Teach Dog Space | Explained Step-by-step

How do I teach my dog space?

All dog owners ask themselves this question at least once in their lives.

“Place” is an important command and should work as smoothly as possible.

Especially in public transport or public places, it is an advantage if your dog can reliably lie down quietly.

We have created a step-by-step guide that will take you and your dog by hand and paw.

In a nutshell: Teach space – this is how it works

Do you want to teach your puppy to sit down or do you have an adult dog that has never learned the command?

With these step-by-step instructions, your dog will learn the command in no time.

  • Have your dog perform a “sit.”
  • Grab a treat.
  • Guide the treat down in front of your dog’s chest until it rests between his front paws.
  • Once your dog moves his head and shoulders down and is completely on the ground, reward him.
  • Say the command as soon as you give the treat.

Teach your dog space – you still have to consider that

Actually, the trick is so easy for us to understand, but your dog won’t lie down?

Is he ignoring the treat in front of his chest?

Would he rather jump around and play with something?

How to solve these problems:

Dog doesn’t want to lie down

In general, there are only four different reasons for this:

  • the ground is too hard for your dog
  • your dog does not understand the command
  • your dog has too many other things on his mind
  • your dog is scared

Too hard floor

Sensitive and old dogs are reluctant to lie down if the ground is too hard. The joints already hurt anyway.

So find a rug or mat to practice with your dog on.

Dog does not understand command

If your dog doesn’t understand the command, you were too quick. Start over, taking your time and going through each step slowly (using our step-by-step guide below).

Dog is distracted while training

Puppies or active dogs in particular sometimes have too much on their mind or are exposed to exciting environmental influences.

Make sure that your training environment is quiet and that your dog can play or romp between training sessions.

Dog is afraid when lying down

Just think about the following:

If someone attacks you and you are lying flat on your stomach, how much time does it take you to get up and react?

If you stand, however, your reaction time is significantly shorter.

So is your dog.

Restless (guard) dogs in particular do not like to lie down because they would not be ready immediately in the event of an attack.

In these cases, you must provide a quiet, familiar, and safe training environment.

How long will it take…

… until your dog can make room.

Since every dog ​​learns at a different rate, the question of how long it takes can only be answered vaguely.

Most dogs get the point after just a few tries. However, it will take longer for your dog to lie down reliably, calmly and immediately.

Expect to need around 5 to 10 training sessions of 10-15 minutes each until your dog is absolutely secure.

Utensils needed

Treats! Food helps enormously with training.

However, since most of these are not particularly low in calories, you should use them more sparingly during training.

In the beginning, however, the treats are a good help in directing the dog’s head in the right direction.

Step-by-step instructions: Teach the dog space

  1. You start with your dog in the sitting position.
  2. Then grab a treat and place it down between the front paws just in front of the dog’s nose.
  3. If you hold the treat too close, your dog will try to grab it from your hand. On the other hand, if you hold it too far away, he will run after the treat.
  4. As soon as your dog lowers his shoulders and head and is completely on the ground, you can reward him.
  5. Choose a command. “Place” is the most common.
  6. Have your dog do the trick again and say the command out loud once your dog is completely on the ground. At the same time you reward him with the treat. This is how your dog will associate the command with the pose.


“Down” is a command every dog should know. In dangerous situations or in public places, it is a huge advantage if your dog reliably remains lying down.

In addition, any dog, no matter how old, can learn this trick.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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