The Magic of "Place"
Usually the top go-to commands for dog owners are Sit, Down, and Shake – but I've got another one for you that will change the name of the dog-training game: Place.
"Place" is a command used along with a pointing motion to have a dog move onto a specific object. It could be anything from a couch to a small towel, anything that's easy enough for the dog to distinguish the boundaries of the object from the surrounding area. The dog remains on the object until they're released.
Okay, but why should my dog know how to stand on a towel?
Well, a few reasons:
There may be a time when you're moving something around the house or fixing equipment and your trusty four-legged helper could potentially hurt themselves if they try to assist. Putting them in a Place ensures they stay out of harms way.
When the leash comes out and a W-A-L-K is approaching, using Place can help your dog control their excitement. Using a dog bed and consistently releasing your pup once they've calmed down will help create an association of calm behavior with the bed and help them calm down faster. A calm pup means less leash pulling on the walk, too! This can also be done when guests come over for preventing jumping.
Arguably the best benefit of Place is that not only does it prevent your dog from leaving the boundary of the object, it prevents scary things from getting in! For dogs that are fearful, being in a Place establishes a clear safe space for them. No human or other animal should interact with them while they're in a Place and soon your dog will connect the command with safety. This will make them more comfortable in new situations because they'll have a familiar and comforting safe spot. You can also try Placing them on challenging objects or objects that are safe, but your pup fears. Getting them on top of new objects successfully builds trust and as long as it goes well, your pup will learn the objects are not as scary as they thought.
Stay tuned for more information on how to train Place!