In addition to teaching your dogs to come when called and walk nicely on a loose leash, a lot of attention should be spent on the place command as art of your initial training foundation work. The place command is one of the most useful skills that you can teach your dog. When we teach your dog to place, we are simply teach them to target a specific location and respect the boundary of that location. In the simplest definition, place simply means to put all four paws on an object (that is different from the ground) and remain on that object.
The object that you are using as a place can be a dog training placeboard, a dog bed, a bench, or anything else that a dog can comfortably get all four of their paws onto. As your dog gets the concept of the place command, you can use your imagination and advance their skill level by placing them on other objects like tree stumps, a brick, and even your own body.
When starting to teach targets, or any other skill, you want to use every advantage available to help your dog succeed. Keeping this in mind, we are going to use target objects that hold certain qualities that are going to help our dog learn. Here are some things that we look for in selecting a target:
- An obvious difference in height between the target and the ground
- An obvious difference in texture between the target and the ground
- Large enough item for the dog to comfortably get onto
- Not too large that the dog can not visualize the boundary
- Stable enough to handle the weight of the dog
- Secure enough that it is not going to slide freely on the ground