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Go To Your Spot!

This command is a great way to help your dog with anxious, confusing, or dangerous situations.

Go To Your Spot!

This command is so useful. Any time one of my dogs is confused or agitated, any time he’s too excited about company or things he sees outside the window, whenever I’m about to mow the lawn or my wife is about to run the vacuum, “go to your spot” reassures him that there is a right thing to do.

Many different behavior problems your dog might develop as a result of being confused about a situation, can be prevented just by issuing the “go to your spot” command before his confusion gets the better of him. It’s also a fine way to get a moment’s privacy for yourself and your family.

Rules for the Trainer: Go To Your Spot

  • Don’t treat this command as a punishment. He’s not “grounded” or in “time out” or “in the doghouse” when he goes to his spot. He’s just safe, and obeying a command like a good dog.
  • Don’t over-use this command. Regardless of the timing, if you do it too often, it will feel like a form of exile.

As always, you want this training to be easy for your dog. Since you’re going to ask him to be dormant, you should make sure he’s had exercise before the training session, and then begin the training with minimal distractions.

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Training Method: “Go To Your Spot”

Your dog needs a suitable bit of bedding that is his and his alone. Obviously, he can’t go to his spot if there is no such place!

  1. Stand several feet away from your dog’s bed and point at it. Say “Go to your spot!” and then lob a treat on to the bedding. When your dog dashes to the bed and eats the treat, encourage and praise him.
  2. Call your dog away from the bed, praise him for that as well, and then repeat.

Chihuahua responding to the Go To Your Spot command

Once the behavior is well-established through a few sessions, you can start to issue the command from further and further away.

Then, once that’s been mastered, begin phasing out the tossed treat. Toss the treat as a lure sometimes, not others. One way to phase-out the treat is to make sure you do give a treat after your dog goes to his spot, but without throwing it as a lure. In any case, always use lots of praise for successfully obeying you.

You want to spend a considerable number of days repeating these sessions, where the “go to your spot” command is given in the same room as the bed. Remember that this is a new skill, and pointing at the bed is still an important part of helping your dog learn the new command. Just increase the distance across the room for a while.

Feel free to replace the treat with some other kind of reward, such as play time, in order to avoid over-feeding. Also, if your dog doesn’t relax once he gets to his spot, add the “down” command.

Continued Training: “Go To Your Spot”

The above steps should last you at least a week. At that point, use the below tips to help your dog really master the “go to your spot” command:

  • Make the command a part of your regular routine, beyond training sessions. I use my family’s dinner time, trips to the bathroom or the basement, etc as opportunities to repeat the training.
  • After a week or so of diligent training, you should be able to issue the “go to your spot” command from a different room, and get the right response. When you first make this change, be sure to check in, following a close distance behind your dog, so that you can praise the dog’s obedience.
  • Once it seems like your dog has this pattern mastered, a great way to challenge this mastery is to put food in his bowl but tell him to go to his spot instead of eating. (Obviously, once he obeys the “go to your spot” command you should wait no more than a minute before calling your dog back to eat! Otherwise it could undo the training.)

Overall, the training will take a couple of weeks, with a few short sessions a day, with most sessions involving several repetitions.

For a whole lot more information about obedience training than you’ll find on my site, check out the Dog Training Course, which is one of the many resources I’ve used to become (what I consider to be) a master dog trainer.

Return to general dog training information, or learn more about obedience training.

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