Place Training, Part One
Place training is one of the coolest and most useful things I’ve learned over the past few years. I was unaware of this type of boundary training before I started working at Wildrose Kennels. Mike Stewart, owner and lead trainer at Wildrose, has ingeniously created the Wildrose Way of training, and place training is at the heart of it. It’s simple, really. The dog learns to stay within a defined area for long periods of time. They don’t have to stay in a sit or a down; they can get up and stretch and rearrange, but no matter what, they must stay within the lines.
It’s easiest for a puppy, or dog, new to “place training,” to start with an elevated surface. It’s a more deliberate decision for them to step down off of an elevated surface than it is for them to walk off of a dog bed or a mat. I recommend Kuranda beds; I use these for my dogs and love them. They’re durable and easily washed with a water hose. When ordering you can choose the waterproof fabric option and if your dog is wet, or your pup has an accident, no water leaks through to your floor. The elevated bed is also great for senior dogs that have arthritis or other joint issues because it gets them off the hard floor.
You can easily transfer “place” from an elevated surface to something smaller and more easily moved by first training your dog to stay on place, and then adding the portable mat on top of the elevated surface. Once the dog has learned place on the mat, on the bed, you can eliminate the bed and use the mat on a surface of your choosing. I will cover this in a future post once Dean has progressed to that stage.
To start your puppy on place training, watch the video below. The steps are simple:
- Place your dog on the elevated surface of your choice.
- When the pup bolts off of place and takes off running (which WILL happen), pick him up and place him back on the bed.
- Remain quiet. There’s no need for any verbal correction.
A few pointers:
- Don’t stress out if it takes a little while. I can almost guarantee it will take longer for older dogs than it does puppies.
- It’s all about consistency. Try not to let them break from place and self-reward by getting food, water, or a toy. Grab them and put them back, EVERY time!
- Don’t leave the bed that you’re using for place training down when the dog has free roam of the house. If you do, they will choose to get on the bed, then choose, on their own, to get off. It will condition the act of breaking from place as acceptable sometimes.
- Start small. Train in short sessions. When they decide to relax on place, reward them by releasing them and letting them have some playtime. By doing this, the dog will realize that when they bolt off of place they get put back on, but when they relax and lie down quietly, they get to get off and play. You should work on building duration over many sessions.
- TRAIN, DON’T TEST. This is a great training “mantra” that I learned from Mike. Do NOT test your dog. Train your dog. Be in the moment, physically and mentally, while working with your pup on “place”. If you put them there and leave the room they have the opportunity to break from place and go play, undoing your previous progress.
Good luck with place training! I’d love to see how it goes for you. Post videos on my Facebook page and if you have any questions be sure to ask me there!
Check out Wildrose’s Facebook page here.