Train your dog to settle

"Settle" is simply another name for an extended down cue. However, it is often used as an "off" switch for dogs that are a bit too exuberant, mouthy, or wild. There are many strategies to get a good Settle cue. 

I recommend that you first work in a calm manner at first and periodically ask your dog to "Settle" during training sessions. You should then continue practicing when your dog is more excited until you can eventually get the behavior reliably no matter how excited your dog is.

If you ask for the behavior and your dog is too excited or is not motivated to do it, gently help your dog into position by luring the behavior with a treat or walk away from your dog until he calms down. Then, work at a more calm level the next time until you are able to successfully get the behavior at any time. 

There are a few general strategies for teaching behaviors and here are some suggestions to help you get started teaching this behavior. 

Shape a Settle

  1. When your dog is lying down, gently pet him and give him treats
  2. If he gets up, you can either ignore him or ask him to lie down again and then pet him and/ or give him treats
  3. Say the cue, "Settle" after he is fairly calm and then continue petting and treating occasionally
  4. Release him at some point, "OK" and stop petting him
  5. Whenever you see him lie down, give him more attention and/or treats. This will motivate him to do that behavior more often.

Cue or Command Settle

  1. This is the same as above, but you will cue your dog, or ask him, to do the behavior
  2. Say the cue, "Settle" or "Enough" and then ask him to lie down and periodically pet him and/or treat him
  3. If he gets up, gently say, "Eh! Eh!" ask him to lie down again, and pet him and/ or give him treats

Speed Settle

  1. This is the final goal
  2. Work with your dog practicing a short training session or a game of tug
  3. Say, "Settle" and stop moving, interacting with him and put your hands behind your back
  4. Ask him to lie down and then treat him
  5. Work with him a bit more and repeat the "Settle" cue, but require him to lie down and settle for a longer period of time
  6. If he gets up, you can say, "Eh! Eh!" and ask him to lie down again, or say, "Too bad!" and walk away from him. Eventually he will learn that to continue playing with you, he needs to turn it off when you ask.

Keep in mind that you can turn this into a game by using a lot of enthusiasm and excitement when your dog performs the behavior. You can also reward your dog by throwing his favorite toy. 

Have fun with it and use it periodically throughout the day and reward with a variety of rewards such as throwing a toy, playing tug, taking your dog for a walk, giving a belly rub, feeding dinner, etc.

Latest Blog Posts

How to safely take your dog to a dog park

With summer weather finally here in Chicago, it is time to start thinking about more frequent trips to the dog park. You might feel uneasy when your dog plays with other dogs. Hopefully this...

  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-20 15:42:00
  • Hits 16591

How long should dog training sessions last?

Did you know it is better to practice short training sessions and stop when your dog still wants more? This strategy will keep training interesting and you will avoid over training.
  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-06 19:36:00
  • Hits 28685

Positive reinforcement dog training strategies

Did you know that there are different styles of training within the positive reinforcement "camp"? There are trainers that only use one style and others (like myself) use many different strategies...

  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-09 12:48:00
  • Hits 26599

Your dog is acting weird? It might be a physical problem

I received two calls this week that that reminded me about the importance of making sure a dog is physically healthy before I recommend training strategies. One call was in regards to a 3-year old...

  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-15 04:06:15
  • Hits 27447

The PETA Founder - I Am An Animal: The Story of Ingrid Newkirk and PETA

I just finished watching the documentary about Ingrid Newkirk, the co-founder of PETA. I really did not know much about her or her organization before this except for the various news stories that...

  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-17 14:21:00
  • Hits 56904

Your dog is stubborn? Here are some tips.

Stubborn is used frequently to describe dogs that don't perform a task that is asked of them. Maybe the dog is pulling on his leash, maybe he doesn't lie down when cued, or maybe he lies down when...

  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-28 12:57:00
  • Hits 27759

How old should a dog be before he can be out of the crate?

Wouldn't it be great if you could just sit a dog down and say, "Welcome to the house. Let's have an arrangement. I will walk you, play with you, feed you good food and give you medical care. The...

  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-30 15:04:00
  • Hits 29118

Should you use alpha rolls? No.

When I am working with my clients, I focus on determining what strategies are most effective with each individual dog. I have found certain techniques to be extremely effective and I also see...

  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-27 03:34:01
  • Hits 23547

Do you say, "No!" to your dog alot?

"No" (which means don't jump on the guests)."No" (which means don't chew on the couch)."No" (which means stop barking)Sound familiar?
  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-03 19:10:49
  • Hits 17949

Common dog training questions

I frequently hear very similar questions from multiple clients. I also have random dog training thoughts that come to mind that might not lend themselves to a complete blog post. So, I thought I...

  • Jeff Millman
  • 2011-05-25 14:15:00
  • Hits 39836