Update: Unfortunately the class has been cancelled each week for the month I've been following it...So I'm less sure now than I was initially! The good news is that Nyx is now pretty solid on the "place" command. And since you asked how I did it, I thought I'd explain a little.
Not too different than you might have envisioned, but I don't think a dog learns much from the absence of a correction. So instead, I preemptively caught her before she could lay down with a positive marker, for her it's "good", then quickly offer a treat/reward. Nyx already was pretty solid on down stay, sit stay, and stand stay, so she still doesn't change position once I've marked it. But at least she seems to get that down is not a requirement...So we're making progress! As time goes on, I'll try to wait her out to see if she really gets the concept of staying on the mat versus staying in whatever position I marked...But so far, I haven't waited long enough...we've practiced long stays too much I guess LOL!
Thanks for the update. With my guy and in my own mind, the place command serves a purpose in that the dog knows that place specifies a specific item he or she is to get on and not leave no matter the position, but the down and stay or sit and stay were the commands taught first so when I taught the place command he deferred to the down once he was in the place. I never could figure out how to relay to him that it was ok to move though he does reposition while laying down. So it was good enough for me. Lol. (imo that seems like a good way to differentiate what is expected of the place command, as opposed to the down, sit, stay command that indicates "right where you are").
Since you may have an interest in scent work, this is an NACSW link of certified instructors in the US. Search Instructors | NACSW
. If you go back to Home, there is a link of vids at different levels. If interested, you may find an instructor/class near you. It's a fun sport and you'll be among many like minded people. And you will probably connect with more experienced handlers, retired K9 officers, etc. Also, a lot of the instructors are also involved with the other scent work sports so if this venue doesn't fit you and your girl, the people you meet will probably know of the other sports/organizations also.
I'm not as social as you but I have a couple of friends who I met through the sport and have a lot of fun practicing with and the huge plus, my guy loves it.
Ok ramble over. Thanks for the insight and update.