With today being Thanksgiving I decided I would be remiss to not write a piece to help with some of the craziness. Now I know that being 2020 we most likely wont have as many over as we would normally. Despite this, there is still value in helping our dogs learn the art of chill. I will also say this not an exercise you can start this morning and expect that this evening with so many distractions they will be able to master. This command takes work just as any other. However once it is accomplished, you will find so many uses for it! That is the subject of today's blog.
If you follow our social medias, you've heard me discuss place training. Maybe you are unsure what this means. Place training is a simple concept that can be difficult for people to understand simply because its not fun or flashy. We all want our dogs to "be dogs" and just be "free" in our homes. There is value in a dog having a place they are expected to be when asked and them knowing the rules of this place. Enter a cot (to start); in the beginning we lure our dogs onto place until they are comfortable getting on and off. Do not rush this step, we want place to be a positive and relaxing place, not a timeout punishment area. Then you can add in the command, "place", once they step up on it. Then you can change your rewards from luring them onto it, to when they've stayed on it. What we are going for is to be able to send them there with just the command, on or off leash, and have them stay even if we are not next to them.
I always start this exercise on leash, because I want to be able to keep them near me and gently guide them if necessary. If your dog is ecollar trained, you would follow this order; "tap" on their low working level, "place" command, reward based on where you are in the process. If they start to get off, I say "ah, back place" and will use my body and spacial pressure to get them back on place. You can backtie them, meaning put their leash around say a couch leg or a dresser that they can not pull on top of themselves. DO NOT leave a backtied dog unsupervised! Ever. We don't care if they sit, stand, or lay down; but they should not be barking and stressed. Once they understand this command in the house, either take the leash off if they have an ecollar or move to a long line if not to proof this behavior. Once that is mastered, you can take it on the road. They can place on rocks, stumps, carts in stores etc. Place is always something, but it can be anything.
Imagine how much less stressful and enjoyable your holiday can be with a dog on place, not jumping on guests or trying to steal food, but not having to be shut in the other room? It is possible! Its nothing fancy, no one is making TV shows about a dog laying on place while people eat dinner; but this command is one I teach EVERY dog in my programs, no matter what they are here for. I feel it is that important for dogs to learn there are times to release energy and play,
and times when it is expected they stay in one spot and be calm. Keep an eye on our YouTube channel in the next couple weeks for videos of this important skill, and as always if you are confused or need help please reach out!
Happy Thanksgiving Ya'll! Be safe, be grateful, be there for eachother.
For the Dogs,