Puppy Training: How to Teach Your Dog

Today, I’m going to teach you one of my favorite commands to teach any dog – puppy or adult – the place command, or “go to bed” command. Basically, this is a send away command. So anytime you have people or company over, or you’re leaving the house, or you just need space, you can send your dog away to a targeted location, to keep them out of trouble.

For training purposes, I like using elevated beds because it’s a little more targeted than a normal bed. It’s a different material and it’s raised, so the dog can really understand the difference between the bed and any other place. However, you can use anything that’s targeted and different from the floor, such as a yoga mat or bath mat.

Step 1: Start by putting the dog on a leash and using a little bit of food to lure the dog into the behavior.

Use the command “place” or “bed” until the dog jumps onto the bed, and then immediately reward the dog with the food or treat, using exaggerated affection and praise to mark the behavior. You want to say things like, “YES! Good girl/boy!” to alert the dog that they’ve done something right, and then repeat the phrase, “Good place” to teach the dog exactly what behavior they did that was good. Then follow up with lots of pats on the back, scratches behind the ears, etc., and repeat this sequence multiple times.

Step 2: The next step is to get the dog to go to the place without a leash, and without you actually standing at the bed.

We start by dropping the leash, but still standing in the general area of the bed. Repeat the same sequence using the command “place” or “bed”. Initially the dog may go to the bed, but still not jump onto it. Continue repeating the command until all four paws are on the bed, and then reward with a nibble of the treat, and the same affection and “Good place” phrasing as before. As your dog gets more comfortable, and learns the behavior, you should be able to move further away.

Puppy Training FAQS

“What do I do if my dog is terrified of the place command?”

If you are using an elevated bed, you can flip it over, so that it’s no longer on raised legs. This takes the fear out of the place, as well as the command. Whatever you are using, you can stand on it with your dog or walk over it with them to get them comfortable with it.

 “What type of treat should I use?”

I use Nature Balance Beef Treats, and I only let the dog get a little nibble. When you’re using food-based reward, you don’t want to overfeed the dog. I literally use the same treat for 5 to 10 minutes, allowing the dog to just get a tiny nibble off the treat throughout the training process.

“Should I make the dog sit or stay when they get to the place?”

For the purpose of the initial training, we really just want all four paws on the bed. When working with puppies, especially, I like to train on each command individually. This forms a really strong foundation for each command separately, and then we can begin to string multiple commands together down the road. So you don’t have to make your dog sit or stay just yet, but you also you don’t want to reward the dog unless all four paws on are the bed.

More Puppy Training Tips

The place command is for you to be able to send your dog away, and, eventually to add on the sit and stay commands, to keep your dog safe and your relationship healthy.

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