In today’s world, its becoming more common for work places to allow pets to come into work. This is a huge blessing for owners who would otherwise be separate from their pet for many hours a day and potentially have to pay daycare or dog walking costs for the long hours they work.
If you are able to take your pet to work, its important your pet be a well behaved member of the work place. In addition to being friendly (and fully potty trained!), there is one behavior we highly recommend you teach your dog if you’d like them to be a welcome part of your work place.
The behavior we recommend you start working on with your pet is “Place”. This is a command we teach in all of our Boot Camp programs at OC Dog Ranch. Place means for the dog to go to their bed, lay down, and stay until told to get up.
You can use anything for a “place” but the key is that its easy for the dog to get on and off of. Some owners use a mat like this one, some use an elevated dog cot like this one, or you can use a rug or towel on the ground. We have even taught dogs a modified version of place telling them to go to a landing, stairway or hallway – it can honestly be any place that is clearly defined for the dog.
Teaching place can be done in a variety of ways. One simple way you can start with even the youngest of puppies is with these steps below:
Get a baggie of soft, high value food! We did a blog on what we like for training treats that you can read here.
Pick one type of bed that you want to use as a place. Eventually your dog can discriminate and go to multiple types of places but in the beginning stages, keep it simple and pick *one* type of place.
Start close to the mat and have the dog down on the bed. Typically I will use the food to lure the dog over to the bed and bribe them into a down. I do this by pinning my hand with the treat on the bed and when the dog collapses, I open my hand and reward with the treat. If the dog doesn’t offer the down, you can use your other hand to gently pet them into a down.
Pick a word that is going to be your ‘release’ word — something that tells the dog that they are all done and able to move around freely again. Once the dog is in a down, release the treat and then release the dog with their release word.
Move the dog away from the bed and then get closer. If you repeat this 5-10x, they will typically start anticipating what you want and start to run over to the bed on their own.
Once you get the dog anticipating and running to the bed from further distances, you can start adding new challenges (sending from different directions, different rooms, etc. Then we start adding a longer stay on the bed. We reward the dog for staying and start adding distractions. If the dog breaks the place command early, we simply help them back to the bed. We want the dog to learn that if they stay on the bed, they get rewarded and if the break, that they will be made to go back bed so they might as well just stay there.
This is a simplified version of how we teach the place command in all of our boot camp programs. The important part to remember is to start in a low distracting environment and gradually work your way to higher distractions. If you expect your dog to lay down quietly while you are working, its important to practice at home too. Its very easy to incorporate into your daily routine — while getting ready for work, while making dinner, etc. These are all great opportunities to practice your “place” command so that its ready and proofed for when you take your dog to work!
If you have any questions please drop us a comment below! If you are interested in finding out more about our boot camp programs. you can contact us at http://www.ocdogranch.com