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Training Tips: How to teach "settle"

Whether you have a new puppy, a recently rescued dog or a well established canine, learning to lie down and relax on cue is really useful training to have.  In week 3 of our Puppy School course we teach young puppies to do this - and that's a big ask for excitable bouncy pups, but they understand and even the liveliest puppies learn to chill out when their owners are sitting, listening to their next instructions. 

This exercise can be trained to older dogs as well as puppies. With any new training exercise it's best to start in a quiet, familiar environment with minimal distractions. The only prerequisite is that your pooch can be lured into a "down" position. You may find it helpful to have a little blanket or small bed at your feet  for your dog to settle on. 

  1. Have your dog on a lead and place your foot on the lead so it's reasonably short but long enough that your pup can stand, sit and lie down comfortably. 

  2. Lure your dog into a down position, quietly say "settle" and scatter several small pieces of treat between his front paws

  3. Wait a few seconds and then put a few more pieces of treat between his front paws

  4. If he stands up, simply lure him back into a down

  5. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your dog is staying in a down position at your feet

  6. Reduce the frequency of the treats gradually by increasing the time between treats and try to reward when he's not looking up at you (avoid looking directly at your dog - we want to reward calm, relaxed behaviour rather than for your dog lying down looking up at you).

  7. Once he's mastered this at home, you can train in busier locations such as pubs, cafes and public transport.

For more help training your dog to settle, or if you would like us to join you for training in the pub, please get in touch!

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