Dog Behavior & Training

Teaching your Dog the Place Command

Learn more about teaching your dog the place command in our latest dog training article.
Written by Kevin Sando

This simple yet versatile command is something that belongs in every dogs repertoire. The “place” command is also often referred to as “spot”, “bed”,  or “settle”. The basic premise is the ability to point to a spot and have your dog lie down and wait – until given a release command.

This is perfect for situations where you need to keep your dog isolated (or calm them down!) for the safety of themselves or the sake of other people!

Training the “Place” Command (Step-by-Step)

Step 1: Gather Supplies

Gathering supplies to teach Charlie a new trick - treats, treat pouch, clicker and towel.

You don’t need much for this trick – which is one of the best things about it. After it has been learned you can do it virtually anywhere.

Step 2: Charge Your Clicker

Using a clicker to teach Charlie the "Place" command

Before any session of clicker training you will want to reacquaint them with the device. This is done through a quick “charging” session of clicking and feeding treats. No trick required – just associating positive feelings to the sound of each click.

If your dog has never used a clicker, welcome to the world of positive behavior training! Using a clicker is one to easiest ways to positively reinforce desired behavior. Stick with this step until your dog consistently associates the click with a treat. You’ll know the clicker is “charged” when your dog stops whatever he/she is doing when they hear the sound to look at you for a treat!

Step 3: Introduce the Target

Next up you will introduce a towel (or whichever target you have chosen), by laying it out on the floor. When we worked on this step, we chose a towel because of its versatility and mobility. Even if your end goal is for your dog to go to his/her bed with this command, using an everyday object will help with generalization as that item can always be placed on a bed or in a spot later on (see our bonus video at the bottom of this post).

The goal of this step is to reinforce your dog whenever he or she interacts with the towel. Don’t be too picky at first! Even when your dog looks or leans in it’s direction that is a good sign! Move around your chosen “place” to encourage your dog to explore it. Work in a small room or keep your dog attached to a leash to help focus their attention where you want it. Also, keep distractions like favorite toys out of the room. At this point, they will be eagerly and excitedly trying to figure out what you want them to do and some environemental controls  will go a long way! As soon as you see a nose, paw, or body part on the towel-click and treat, click and treat!

Continue working on this action until they get the idea that standing directly on the towel and ultimately laying on it is the sweet spot! You can accomplish this by going slowly and reinforcing them less often for simply putting a paw on the towel and only when they lay on it.

Step 4: Add the Command

Now that your dog is starting to understand that the towel is a good place to be, it is time to add the command you wish to pair with the action. We use “place”, but other common varients include “home”, “bed”, and “spot.” Whichever word you choose, you will want to start repeating it (along with the click and treat) every time your dog gets onto their target.

Step 5: Add Time & Generalize 

Once your dog can consistently lay on their spot when given the command, think about adding some sophistication to your trick! You can turn it into a steady obedience command by adding time to their stay on target or moving the target item into new spots, on a dog bed, etc. (see below) After a bit of time you will be able to point to just about anywhere and get your dog to settle!

Great Job!

Now that your pup has mastered this skill, learn how to teach the reverse with dog boundary training! Also, make sure to visit the links below where our fellow pet bloggers are teaching more great tricks as a part of the annual Trick or Treat Giveaway Hop!

About the author

Kevin Sando

Kevin is a mechanical engineer with a degree from the Rochester Institute of Technology. He has move than a decade experience in new product design, prototyping and early stage manufacturing. Pairing this background with his love of dogs, gives him a unique perspective to evaluate the design and execution of new and interesting pet products.


  • This command is on Madison’s homework list this week for her Puppy Einstein class. Bailie and I can do it, but it is a tough one for Madison to learn.

  • no. my dog doesn’t know this…she doesn’t really know any tricks but she is a great lap dog!!

  • I have honestly never heard of this trick before now, but I think it is brilliant!! I rescued a stray a year ago and he has all of the basic commands down, as well as some fun ones. I’m definitely going to try this one next. Thanks!!

  • We are still a work in progress, but we are getting there slowly on our place command. I just use hand commands and treats and that seems to be working pretty well.

  • I don’t have a dog, so no. Cat person here. But if I were to win any doggy prizes, they’d be donated.

  • My dog knows lots of commands and a few tricks! We don’t use a clicker though. as far as tricks go she knows high-five, shake, through (go through a hoop), and twist!

  • Our dog already knows this trick. She knew it when we got her at 3 years old. I am interested in trying the method above in teaching her new tricks. Thank you so much for the detailed explanation of the method!

  • We know the command go to your house. It means we get in our crate and wait. Mom taught us when we were puppies, but we don’t use clickers in our house. One of us was abused before we found this home and clucker noise scares him, so we use voice command and no clicking.

  • I have 1 cat and 1 kitten….but, they would love a $300 shopping spree at PetSmart! My 9 year old cat thinks she’s a dog sometimes, because she plays fetch!

  • Winning this prize pkg would be such a big help for us right now. Thanks for the contest.

  • My dog knows a few basic commands. We got her as an older rescue dog that had been abused. She’s making great strides, really smart and wants to learn tricks.

  • My dog doesn’t know this trick, but I’ll definitely try this method in teaching it!

  • i have worked with this trick with my girls. the older girl was really good. sometimes the girls will come and go to a place but not always. i usually point and say go, then stay. i have never used a towel however, i have used treats.

  • This is a GREAT command to have/reinforce. We use this for our guys when we are eating dinner. Granted one of them does it better than the other….:-)

  • No my two sweet girls have not learned this they do a lot of trick and they are tons of fun to teach and watch learn mommy’s girls..

  • We just say “Go lay (lie) down!” and point and she’ll go over to that general area, but this trick seems more consistent.

  • What an absolute cutie! I have never tried a clicker or to be honest heard of them that much. I have taught my boy simple commands and he seems to follow really well. I think I will try the clicker next!

  • We have 4 dogs, 2 of them are rescjues & they all have learned commands, even the one that is partially deaf

  • Neither pup knows this trick but it would be useful to teach them place when people come over since they can be overly excited.

  • I got a pre-owned rescue dog & she came pre-trained with the place command. So, I didn’t have to train it. Actually, if you put anything even semi-soft on the floor she thinks she is supposed to go lay on it (from a coat to newspapers to a new dog bed).

  • I have only been using the reward system but I’ve been thinking about trying this method out as well. Since we adopted our Sky she has been very willing to learn but now when I pull out a treat she starts rolling over. We are working on staying for longer than a minute has been a challenge so maybe this would help!

  • My dogs know ‘go lay down on your bed.’ We didn’t use a clicker, but seems a lot easier. We just had to repeat it over and over again.

  • Ours is still a puppy, we are still on stop, stay and no right now but will be later on.

  • I have not tried a clicker. After watching your great videos, I learned I should give it a try.

  • We tried a clicker with my fiancé’s dog. It didn’t work well because she is always distracted by anything. She actually had to work with a behaviorist to get better. Since then she is much easier to teach. My little guy is another story. He knew all his commands when we rescued him, but he choses when and when not to obey.

  • One of my cats will go to his bed if I point at it and say bed (or box since they have both). The other cat and dog are not that compliant but the clicker may work for them!

  • this is high on my list of tricks to train. Such a great command. Especially when people come over but we don’t have a lot of visitors to practice this!

  • I’m in love with your step 5 video. Charlie is laying on the edge of the towel and when you say place he’s like “Um, I’m there. Don’t you see I’m touching it?!” And your cat getting comfortable totally made me smile. This is a trick I need to teach my dogs for sure.

  • AWW My dog is a goof no tricks .. he is a 200 pound mastiff that thinks he is s lap dog 😉

  • Josie knows this trick. She can be stubborn though. We didn’t use the clicker.

  • My little Gidget doesnt know this one but she does know sit and stay and come and roll over

  • I really want to try this for my dog. I think it would take a while because he is so stubborn

  • My dogs do not know this, but it would be nice if they did. We will give it a shot.

  • my dog also doesnt know this i taught him to sit by putting treat to nose to make him sit till he learned and he got that one down

  • Never taught the trick. No real reason to, for us. Gavan does sorta do this on his own, anyways. And I don’t like clickers, at all.

  • I feel like I should try these instructions too. While my baby knows the use of a clicker in training and usually obeys commands, sometimes excitement still just wins over reason, lol.

  • My golden know sit and wait only 🙁 I tried the clicker and hand signs as well as verbal commands but he listen best with verbal commands

  • I’m entering to win the gift card for my sister, who is a cat lady! I’m not sure her cats know any tricks, beyond driving her crazy.

  • They know crate but I used treats only with no clicker…I am interested in the clicker method!

  • my dog laughs when i put a rubber chicken on my head and dance least he did..doggie heaven!

  • I don’t have a dog yet, waiting for a friend’s dog to have her puppies! But I will definitely use these methods to train my puppy!

  • No, my dog does not this. I do have one dog that knows sit, lay and shake. The other 2 dogs don’t know anything.

  • My dogs DO know this….however, they also know how to give me the finger when i ask them

  • no i am always trying to find different tricks to teach my dog he is old and doesnt like to be taught new tricks so we have to bribe hi with new toys

  • Unfortunately my dog doesn’t know any tricks. I’ve tried to teach her several times in the past but she just doesn’t get it.

  • I love how we were thinking alike “gather up your supplies – not many needed!” 🙂
    What a great idea to just use a towel for this. I used a bed with Luke, but then again we had beds in every room in the house so that made it easier.
    One of the big uses I have for this is keeping Luke out of the kitchen when I’m cooking. I was really surprised when we moved to our new house and I just gestured outside of the kitchen (I didn’t even say “bed” but I had always used the hand signal too), and he went and laid down in the hallway! I don’t think I ever realized that it would work without there even being a bed there.

  • My dogs don’t know any tricks – except to make food disappear really really quickly. 🙂 But I guess I’ll keep them. 🙂

  • My one dog brings my us our slippers, of coarse, we still need to point to where they are for him, he wont find them on his

  • I didn’t teach my dog “stay” in this manner. A clicker was recommended to use in doggie class but we never did. A treat worked well but really, it only took a few times without a snack for him to learn it.

  • No, my dog doesn’t know this trick. She knows sit, lay down, shake hands, and to jump in the air in a circle on command and that’s it.

  • My dog does not know this trick, but I think I may give it a try. It would useful in time when I need him to go to his “spot” and stay there for a certain amount of time.

  • Our Bella does not know this trick. I will have to see if it’s something the girls are interested in teaching her. Thank you!

  • We use this to tell our dogs to crate or to go to bed at night. They sleep in our room in their own beds.

  • We just got our puppy last month. We haven’t learned this trick yet but we are using a similar method for other training.

  • My dog will go to his spot sometimes LOL. I am going to try this with him for sure.

  • Well, our dogs know the command “bed”, and to go to their respective beds. However, staying there is still a problem!

  • My dog knows this trick but he kind of taught himself. Depending on where we are in the house we would put him in his crate or on his bed while we’re eating. One day we said CRATE in conversation and in he went, does the same thing when we say BED. It’s fantastic and it’s gotten to the point where he’ll stay there until we tell him OK. Although we’ve taken to spelling the words crate and bed in conversation so that he doesn’t run off to them when we don’t want him to. LOL!

  • I am still trying to teach my 1 1/2 year old hyper pup to place before we go on walks, when people come over, but at least he knows to kennel when people come over!

  • My dog Rotten doesn’t know any tricks! He only has one eye and doesn’t see well so it’s hard for him to learn!

  • My doggies doesn’t know any tricks yet but because I just got him recently, I will be teaching him some.

  • I think that I could work with a pet to get her there I’m looking to get a new dog or cat not sure yet.

  • I wish I still had a dog to train with. My German Shepherd was well-trained We even entered a couple of obedience competitions, and we did agility too. SO much fun. I love the process of training, and the bond that’s created. Thanks for sharing!

  • We taught my dog, a Chesapeake Bay Retriever, a few tricks, but without a clicker. We taught him how to give his paw, stay, roll over and fetch his favorite toy. We did this by lots of repetition and associating the behaviors with his tasty treat! I would like to try the clicker however to teach him a few new tricks. Thanks for the nice giveaway!

  • No, my dog does not know this trick or any for that matter. She is a spoiled rotten brat though.

  • This will be useful and I am trying it out. No tricks yet. Work in progress with new puppy>

  • Our older dog is very smart and follows many commands. Our puppy is still learning but she is getting the hang of it. my husbands favorite trick is to put a treat on their noses while they sit still. he has them hold it until he says go and then they flip the treats up and catch them.

  • One of my dogs knows his place. When needed we tell him “Know your place” and he goes to his crate. We taught him by saying that when we put him in for the night during crate training.

  • No she don’t know this trick. She knew a lot of tricks when she was little, but she got sick and we quit working with her. She is better now and we just spend time loving her.

  • Our Bailey does not know this trick but he loves to learn new tricks
    I will work on this one for him.

  • My dog does not know this trick. I am going to have to work with her some more, she is a 9 month chihuahua and stubborn. I taught her a few tricks but then gt frustrated. I am going to try again though, this hop and seeing all of the tips is very encouraging.

    • Definitely give it another shot! They tend to go through different periods as puppies where they are more stubborn so now she may be more receptive!

  • No, I did not know of this command. He does know “Down” though. He graduated his level 1 obedience class and we were very proud of him for that. Your dog is so sweet, very attentive!

    • Down is a great start for this trick – congrats to him graduating his first obedience class!

      Thank you for the compliments on Charlie! Every time we teach him something new we remember how much he enjoys the process and that we should do it more often!

  • This is a great thing to teach your dog. There is something like this called the “Relaxation Protocol” that was very helpful for a nervous dog that I had some years ago.

    • That’s very interesting – we will have to look into it! Charlie does have a tendency to get anxious sometimes.

  • My pooch, Princess, is a little reticent about tricks. I think she feels it is below royalty to do such things. But she is alot of fun anyway!

  • I’m afraid my dog has trained me more extensively than I have trained him. It’s hard to give orders to a an adorable little guy who spent over a year at the animal shelter waiting for someone to love him.

  • My dog knows many tricks and he knows how to target and go to a ‘place’. We trained it similar using a clicker.

  • I’m a bit ashamed to say that none of my dogs know this command. At least not as you teach it. They do (for the most part) know what I mean when I tell them “bed”, but are not consistent in following the command. I really need to teach them more.

  • I have 2 dogs, one of them can do a few tricks. I’m going to try these on her and I know I will get progress! The other pretends to not understand us, but we think she’s a pretty smart cookie!

  • Unfortunetley, my dogs do not know this trick. But now I have to try this with them.

  • I think, before you train the dog, you must train the owner! I admit, I’m a softie and therefore inconsistent with training. I promise to be better!

  • When our dog gets up in the morning, he has to go to all 4 of us to get a good morning. He is a barker and doesn’t like to obey all the time.

  • When my Vance want to treat they just look at the box. I’ll ask them what they want the only thing with at the back door or they’ll look at the Redbox for their treats

  • Sheba is still a pup and thinks everything is just a game so does not know this trick yet.

  • i need to teach my dog this one! the only ones he knows are ‘shake’ and ‘high paw’ which is when he stands up on his hind legs with both paws up for a double high-five

  • Oh that is so neat! I really need to try that with our dogs. They will sit on command …at least most of the time. If a squirrel is around…forget it. LOL

  • This would be a real challenge! We have TWO small dogs (Shih Tzu’s), I don’t know if they are trainable at this point, they kind of train us! They are very prissy little ladies! Worth a try I guess. They do love treats though!!!!

  • I have to admit that my dog doesn’t know a lot of tricks. However, he does know the basics like ‘sit’ and ‘stay’ (he knows what it means, but doesn’t do it well). And he knows ‘belly rub’…because he loves them so much. It all comes from repetition!

  • I’ve tried to teach all of our dogs a bit, but unfortunately so far I’ve only gotten 1 to “Gimme 5.”

  • Our little Pita can stand on her hind legs & spin around. No training- she just started doing it one day!

  • My one dog knows this but my other does not. I did a different method because I did not use a clicker but I do say yes and use encouragement!!

  • This only works for us if the crate is the “place” – she always goes in and stays there – still working on other areas with this…..

  • My dogs know “Kennel” but otherwise they haven’t learned to stay in another place

  • My furry baby, Coco, she always has been very easy to train since I got her home from the shelter. I never had a clicker to use but the treats worked great.

  • I haven’t had a dog in quiet a few years. I’m more of a crazy cat person. I didn’t know about this trick.

  • Yes my dog knows this trick! We have been teaching her tricks since she was a puppy!

  • Dogs know mommie and daddy. Get out of the kitchen. When they do something I want them to know then I say the word and soon….ta-da…They know my language.

  • Ours knows most of the basics and can pick out the exact toy we ask her for. Never tried this trick, but she does love treats!!!

  • My dog doesn’t know any tricks but she’s well behaved. Having said that, I’d love to see how she does with a clicker.

    Besos Sarah
    Journeys of The Zoo

  • My dog’s know this trick.I did not use a clicker,instead I used my voice and treats.

  • Rocky knows several tricks. He knows to not take a treat from the dog catcher, and how to sit, stay and roll over, play dead, he helps bring in laundry and races against the kids. This is my first dog that I have taught tricks and not just the basic sit / Stay

  • My Boston Terrier is probably the only dog I’ve had that I HAVEN’T taught “place”. I tell him GO LAY DOWN and sometimes he will, but I need to be more specific like with a mat.

  • I’m in the process of teaching my dog the place command using the same method. My dog is a 115 pound 4 year old Black Lab/newfoundland that is very stubborn so it takes a little extra time to teach him commands.

  • My daschound doesn’t know any tricks other than follow mommy every where she goes

  • I use a “verbal click” i.e. *YES* said in a certain way, instead of a clicker, so I am not stuck trying to find/make sure I have a clicker with me.

    I like the idea of using the towel… i.e portability.

  • My dog pretty much learned this trick by himself. A few treats helped, but it was an easy process.

  • None of my dogs can do this. I think when you have multiple dogs it’s hard to keep their attention.

  • Your doggie is so cute!!! No, they don’t know this yet, but am working on clicker training, so hopefully!!

  • My Boston Terrier knows this trick. It came easy because she has always been my shadow following me everywhere I go!

  • My dog knows this command but she has always loved going to her bed. Even if we say we are going “to bed” she will head straight for hers.

  • Our dog doesn’t know this trick, but she is a loving, loyal dog and we are lucky to have her. Thank you for the chance to win.

  • No, our pup does not. We don’t have a clicker, but one of my daughters has a distinctive low whistle that we use to show approval. Problem is when she is not around… We are working on it though.

  • My dog does not know this exactly, but she does know to go to certain spots that I point to.

  • My dog doesn’t know this trick. I have a 4 year old Boxer, & she’s really hyper and gets excited easily.. so sometimes she has difficulty trying to pay attention long enough to learn tricks lol.

  • My dog knows it specifically when it comes to bedtime. I tell her when to get in bed and she does.
    I purposely taught her what the bed was, but she just started going there when I told her it was bedtime on her own.

  • I recently adopted my puppy and she doesn’t know this one yet, but we are working on it!

  • My dog doesn’t know this trick. She is still little so there is plenty of time to work on it.

  • No, my dog does not know this trick. She can roll over, sit, and shake, but she does not know “place”

  • No my dog dose not know this trick. I wish I knew of it before. Thank You I will work on it for next year.

  • No dog, I’d love to win the gc and any dog treats I win will go to local shelter. That seems like a really useful behavior to learn.

  • My grandmother’s dog is very well trained. She adopted Penny last year at the age of 5. She listens and follows commands including sit and stay. She does a cute little dance when she has to go potty and does doggy yoga before jumping up on the couch or in someone’s lap.

  • Yes 2 out of the 3 do. All I need to do is snap my fingers and point. Our 3rd is a rowdy boy and can’t handle staying in place for more than 5 seconds, we are working on it though!

  • My dogs only know to sit and they do that when they want to lol. I think it is cool the way they taught them

  • My dogs know nothing. They will sit for a cookie, sometimes, that’s about all the tricks they know! Thanks!!

  • My dogs do not know this trick. But I am going to try it! Fantastic giveaway, thanks so much for the opportunity!

  • No, my dog doesn’t know this trick, but maybe I will try it. Thank you for the giveaway!

  • My daughter uses treats and her dog is pretty good at listening. He is still very young and learning..

  • I have 4 furbabies and none of them know this trick. My Molly jumps and catch treats in the air. My Red will sit and shake hands. My little Cujo don’t do tricks, but understands everything I say to him, such as, move over, get down, or do you want to go outside? My baby Finn is just a puppy, I am doing pad training with her now.

  • Well I have 3 Pugs . They all know how to sit and lay down, mostly they like to beg and bark lol Funny thing is my bird, a Macaw knows the best Trick….She “Barks” like a dog

  • I have a cat instead of a dog, and he doesn’t really know any tricks, but my sister’s dog does.

  • My dogs do know this trick. My dogs love to sit in my lap and sometimes I will be drinking a hot drink, doing something or just need them down. So I have taught them to go to their beds.

  • My bulldogs do not know this trick, but i’m definitely going to teach them using the same strategy.

  • If I say bed or cage, my dog will go to the respective location. I trained him using training treats and lots of praise. Never tried a clicker though.

  • Yes, my pup knows to go to his bed or blanket or spot when requested. He learned with food rewards and “atta boys”.

  • My dog knows this trick and I only used treats. Now I just point to where I want her to go or what I want her to do with sign language and she does it

  • my dog does not know any tricks, she is old. My younger dog does not know any tricks either, but we do try to teach him

  • No, he doesn’t know this trick; I’m willing to try this method; he seems to have learned other behaviors just through approved repetition.

  • Most dogs learn this command fairly quickly. With just a few short training sessions, we should train our dog with care and patience.