How a Training Place Board Improves Your Dog’s Skills, Abilities, and Performance
Ah, the dog training place board. What a wonderful tool it is! The place board allows you to take your dog out in the field and train them to stay in position, even when they see birds flying overhead. Proper place board training helps train your hunting dog not to chase or flush birds on its own.
You can use a set of place boards as part of your training regimen for any breed or age level-from puppies all the way through senior dogs with limited mobility issues. Many hunters use these boards as part of their birddog specific training program because they’re easy to set up and integrate with other strategies.
The idea is to create a safe space where your sporting dog recognizes this is its base. Once they are on this board, it’s time to go to work! Let’s get into some details of utilizing a dog training place board as part of your gun dog education.
What is a Place Board?
Imagine a place board as a training tool with a flat surface that is slightly elevated off the ground so it is recognizable by your dog. This useful tool aides in teaching your dog not to break or move before being released. Once a dog is placed on it, it will be able to see and hear what’s happening around them but won’t be allowed to chase any game that comes into view while you’re hunting together.
Using this type of device during field training sessions will help you develop your dog’s stamina and overall obedience skills, and it’ll also make both of you more confident when out in the field together actively hunting.
This simulates the back of a truck bed, a water platform, or a blind where a dog must remain still so you can focus on hunting, and they are kept safe. That way, they can snap into action when you give the command.
How Place Boards Work for Dog Training
Hunting Dog place board training is an excellent tool for training your dog. They allow you to have your pup practice staying in position and remaining calm before being released by your command. Place boards can be used on their own or as part of an overall training plan, but they can be especially beneficial if you’re trying to master your dog’s essential obedience skills before introducing a hunting training program.
In general, hunting/sporting dogs are put through two primary training strategies – one of general obedience and one of hunting. The first is foundational and covers the basic socially acceptable dog commands like sit, down, come, stay, heel, off, and leave it. The dog training place board fits well into the “sit/stay” commands by teaching the steadiness to remain in one location until released to move once again.
Over time, you can make the command “sit” synonymous with “place”, so your gun dog understands there is a specific location you wish them to remain. This could be the place board or a spot you point to and expect them to follow your direction.
Most dogs and owners progress through these obedience skills in three levels of learning:
- Recognition – A dog sits when asked to most of the time and “recognizes” the offered command but chooses whether or when to follow it. This is the level of obedience most pet owners train their dogs in general.
- Consistency – This is recognition of a command by the dog a majority of the time. It is considered a good response rate for a dog and where most hunters and dog owners that take obedience training seriously tend to shoot for as it is considered a “well-trained” dog.
- Mastery – This is mastery of the complete foundational obedience skill set. Your dog obeys and responds to commands without fail. These dogs are HRC title dogs, avid waterfowlers, serious upland hunters, and dogs with professional trainers.
Once you and your dog have mastered the basic obedience skills, it is time to introduce the next level of abilities through active hunting training. This is when steadiness is critical because it ensures your dog stays where you want and need it to be while hunting.
Steadiness and the Place Board
Steadiness is the ability of the dog to hold a position while you are working with your dog or multiple dogs by sitting and staying in a place until given the next command. This skill of honoring your commands should be achieved first before moving on to more complex hunting training situations. Steadiness is essential for a hunting dog as it keeps your sporting dog from moving when distracted in the field by other dogs, hunters, or game.
A place board will build your dog’s focus by training it to hold still when there are many distractions in the field.
Benefits of a Dog Training Place Board
Dog Training Place Boards are an indispensable tool for dog training. Using a training place board correctly will present a “target” place for your dog to associate with other skills instead of getting distracted by things around them. Some of the benefits include:
1 – Improved training
Whether you are new to bird hunting or have been hunting for years, a place board will help you train and improve your skill level. It can be used during all training phases, including early puppy training and continuing education as an adult dog. A quality place board allows you to work with your dog in a safe environment while also improving focus, obedience, command response time, and the ability to stay in position on command.
2 – Enhanced bond with your dog
One of the most important benefits of a training place board is that it enhances the bond between you and your dog. Communicating effectively with your dog is one of the most important factors in developing trust and a positive relationship, which are essential to improving performance in hunting, training, and competition.
3 – Better performance in the field
Place boards can be used to train for obedience and a hunting program, but they also help with a critical aspect: your dog’s performance. Your dog will become more focused on you and your commands, improving its ability to obey and hunt. This is especially important if you’re a beginner at this type of training or have never owned a gun dog before.
4 – Durability
Our place boards are made from a lightweight infused fiberglass plastic frame that is strong, durable, and easy to clean. This means that your place board will last you years before it starts to wear down or lose its texture. Additionally, the material is waterproof, so it can be used in any weather condition without fear of damage. You won’t have to worry about replacing your training place board when it gets dirty, because it’s easy to clean with warm water and soap or disinfectant wipes.
5 – Increased focus
A dog that can focus on a single task for an extended period will become a more efficient and effective hunter. To achieve this, the trainer must ensure that their dog is both focused and attentive. By encouraging increased concentration through reinforcing good behavior with treats, praise, and toys on the place board, you will help your gun dog learn how best to control their emotions to become more effective at remaining steady to retrieve downed game.
Tips for Using a Place Board
Using a place board during hunting dog training can effectively teach your dog to hold a steady position while hunting. Here are some general tips for using a place board:
- Introduce the place board gradually: Start by introducing the place board in a low-distraction environment and progressively increase the level of distraction as your dog becomes more comfortable with the concept.
- Use positive reinforcement: Use treats, praise, and other rewards to encourage your dog to stay in place on the board.
- Use a consistent command: Choose a command, such as “place” or “stay,” and use it consistently every time you want your dog to hold a steady position on the place board.
- Practice in various environments: Train your dog to use the place board in a variety of environments, including both indoors and outdoors, to help ensure that they understand the concept in different settings.
- Be patient: Training a hunting dog to use a place board can take time, so be patient and remember to keep training sessions short and enjoyable for you and your dog. You want to gain comprehensive mastery of those primary obedience skills and then move on to more complex hunting abilities.
- Use the place board as part of a larger training plan: The place board is just one tool that can be used as part of a larger training plan to teach your dog to hold a steady position while hunting. Be sure to incorporate other training techniques, such as obedience training and fieldwork, to fully develop your dog’s hunting skills.
Where to Find a Quality Place Board
A training place board is a great way to improve your gun dog’s skills, abilities, and performance. Training place boards are straightforward to use, versatile, and portable too. They can be used in the yard or in a training field, and they’re easy to stack, move or carry around when traveling with your gun dog or just taking them out for some exercise.
Our professional team at Huntmark has created a reliable solution to place board training. This reusable elevated platform is lightweight and stackable for travel and has a durable topper for easy cleaning and maintenance. It is large enough to work with all hunting dog breeds and adds a much-needed element of success to your strategic obedience education. Visit our store today and bring the power of a place board to your next sporting dog training!