DiscussionDog HealthTraining tips

Teaching A Dog To Settle Down and Be Calm

Teaching a dog to settle down and be calm is not always an easy task. But it’s important for dogs to learn to relax, lie down, and have time on their own. One of the times it is especially important for them to do this is when you’re busy at home. Maybe with guests or making dinner, cleaning the house, maybe outside with friends at the pub or café.  This is hard for your dog to learn especially to be settled when there are distractions, lots of activity or opportunities for attention so it’s best to begin somewhere quiet.

Teaching A Dog To Settle Down and Be Calm
Teaching A Dog To Settle Down and Be Calm

Teaching A Dog To Settle Down and Be Calm The Method

It is best to start training at home and at times when your dog is more likely to be already chilling. You’ll know your dog is well settled when they lie down, they are not asking for attention and aren’t easily distracted by what’s going on around them. Once your dog has learnt the basics of being settled, try training in different locations with more distractions (Proofing). To start with you may just need to reward your dog for any behaviour that is not staring at you, pulling on the lead, or barking.

  • Sit quietly on a chair with your dog on the lead and a blanket on the floor. Drop tiny bite size treats to your dog as a reward for settling down on the blanket. Don’t say anything to your dog whilst doing this.
  • Gradually reward more relaxed behaviours – this will vary between dogs – some will automatically start lying down and you can quickly progress to rewarding your dog only for this behaviour before moving on to reward specific signs of relaxing like sighing, weight shifting and head resting.
  • Some dogs will take longer and will struggle to stop pulling on the lead or staring at you. If this is the case with your dog, you’ll need to take things more slowly by rewarding behaviour such as standing quietly, disengaging from people or sniffing their blanket.
  • When they’re relaxed, start increasing the time your dog must be settled before you reward them. Build up gradually a couple of seconds at a time over multiple sessions.
  • Slowly start building up distractions by practising the ‘settle’ in increasingly busy areas, or ask a helper to create a distraction by walking past, progressing to more exciting activities like sweeping or skipping. If your dog becomes unsettled or gets up, ignore them and wait until they settle again before rewarding them. If they won’t relax and settle, increase distance from the distraction or make it less interesting.

Too Much Exercise Makes a Hyper Dog

Saber was terrible at settling down and being calm, I found that it was me I had been giving him too much exercise. “What” I hear you say, ridiculous right?

Well I thought so too until I searched the internet for articles about exercising dogs. Try this article or here.

It becomes obvious that the more exercise given, leads to more being wanted. Dogs need to be walked and allowed to run and play that is not in question. But too much of a good thing can lead to a bad thing.

If you read articles or watch videos about dog training, nearly all say physical exercise to tire your dog out makes him easier to train. Well I would rather have a dog who is well behaved all the time not just when he is too tired to bother resisting.

I have to say that for long enough I too this route and wondered why saber wouldn’t settle and wanted to run and run and well you get the picture.

So is the picture building? Teaching a dog to settle down and be calm is not just about wearing Him/Her out, but of teaching behaviours such as impulse control

Have any tips of your own, let me know in the discussion section..

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