seconds before he gets the treat after he responds to the command. Slowly add small increments of time between the time your dog responds correctly to the command and the time he gets a treat.

If your dog makes a mistake and gets up from his place before you give him the treat, simply give him the "place" command again, and go back to the last point where your dog was successful. By slowly adding to the amount of time your dog stays in his place, you will soon be able to give him the command and have him stay in his place while you have dinner or watch a show.

Move to Other Rooms

If you want to be able to use the "place" command in other rooms, wait until your dog has mastered the command in one place. Once he's done this, move his bed or mat into another room, and start the process again. Or if you prefer not to move his bed from room to room, pick a spot in each room that will serve as your dog's spot when you give him the "place" command.

Many dogs catch on quickly, and will immediately go to their bed or mat and lie down when you give the command in a new room. Other dogs will need to learn that the same behavior is expected in a new room, almost as if you haven't worked on this at all. If this is the case with your dog, start from the beginning by giving the command and luring him over to his mat. Then, simply follow the steps to teach him to lie down on his place. Again, wait until he's mastered the "place" command in the new room before you move onto the next room.

Most dogs learn this command fairly quickly. With just a few short training sessions, you should have a dog who finds his bed or mat on command.

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