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Ok almost 30 years of owning GSDs and Beau is actually the first one I have taught the place command to and he does very well with it.

I bought him a Kurunda bed I want to use as his "place" when we have a full house or actually anwhere when I take him with me. I like the bed because any pillow or rug ultimately becomes and object to be vanquished. The bed just *is* and it is comfortable as opposed to a hardwood floor.

He did very well last night with mom in the wheelchair, 2 young grandkids acting like kids, two grown daughters, myself and husband...more people than he has ever dealt with before..and I would prefer using this to his crate -- his main issue is never any signs of agerssion just getting worked up and crazy and I don't need 75 lbs of unrestrained joy flying through my house banging into people. He was actually rather clownish as there were socks on the floor just out of reach and he tried for a long time to get them without getting off the bed.

So, my question is this. Can I leave this out for him to use when he likes, and still have it be "place" when I want it to be or should the specific "place" object ALWAYS be used only for that purpose?
 

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We've always used it for both. Each of the dogs has "their" bed and the beds are always available for them to use.
Once in a while, someone will poach a different bed for a nap, but on the place command, they go to "their" bed.
When we get a new foster and start working on "place" it sometimes looks like a 5 person game of musical chairs.
 

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You can keep it out and it will be fine.

But don't feel bad if it's easier to just crate him if a situation is TOO exciting for his training right now. It's better to have a good time with the family with no extra stress and training angst. Because if you really want to 'train' you need to hold the line, decide your criteria and that's #1. Otherwise it's sloppy training, not clear to the dog, and (for me) can lead to getting frustrated.

Though another training is to have our dogs out and about with company and have them behave with manners......
 

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I am playing catch-up with Mr Beau and house manners. Between dealing with Cyra, Grim and their surgeries and cancers the only thing about Beau that got put on the front burner was his cadaver dog training and formal obedience. Also he is awesome off lead in the woods. But in the house is still a tasmanian devil [he is outdoors most time except for night due to acclimitization to temperature] deterimined that every pillow and loose rug is an item for his vanquish. He is maturing though. This time he did NOT attack my silk plants and they were right there next to the bed.

That said, we are working on taming the wild beast.

Fortuntely he is pretty focused and the only thing he found distracting was that darned sock about 5 feet from his bed. The other things he found rather curious. A lot of head cocks at the grandkids. When we released him though....he already has a gentle sense about small kids and puppies...not something we trained. He is always good in his crate - and even in the truck crate. It is like "crate" = "power down time"
 

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Delgado has both a bed and a crate on the main floor, I use "bed" for the crate and "go lie down" for the bed. Both are available at all times and he hasn't been confused so far

I do the same as you and crate when needed but also am working on him staying on his bed while guests are around, especially other dogs and children. If I see him struggling I either leash and sit on a chair beside the bed or crate him, but his threshold is rising as he gets older and he's able to stay for longer durations with higher distractions
 

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I don't use "place" as a command, but whatever words you use wouldn't matter, as long as the dog knows what you're talking about. I'm actually starting to just point at the crate right now, instead of using a verbal cue. But I do use "stay" if I don't want him to exit it, same as in your case, with guests that don't appreciate a rambunctious puppy.
 

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For me stay is "don't move" - I don't care if he sits, lays down, stands or whatever on his bed.
 

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Maybe I'm misunderstanding, but it sounds like you're wanting "place" to mean go to your bed and stay there? That should be an easy thing for him to figure out, if he knows stay already.
 

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Oh, he already knows that..so that is no issue.

The question was (and it was answered) if it was ok for him to choose go to his trained "place" whenever he wants and still understand he has to stay there when I tell him to.

It is a lot more casual than "stay" which requires his full attention waiting for the next command. All he has to remember with "place" is he cannot leave his bed. I like the kurunda for that because the minute his foot hits the floor he is in "violation" -- I was actually surprised he rememered the command because I had taught it several months ago then never used it.

I never used the "stay" word when I trained "place"
 

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Ok, sorry, now I get it. The kurunda sounds like a great idea - I like how the foot hitting the floor is a violation, lol. No room for cheating there.
 
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