Often puppies get really excited when they go to new places with interesting distractions or when visitors come to the home. This can lead to some unwanted behaviour like barking or jumping up at you when you’re dining out together.

The good news is that we can teach your puppy to reliably relax in these situations so you can enjoy going everywhere together.

All you need to do is teach your puppy to go to their mat/place and settle.

Settle is where your puppy will lie on the floor in a relaxed down so that their hip touches the ground for a long duration. Your puppy will relax and maybe even fall asleep.

Eventually your puppy will be a master at this and able to settle anywhere including when out at the shopping centre, having dinner at the restaurant, relaxing at the park and even settling around other dogs.

To start with though you’re going to train in a quiet area of your home, away from distractions. Grab a soft mat/blanket, some treats and your marker.

When your puppy looks at you, place the mat on the ground in front of you and when they come over to investigate, mark and reward as soon as they show interest. Throw a treat away each time to reset. Next mark and reward when any of their paws touch the mat. Initially you can feed them on the mat before throwing a treat away to reset them for the next repetition.

If your puppy is struggling, make sure you position the mat directly between you and your puppy as they will be more likely to step on the mat to get nearer to you.

Next wait until 2 paws touch the mat before rewarding, then 3, then 4.

Soon your puppy will be running to the mat each time and standing with all 4 paws on it.

Now wait and see if your puppy offers a sit or even a down when they arrive on the mat. If not you can always cue for a couple of repetitions before letting your puppy offer it on their own.

When your puppy is rushing to the mat and automatically going into a down each time you can add the cue ‘settle’ or ‘bed’ as they are running towards the mat.

Next you can start to build duration by rewarding your dog after they have remained in position for a couple of seconds, before gradually lengthening it further. You can start to move a step away before returning and rewarding your puppy if they remain settled. Build up the distance in stages as well as adding in distractions to make sure your puppy’s new found skill is reliable everywhere.

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