Teach your Dog To Settle Down

Settle is a great thing for any dog to know. Settle is a cue asking a dog to lie-down and calm down. You teach a dog to do this in a quiet area and slowly challenge him as he gets better and better at it by asking for a ‘settle’ in more exciting environments. A master at ‘settle’ can go from full bark to quietly lying down at your feet.

To teach a dog to Settle, you need some time, patience, and treats. Go somewhere quiet, and with your dog on a leash, sit down & wait. Wait until your dog lies down and then give him a treat. You can toss the treat a little ways away to get your dog to stand back up. Once he lies down again, give him another treat. Let him do this a few times and then move somewhere else to try again.

Once he gets the idea that he’s supposed to lie down, say the word ‘Settle’ as he does so. Continue to practice in calm quiet places. You want your dog to associate ‘Settle’ with being calm. As he gets better at this skill, you can slowly start challenging him with more distractions around you. Start asking for it with other people around. Slowly build up to more exciting distractions, like kids playing, or other dogs. If he has trouble listening to you, back off and try it again further away. You want to build on his successes as much as possible. Over time and with lots of practice he will become so skilled at this behavior, you can use it even when he’s frightened or over excited to help him calm down and feel safe.

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