The benefits of place training for dogs

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One of the most useful things an owner can teach their dog is place training. This includes “On Your Bed” or “On Your Mat” and can provide many benefits to help keep your dogs safe and/or under control in a variety of situations.

The benefits of place training

Place training is great for independence training as they learn to spend some time alone, and great for meal time when you don’t want begging eyes looking up at you.

If your dog is stressed, anxious or nervous, place training can also help your dog learn to cope with his surroundings and provides them with their own, safe spot to go to if it is always done in a positive way.

It can help dogs that spend a lot of time outdoors learn how to behave calmly inside the home and have them lay quietly, chewing a toy or treat until we give them a release cue.

Place training can also be a useful tool to stop unwanted behaviour, such as barking or over excited greetings and jumping when people enter the house.

Instead of allowing your dog to rush up and jump on people as they enter the house, you can give your dog the “on your bed” cue so they instead rush to their bed where they wait to be greeted by the incoming guests.

You can also take it out or away with you when you need to keep your dog calm.

Teaching place training
  • To teach your puppy or dogs place training, such as “on your mat” one of the simplest ways is to lure them over to the mat with a treat.
  • As the dog steps fully onto the mat mark with a clicker, “yes” or “good dog” and reward with the treat.
  • Repeat this several times and add the verbal cue “on your mat” or “on your bed.”
  • Again mark and reward with the treat as soon as the dog steps onto the mat.
  • Keep practising this until you are sure your dog has made the connection between the cue and action.
  • Once you are sure your dog has made the connection between the cue words and action, without the lure, point towards the dog’s mat giving the cue “on your mat” or “on your bed” and reward with a treat once the dog steps onto the mat.

We always want the mat to be a rewarding, positive place for the dog to be and then we will try to extend the time the dog stays on the mat.

Extending time on the ‘place’
  1. You can do this by restraining the dog on lead while lying on the mat and provide a long lasting chew.
  2. After a few minutes remove the chew from the dog and take the dog off the lead.
  3. Wait a while then encourage your dog back on to the mat, put back on lead and reward them with the remainder of the chew.
  4. Teach your dog another great way of staying on the mat by placing the mat near your feet when you are sitting and watching TV at night.
  5. Every few minutes sprinkle some tiny pieces of broken treats on the mat rewarding the dog for quietly laying on the mat.
  6. Your dog will soon learn that the mat or bed is a great place to be and you can work on increasing the time you want them to spend there with positive rewards based training.

For more dog training tips and tricks visit  our Training & Behaviour section.

About the Author: Lara Shannon is a certified dog behaviourist and trainer, pet food nutrition specialist, Executive Producer and Host of Pooches at Play on Channel 10 and editor of Poochesatplay.com. Lara also runs her own dog training business in Melbourne’s Bayside area and is the Author of World of Dogs and Eat, Play, Love Your Dog

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