An image of a black German Shepherd during his board and train obedience course in Denver. During this picture, we were working on his reactivity and the "Place Command"

Obedience Training for Dogs: How to Teach Your Dog the “Place Command”

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Ian Lieberman

Co-Founder & Lead Trainer

Obedience training is an essential part of dog ownership. Not only does it teach your dog to be well-behaved, but it also strengthens the bond between you and your furry friend. One valuable command to teach your dog is the “Place” command. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of the Place command, how to prepare for obedience training, and a step-by-step guide to teaching your dog this useful skill.

Understanding the Place Command

The Place command is used to instruct your dog to go to a designated spot, such as a bed, mat, or designated area, and remain there until released. This command is useful in various situations, such as when guests arrive or when you need your dog to stay in a specific location for safety reasons.

This command is a great way of managing dogs who have lots of energy, reactivity and are possibly struggling with greetings.

Why the Place Command is Important

Benefits for your dog

The Place command helps your dog feel secure and relaxed in their environment. It provides a sense of structure and routine, allowing them to understand what is expected of them in certain situations. Additionally, it can help reduce anxiety and stress, as your dog will have a “safe space” to retreat to when needed.

Benefits for you

Teaching your dog the Place command can significantly improve your life as a pet owner. It allows you to manage your dog’s behavior more effectively, particularly in situations where they may become overexcited or anxious. It also promotes a stronger bond between you and your dog, as they learn to trust and respect your guidance.

[WATCH] Before & After Obedience Training

Before Learning the Place Command

This is the story of Cadbury, a fantastic 80 lbs German Shephard we had the privilege to work with. Cadbury had a ton of energy and demonstrated lots of jumping and reactivity, which could be potentially dangerous if you have kids or older visitors at home.

After Learning the Place Command

After Cadbury successfully learned the command, the expectation was that he would stay in his place bed even when visitors enter the home or other dogs are within the same living space.

Preparing for Obedience Training

Choosing the right location

Select a quiet, distraction-free area for training sessions. This will help your dog stay focused on the task at hand. As your dog becomes more proficient with the Place command, you can gradually introduce distractions to build their resilience.

Gathering the necessary tools

Before starting the training process, gather essential tools, such as a leash, treats or toys for rewards, and we highly recommend a place bed. Alternatively, you can try a mat or dog bed.

Consider a Dog Obedience School

For some dog owners with busy lifestyles, finding the time and patience to train their dog may be a challenge. In these cases, opting for a professional dog trainer or enrolling your dog in a dog obedience school might be the best solution.

Most academies offer structured courses and a dedicated environment to teach your dog essential commands, including the Place command. With the guidance of experienced trainers, your dog will have the opportunity to learn and practice obedience skills in a controlled setting. Additionally, dog obedience schools often provide socialization opportunities, allowing your dog to interact with other dogs and people, further enhancing their learning experience. By considering a dog obedience school, you can ensure your furry friend receives the training they need while accommodating your busy schedule.

Training Your Dog with Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a proven method for effectively training dogs. This approach involves rewarding your dog for performing a desired behavior, which encourages them to repeat the behavior in the future. Use praise, treats, or toys as rewards during the training process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching the Place Command

Step 1: Introduce the command

Begin by leading your dog to the designated “place” item using their leash. As they approach the item, say the command “Place” in a clear and firm tone. Once your dog steps onto the item, reward them with praise, treats, or a toy.

Step 2: Rewarding success

As soon as your dog is on the designated item, shower them with praise and rewards. This will help them associate the Place command with positive outcomes. Be consistent with your rewards, as this will reinforce the behavior you want them to learn.

Step 3: Adding distance

Gradually increase the distance between you and the designated item as your dog becomes more comfortable with the command. Start by taking a few steps back before giving the command, and continue to reward your dog when they successfully follow the instruction. Over time, your dog will be able to respond to the command from greater distances.

Step 4: Adding distractions

Once your dog reliably follows the Place command from a distance, introduce distractions to further solidify their understanding of the command. This could include other people, noises, or other pets in the environment. Start with minimal distractions and gradually increase the level of difficulty as your dog becomes more proficient.

Step 5: Increasing duration

The final step in teaching the Place command is to increase the amount of time your dog stays in the designated spot. Begin with short durations, such as 30 seconds, and gradually increase the time. Always reward your dog for staying in place and release them with a separate command, such as “Release” or “Okay,” to signal that they are free to leave the designated area.

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Some common mistakes when teaching the Place command include:

  1. Failing to reward your dog consistently: Be sure to provide rewards every time your dog successfully follows the command, especially during the early stages of training.
  2. Moving too quickly through the steps: Take your time and ensure your dog has mastered each step before moving on to the next.
  3. Becoming frustrated: Remember that training takes time and patience. Stay calm and positive, even when your dog makes mistakes.

Teaching the Place Command to Puppies

Puppies can start learning the Place command as early as eight weeks old. Keep in mind that puppies have shorter attention spans, so keep training sessions short and fun. Be patient, and don’t expect your puppy to master the command right away.

Teaching the Place Command to Older Dogs

Older dogs can also learn the Place command, but it may take longer to break old habits and establish new ones. Be patient and consistent with your training, and remember that it’s never too late for a dog to learn new skills.

Advanced Training Tips

Once your dog has mastered the Place command, you can incorporate it into more advanced training exercises, such as teaching them to go to their designated spot from different locations in your home or while off-leash.


The Place command is a valuable tool for managing your dog’s behavior and promoting a sense of security and structure in their lives. With patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can teach your dog this essential skill and improve your relationship with your furry friend.



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