“Go to your place” is a common catchphrase, a type of “stationing” in which trainers ask a dog to sit or stand still at a certain point. The spot can be a mat, a dog bed or a platform, and you can send a dog there with the keyword “go to your seat”. The specific location you want your dog to be in can even be a position relative to a person. One form of stationing is to simply have your dog stand in front of you.
It is common to train dogs to perform more than one stationary (or “place-based”) behavior. In my house, I like when dogs go to their bed and lie down, sit or stand on a platform and stand carefully in front of me. All of these are stationary behaviors, and they are each useful in their own way.
Let’s discuss each type and its value.
Lie down on a bed
People send their dog to a bed (or mat, blanket, or box) for many reasons. One of the most common is when people come to the door; This form of stationing positions the dog away from the door and helps it stay calm when visitors come in. It is also helpful in other contexts. Maybe the family is having dinner, playing charades with guests, or even cleaning the floor. All of these scenarios are easier and more relaxed when the dog is safely enjoying a quiet time on his bed, which is why “Go to Yourself” is so popular.
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One nice thing about a dog who knows they need to go to her when asked is that the “place” is portable (as long as you train him to do so in multiple places). So if you’re in a veterinarian’s waiting room, you can ask your dog to go to her (maybe a blanket) and have her put on her blanket at your feet. Or if you are in a hotel or visiting relatives, you can ask her to go to her box, which is familiar and comforting to her. The ability to send a dog to a place to relax and to make this “place” flexible offers many opportunities to make life easy and uncomplicated in a variety of situations that could otherwise be stressful or hectic for you and your dog .
Hop on a platform.
Platform stationing is useful for all types of training. When a dog is on a raised surface it is restrained to some extent, which makes training easier. She is less likely to migrate, sniff the ground, or interact with anyone other than the trainer standing in front of her. If dogs are used to training on a platform, they are likely to be in training mode as soon as they jump on it. The associations they already have with training prepare them for what’s to come: “Okay, let’s train! What will i learn today “
It all starts with an introduction to the platform, which you can see here in my first platform training session with a 10 year old dog named Gipper.
Face the trainer.
One of the first things I like to focus on is the attention. When I have a dog’s attention I can train her to do almost anything, but if I don’t the chances of teaching her a great deal of anything are near zero. Therefore, one of the behaviors that I like to reinforce is a certain form of stationing: stand in front of me, watch out and look at myself, be quiet, wait for a cue.
I reward this behavior with high-quality, high-gain-rate treats, which often lead to people asking me why I am giving the dog so many treats when “she’s not even doing anything”. The answer is that a dog in this position does a lot of things that I want to reinforce. The behavior isn’t noticeable, but having a dog that is focused on you and ready to work is amazing and should be reinforced if you want it to occur in the future. In this two-clip video, Roxy’s actions make it clear why no one should ever take good stationing behavior for granted!
Trainers love stationing!
Why? Because it is so useful for all types of animal training and it makes daily life a little bit easier for everyone. The attention that stationing dogs give is perhaps the main reason trainers like this behavior. If dogs are used to working when asked to station in a certain location, they tend to switch to training mode as soon as they jump onto a platform or stand in front of you. When they know it’s time to relax, when they are sent to a bed, blanket, or box, when they are told to go see you, they will get used to being in that context relax.
If you work with several animals at the same time, order can emerge from chaos through stationing. If each animal has a station or place to call its own, it can be kept at a distance to avoid fights or other negative interactions. Many animals are calmer when they are in a predictable location, as are the rest of the household or training session.
Stations are also incredibly useful when you are working with multiple dogs at the same time. The dogs on the station are waiting to be trained, and the dog outside the station is working. Being on the station with this in mind tells the waiting dogs that reinforcements are not currently available, which prevents them from becoming frustrated. They understand that there is nothing they can do to earn treats while waiting for a workout. It helps them feel more relaxed than when they think they have such an opportunity.
Stationing can allow for a calm and controlled introduction because dogs (or other animals!) Can be in a stable place. This allows the dogs to get used to each other from a distance instead of moving too close to each other. This can lead to negative experiences and to overwhelm someone.
Most coaches see the value of deploying as a kind of reset.
When something goes wrong in a training session – an unclear clue, poorly timed reinforcement, or some other type of misunderstanding between the trainer and trainee – a dog can easily become confused or lose confidence. Asking a dog to park on a train platform, on a bed, or right in front of you can act like an eraser for that bad moment. The stationing gives trainers and trainees a fresh start, and it is not uncommon for professional dog trainers to use a quick return to the station as a reset button.