There's a Place for that!

We’ve heard it multiple times. People call us up flustered that Buster got into the trash again. One of our first questions is " Have you been utilizing the Place command?" and the answer is no. Place is an invaluable tool but when we ask the reason why they don’t put their dog on place, it's because they feel guilty that their dog is bored laying there all day.

Place is crucial to your obedience routine because it helps give your dogs a spot they know good things happen, but also where they can relax and just hang out. If you haven’t already, I’d strongly recommend that you check out our “Power of Place” blog to outline why place is so important and how to go about implementing it into your daily life.

Place is utilized for many different things. 

Scenario #1

Is there a Guest at Your Door?

Solution #1

Send your dog to place to avoid your guest getting jumped on, or greeted over enthusiastically.

Scenario #2

Are you attempting to make dinner and your dog is underfoot in the kitchen?

Solution #2

Send your dog to place to avoid begging or counter surfing.

Scenario #3

Does your dog have the zoomies and are they running around the house like a lunatic?

Solution #3

Send your dog to place to calm down and gives them mental stimulation instead.

Recovering from Expected or Unexpected Surgery or Injury
dog emergency

The place command comes in handy more than just the scenarios listed above. Has your dog ever been injured and put on restricted movement? You can either kennel your dog throughout their entire recovery period or you can have them on place. Recently Nissu, my service dog broke her paw and the recovery took 4 weeks of restricted movement. The place command was my all time favorite command during this time because she didn’t have the freedom to run through the entire house risking further injury, it allowed her time to recover, and she didn’t have to be kenneled all day to get better.

Maybe your dog doesn’t have random injury from an accident. Maybe your dog has just come home from getting spayed or neutered. The place command is your best friend! When any dog is recovering you want to be sure that they do not run and risk tearing sutures. Having your dog on place with a leash or in their kennel is the best place for them. Remember it is best to keep them crated if they cannot be supervised. Restricting the access helps to keep them calm. If you can’t watch them, you know they won’t be running laps in your house or jumping on anything they shouldn’t.

Take a Detour from your Guilt Trip

Guilt, we get it. We hate seeing our dogs in pain, and  we let behaviors slide because we feel guilty, but structure is key. Dogs don’t understand conditions,  “I’m not normally allowed on the couch but today I am!?” “I never eat human food, but now they’re going to feed me table scraps” Your dog doesn’t know why things changed, they just think that this break in routine may become the new norm. Dog’s don’t understand when we do things because we are acting out of guilt. Think about it. If you’ve ever accidentally stepped on your dog’s paw, the last thing they want is for us to coddle them, and it’s normally the first thing we attempt to do. Are you feeling bad and want to give your dogs ways to have some fun without running around the house? Keep reading for some guilt free tips for keeping your dog entertained.

Working out their Brain

Mental stimulation is important to dogs. Often dogs who are bored get into trouble, because they have nothing to do. By putting your dog on place it helps to give them a mental work out and job. Just like a student gets tired from studying, a dog can get tired out from the mental workout of knowing they need to hold their “place” command.

How Do I Know If My Dog Is Bored?
  • Is your dog destructive?
  • Do you have a counter-surfer or a trash fiend?
  • Does your dog stare out the window and bark at anything that passes by, person, dog, squirrel, car?
  • Do you have a chewer who chews on things they shouldn't? Ex: Furniture, walls, crates, children's toys, electronics
  • Do your neighbors complain that your dog barks all day while you're gone?

Keeping your Dog Entertained

When your dog is bored you can give them three different types of outlets. At K9 Heights we are fans of structured playtime, and not leaving toys out lose in your house. We want your dog to come to you for engagement or to be able to play with a toy. The independence of having free reign of the toy box only reinforces that our dogs don’t need to listen to us, because they can do what they want, when they want.

Interactive Toys

Interactive toys can range from puzzle toys, snuffle mats, and even you! Playing fetch helps to get some energy out but, did you ever consider that a 10 or 15 minute training section going over basic obedience work, either practicing comes, heel, down stays, place, are great ways to mentally stimulate your dog? You engaging with your dog is essential!

A brown and white dog holds a green ball in their mouth.
PlusH Toys

Plush toys or stuffed toys require supervision. They’re great to use to help you interact with your dog playing fetch in the house, or as a reward instead of a treat, but be sure that you’re keeping an eye on your pet. You don’t want them accidentally eating stuffing or a squeaker that could cause a blockage in their stomachs.

Chew Toys

Great examples of chew toys are toys your dog can play with without destroying within seconds. They’re generally harder materials either meant to help clean your dog’s teeth, keep them mentally engaged by trying to get food out, or just giving them something to do while remaining stationary.

There's A Time and Place for Everything!

Boredom Busters for Place : Low Energy Mental Stimulation

Above we mentioned the different types of toys that can be used to keep your dog mentally engaged and prevent boredom. When you need buster to stay calm and entertained here are some mentally engaging activities you can use.

Dental Chew Toys

Giving your dog something to chew on to have ridges or knobs on them to help clean your dog's teeth and give them something to do. You want to be sure that your dog isn’t breaking of pieces that they could swallow or choke on

Basic Training EXERCISES

Depending on your dog’s restrictions you can also work with them on their obedience, running through some basic training exercises. These should be low energy yet mentally engaging for your dog. It doesn’t have to be long but by investing the time in your dog it will help prevent other issues as a result from boredom later.

Filled Bones

Dogs love filled bones from the pet store or the raw femur bones you can get from the meat market or at certain pet stores. Non-Rawhide Bones like these offer hours of fun for your dog and can be better for their stomachs and digestive systems.

Kongs

Try filling a Kong toy with food! If your dog has an easy time getting their reward out of the Kong try freezing it. It makes your dog work longer to get the treats out!

  • Option 1: Fill your Kong with Kong branded filler from your local pet store
  • Option 2: Fill Kong with a mix of peanut butter and dry kibble (be sure to check those ingredients on peanut butter! Don't feed your dog anything with Xylitol)
  • Option 3: Soak kibble in water, stuff the toy with the soggy kibble and freeze until you want to give it to your dog

Acing Place!

Keeping your dog safe is the key, whether they’re just hanging out on place or recovering from an injury mental stimulation can help them and you stay sane. Don’t let guilt way you down, find ways to help reinforce the structure in your home but to also provide fun for your dog. Try some of these mental engagement tricks and let us know what you think!

Holly is K9 Heights Marketing and Administrative Coordinator, USA Archery 2017 National Women's coach of the year, and was a competitive archer who trained for the 2012 Olympics. When her health no longer allowed her to compete she was introduced to K9 Heights because she needed a service dog. Since being paired with Nissu, Holly and Nissu have grown as a team. While working with K9 Heights as a client, Holly learned so much, and quickly realized K9 Heights training philosophy aligned with much of her own coaching philosophy. After seeing the impact that having a well trained dog had on a persons life first hand, it led Holly to want to be more involved with our program and help other people create those meaningful relationships with their dog too.

2 responses to “Be an Ace at Place

Posted by Miss Pepperdine of Parkshore Lake

Great article!
We have everything we need to implement your Kong suggestions.
We also need to refresh some basic commands. Thanks so much for the reminder!

Posted on November 4, 2018 at 7:36 AM

Posted by Eric Allport

Thank you so much, Wendy! We love it when K9 Heights Family members take the time to share their thoughts with us. Out goal is to put out content that has practical application for anyone who wants to improve the lives of their companions and themselves. Your feedback helps us immensely!

Posted on November 4, 2018 at 9:07 AM

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