Teaching Your Dog to Settle: The Ultimate Guide to Using a Place Command

A brief overview of how to use a place item for dogs, including the definition of the place command, tools required, training techniques, benefits, tips for successful training, and adapting the training as dogs grow.

selective focus photography of three brown puppies

Understanding the Place Command

The place command in dog training is a valuable cue that teaches dogs to settle down in various situations, providing them with a familiar and comfortable space while also helping to replace undesirable behaviors such as barking, jumping, or begging for food. This command can be introduced and trained with minimal tools, making it accessible for many dog owners. Starting with a portable bed or mat, dog owners can initiate the training process in a straightforward and practical manner, ensuring that their dogs have a designated spot to go to when given the cue.

When introducing the place command, it is crucial to begin the training in a quiet environment with minimal distractions. This setting allows the dog to focus on learning the new behavior without being overwhelmed by external stimuli. By starting in a calm environment, the dog can better understand and respond to the command, setting a strong foundation for successful place training. This step also helps to establish a positive association between the place item and a sense of security and relaxation for the dog, which is essential for effective training.

Introducing and Training Dogs to Use a Place Item

To introduce and train dogs to use a place item effectively, it is important to understand the step-by-step process involved. Beginning in a quiet environment with minimal distractions allows the dog to focus and learn the initial stages of the training. First, the dog is introduced to the place item, such as a portable bed or mat, through shaping or luring. This involves encouraging the dog to explore and interact with the item, eventually leading to the dog placing all four paws on the mat.

Once the dog is comfortable with the place item, the next step is to add duration, distance, and distractions. This means gradually increasing the time the dog spends on the place item, moving away from the item while the dog remains in place, and introducing mild distractions to test the dog’s focus and obedience. Incorporating positive reinforcement and high-value treats plays a crucial role in this process, as it helps the dog associate the place item with positive experiences, making the training enjoyable and effective. By rewarding the dog for using the place item, the desired behavior is reinforced, and the dog is more likely to willingly comply with the place command in the future.

Benefits of Using a Place Item for Dogs

When it comes to the benefits of using a place item for dogs, the advantages are multi-faceted. Firstly, a place item can be a versatile tool that provides dogs with a familiar and comfortable space in various situations, whether it’s indoors at home or during outdoor adventures. For instance, introducing a portable bed or mat as a place item can help the dog feel secure and relaxed in new or unfamiliar environments, which is particularly valuable during travel or when visiting new places.

Moreover, the use of a place item for dogs can go beyond just physical comfort. It can also contribute to the mental and emotional well-being of the dog. By having a designated place to go to, dogs can experience mental stimulation and emotional development [3]. For example, by associating the place item with positive experiences and using it as a safe retreat, dogs can build a sense of security and confidence, which is especially beneficial for anxious or nervous dogs. This can also foster a sense of independence and a feeling of having a safe haven within their environment, ultimately contributing to their overall well-being.

Tips for Successful Place Training

When implementing place training for dogs, it is important to gradually increase the duration of time the dog spends on the designated place item. This can be achieved by initially starting with short intervals and then slowly extending the duration as the dog becomes more accustomed to the command. For instance, you can start with a few seconds and gradually work up to several minutes, rewarding the dog for remaining in place. This method helps the dog develop a stronger understanding of the command while also building patience and self-control.

In addition to increasing duration, introducing distractions gradually is another key aspect of successful place training. This involves exposing the dog to various distractions, such as people walking by, other animals, or enticing smells, while reinforcing the command for the dog to remain in place. For example, you can ask a friend to walk by while the dog is on the place item and reward the dog for maintaining its position despite the distraction. This step helps the dog learn to focus on the command even in stimulating environments, ultimately leading to a well-behaved and obedient pet.

Furthermore, when mistakes occur during place training, it is important to handle them calmly and provide correction using positive reinforcement. This involves redirecting the dog back to the place item without displaying frustration or anger. By doing so, the dog learns that returning to the designated spot is the correct behavior, and positive reinforcement, such as verbal praise or a treat, reinforces the desired response. This approach helps create a positive and encouraging atmosphere for the dog, fostering a strong bond between the owner and the pet while effectively instilling the place command.

Adapting Place Training as Dogs Grow

As dogs grow and develop, it’s essential to adjust the place setup to meet their changing requirements. For instance, when a puppy grows into an adult dog, the size of the place item may need to be increased to ensure the dog has enough space to settle comfortably. Additionally, the location of the place item may need to be adapted based on the dog’s behavior and the family’s daily routine.

Moreover, as the dog becomes more familiar with the place item and its purpose, it’s possible to expand the use of the place command beyond the confines of the home. For example, the same training principles can be applied to create a designated space for the dog during outdoor activities or adventures. This extension of the place training helps the dog feel secure and content in various environments, promoting a sense of comfort and stability.


Incorporating place training for dogs is essential for providing comfort, security, and a sense of place for the dog, offering numerous benefits that contribute to their overall well-being and behavior. The place command not only teaches dogs to settle down in any situation, but it also replaces undesirable behaviors such as barking, jumping, or begging for food. For example, by using a portable bed or mat as the place item, dogs can learn to associate this defined space as a safe and familiar area where they can relax and feel secure, helping them to exhibit calmer behavior in various situations.

Moreover, incorporating place training for dogs also includes teaching them to understand the release cue, introduce the place command, and lie down command, gradually increasing the duration, distance, and distractions, and finally introducing the cue word. Positive reinforcement is a key aspect of this training, as it helps dogs associate the place item with positive experiences and rewards, making it a place they naturally gravitate to. By consistently using high-value treats and rewarding the desired behavior, dogs learn to love their place and understand that it’s a space where they can feel at ease, thus reinforcing the positive effects of the training.

In summary, the place command plays a crucial role in providing dogs with a secure and familiar space, teaching them to exhibit desirable behaviors, and offering mental and emotional benefits. By incorporating this training, dog owners can create a positive and safe environment for their pets, helping them to feel more secure and relaxed in various situations, while also contributing to their overall well-being [1].

Similar Posts