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Whether you have guests over, you’re receiving a delivery, or you’re preparing dinner, it’s useful to tell your dog to go to their place. This way, you know exactly where your dog is and you don’t have to worry about them being underfoot.

What You Need to Teach “Go to Place”

  • Treats
  • Your dog’s crate, bed, or a mat (Hint: if you use something portable like a mat you can use the behavior anywhere)
  • Optional: Clicker

Steps For Teaching “Go to Place”

  1. Show your dog the mat or bed and click and reward any attention toward it, such as sniffing or standing on it. Alternatively, you can lure your dog onto the mat with a treat. Then click and reward your dog when they put at least one paw on the mat.
  2. As long as your dog is interacting with the mat, continue to click and treat until they place all four paws on the mat. Click and reward your dog while they are all the way on the mat. Now add your release word. Say the word (such as “free” or “release” then lure the dog off the mat perhaps by tossing a treat or toy. Don’t click or reward the release.
  3. Wait quietly to see if your dog returns to the mat. If they do, click and treat. If they don’t, repeat step two several more times then try again. Once your dog knows the mat is where you want them to be, you can move to step four.
  4. When your dog is on the mat, lure them into a down before you click and reward. Alternatively, you can ask them to lie down with a word or hand signal.
  5. Begin to add duration to the behavior by waiting longer and longer before you click and treat. Remember to work on only one of the three Ds (distance, duration, and distraction) at a time.
  6. Once your dog is happily staying on the mat until they hear the release cue, you can start adding distance to the behavior. Send your dog to the mat from farther and farther away. And begin walking away while they are lying on the mat.
  7. Add distractions to the behavior.
  8. Finally, now that your dog understands the behavior no matter what the circumstance, you can add your cue such as “Bed,” “Mat,” or “Place.”

Test Your Skills

Did you know “go to place” is one of 10 required skills for both puppies and adult dogs in order to complete the Virtual Home Manners title?

For puppies (3 months – 1 year), your dog must come when called from 10 feet away, inside the house. For adult dogs (4 months and older) your dog must come when called from 20 feet away or another room, both indoors.

Related article: How to Teach Your Dog to Come When Called
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