Teaching a settle




Often adolescent dogs find it difficult to relax when you go to new places together. They might bark or jump up because they are excited or frustrated.

You can teach your dog how to happily relax when you go out but first you will need to teach them to settle at home away from distractions.

To start with, get a mat or blanket along with some of your dog’s favourite treats.

When your dog looks at you, place the mat on the ground in front of you and as they come over, mark and reward them. Reset for another repetition by throwing a treat away for your dog to follow.

As they come back, wait for their paws to touch the mat before rewarding.

Soon your dog will be running to the mat and eagerly standing on it every time.

At this stage you can cue your dog to lie down before rewarding. After a few repetitions your dog will start to lie down automatically.

From here you can build up the duration. Reward every couple of seconds initially, before gradually lengthening the time further. You can then add distractions to the training environment to build your dog’s skills.

If you want to add a verbal cue to the behaviour, just say a word such as ‘settle’ when your dog starts to move towards the mat. In time your dog will come over and settle, whenever they hear the cue word, or see you lay the mat down.

Practice in your home and garden first before taking it out on the road to busier environments.

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