Saturday, September 10, 2011

Today's Lesson: "Go To Place"

This is a handy behavior to teach any dog, including dogs residing in the barn. There will be times in a dog's life when he or she is needed to remain in one place for some period, whether a minute or two or even an hour or two. Having a safe place to hang out for a while with no other expectation accept to remain there can also help a dog relax and feel secure.

While living at the barn, the dogs can use "go to place" to remain in one spot while one of their barnmates is either brushing up on training or even playing. They have a beautiful vantage spot from the porch. Having a little downtime at their "place" can provide a much needed respite after working hard or playing hard.

Here's Star demonstrating her command of this command:
For such an active girl as she is, being able to remain in one location will help her recover, relax, and cool down, too.

Once the barn residents are in their own permanent homes, this handy behavior could be used for a variety of situations they will encounter in everyday canine life. Guests and friends arriving creating lots of excitement and anticipation: let's wait at my place until everyone is inside and the door has been closed. A delivery being made to my home (could be that mammoth bag of bully sticks mom ordered): a good place to wait until the delivery has been made would be my favorite mat. Noisy children coming over who might forget how to be calm when approaching a dog: helpful to wait patiently while the youngsters are reminded how to act appropriately around the family canine.

"Go to place" is also extremely useful if one of the barn residents gets involved with a canine sport. The athlete can quietly and calmly wait in his or her place while watching competitors run an agility course or complete a rally course. And certainly we've had some dogs spend time at the barn who would make excellent therapy dogs. Staying in place is exactly what's needed while a child reads to him or her, or remaining on a stool so someone lying in bed is able to reach down and pet a therapy dog providing comfort and reassurance.

Even Captain Spanky, only residing at the barn for a short time now, picked up this new behavior very quickly, as he shows here: The barn dogs are provided with lots of opportunities to learn behaviors that will help them be quickly successful in their new homes, but can also serve them well should they want to make their marks on the world in other ways. Who could resist settling down with either Spanky or Star for some restful, therapeutic dog time?


  1. Oh, this would be a great tip post. My three need this very badly. I can get them to sit and stay for about 3 seconds.

  2. I'd snuggle with Spanky! I can't resist a "blue"! :)

  3. We love "Go to Place" (our is "Go to your mat"). It is amazing for all dogs but, as I know you know well, it is exceptional for fearful dogs. Such an incredible and relatively easy way to teach them to calm themselves - both body and mind - in a safe enviornment. We esepcially love taking the mat on the road with us and watch fearful dogs be able to process new sites/sounds/people/etc with confidence because they have their trusty mat to keep them safe.

  4. Very good point, morroje, and thank you for mentioning it. It is an incredibly helpful tool for fearful dogs if they have a spot regardless of wherever they are they can feel safe and secure. I've witnessed my own nervous boy take himself to his mat to settle when he's starting to get overwhelmed and even not worry over nearby yelling toddlers while he's in his "place." Certainly has helped me feel more confident if I know he can relax when in unfamiliar environs.


Thanks for your comments, questions and feedback!