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What Is Place Training?

Imagine if you could send your dog to a bed in the corner of the room and then bring in shopping through the open front door while they stay there. Or while you hoover. Or cook dinner. Or while there's a parcel delivery. You get the idea. Place training is one of my favourite things to train and without a doubt one of the most valuable thing in any trainer's toolkit because it's just so versatile. We're going to take a look into what Place Training is, what you can use it for, and how you can use it to improve your life with your dog.

Place Training at its most simple is a raised platform bed, usually metal sides with a stretched mesh top, that you send your dog to and they stay on it until you tell them they can leave. They view it as their safe bed space, so they settle easily on it and this allows you to work on all manner of things. I've used Place Training for:

- Dogs that bark at the doorbell

- Dogs that get over-excited at visitors

- Helping dogs settle in multi-dog homes

- Helping dogs settle around cats

- Nail trimming desensitisation

- Hoover desensitisation

- General impulse control

- Dogs that try to rush out of the front door

- Settling in bars and cafes

- Dogs that bark in the garden

- Grooming and handling introductions

Basically any time you need your dog to feel calm, either so they can settle in public or so you can introduce a trigger that would usually cause excitement or stress, the Place bed is there to help. I've personally seen dogs go from lunging at the door, howling, when someone knocks on it to lying on their back on the sofa during a knock, because feeling calm and secure on the Place bed gave them the time they needed to process the door-knocking noise.

I've used our Place bed to bond Mars with our cat, Loki. He used to get so excited at seeing Loki that he would rush over and try to play with him- which Loki did not appreciate. We got Mars to hold Place while Loki moved around the room and now Mars is much calmer around him and can walk right past him without needing Place. (We now get to do it all over again with our kitten, Cucumber).

Place beds are easily accessible and we like the Amazon ones (search: raised platform dog bed), they're around £20 depending on the size you need and they've survived two and a half years of Mars jumping around on them so we can vouch for them lasting.

An added benefit to the material of the bed is that they're easy to wipe and hose down so you can take them outside. When we go to see family we often take a Place bed so we can help Mars settle if he's over-excited. Although for clients that want to take their Place bed out and about we recommend training Place with a blanket over the bed and then removing the bed and training on the blanket- that way you can roll up your blanket and take it anywhere!

In addition to all of this, training the Place cue itself is one of my favourite sessions because it's fast paced, high reward and you will get to see lots of moments of your dog learning and concentrating. We can cover Place Training in virtual training sessions but any reputable trainer near you should be able to help you get started! In young dogs and puppies, we recommend beginning Place training at around 5-6 months of age- holding a Place duration is too challenging for younger puppies.

Happy Training!

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