The K9 Companion class began as an entry level training course for dogs that are 6 months or older. The concepts, however, can be used for all ages of dogs including puppies. The class introduces you to reward-based training techniques that will help you communicate to your dog a basic vocabulary of commands and will strengthen the bond you have with your dog to help make him or her a better house companion. Please review all the weeks because information in latter weeks make be useful immediately. Certainly there are various sequences in which the exercises may be taught and you should do what works best for you and your K9 Companion.

Introduction to Place

What is the principle behind PLACE? This command can be used to teach basic and advanced forms of obedience in virtually any stage of training, whether it be simple good citizen work around the house or work that prepares you for competition. Basically, it is the premise of using a PLACE from which the dog must learn to work. Thus, a PLACE is made to simplify things in training by means of a mat or board that can be set just about anywhere that a session warrants. It can even be used to convey a "go to your PLACE" command when your dog is in the house.

Imagination provides for many different varieties of workable PLACE boards. The cheapest variation would be something like a rectangular piece of outdoor carpet. More expensive renditions would include a manufactured (usually homemade) one fashioned from a rectangular piece of plywood that is "raised" from the ground by a base constructed of two-by-four pieces or PVC pipe, either of which will elevate the board generally from two to four inches off the ground. We’re going to start with a mat and then graduate to an elevated board.

Therefore, initially say PLACE while guiding your dog to the mat. When his feet touch the mat, say YES and reward. After he reliably does this with 2 feet, mark and reward only when all four feet are on the mat. Keep working this way until your dog will readily go to the mat on command, then add more distance from you and your dog to the mat. To begin with, do not ask your dog to do anything other than PLACE. Sit, stand or down will come later.

You can add an arm signal as you give your voice command, then remove the voice command and only use your silent signal, if desired. Eventually, you want to be able to put the dog on an extended SIT at a distance from the board, with you another length of distance from the dog, and to be able to command him to his place from your remote location. This is more advanced training so don’t try this or worry about it now.

In this manner, you will be able to tell your dog to go to his place when you are in your home and his place might be the corner of your den, your bedroom, the kitchen or it can be an open crate, a dog bed or a rug by the back door. You will also be able to tell him to go to his place whenever you are in a strange location, such as a motel room or by using his mat or bed.

Once a dog understands going to his place, we’ll introduce a raised place and call it a PLACE BOARD which will be used for more advanced commands such as extended sits and downs. It can be used to even teach your dog to go in a certain direction on a baseball field configuration. Several boards are needed and one is placed at each "base" and on the pitcher's mound. Your dog will then be taught to work away from you and to go in the direction you say.

The place board is a simple training accessory that can be used in many different ways to achieve a remarkable degree of control from your dog at home, on the road, and in any sports you may choose to do. There are a variety of place board types available, and the cost and maintenance of your boards is limited only by your imagination.

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DSC01418 OK…  so it’s not PLACE but it IS TOUCH!