As the owner of a full of life Springer Spaniel I love my dog’s energy and joyfulness. But as much as I love his enthusiasm, for both mine and his sanity, it’s important that he can also settle down and relax.
Having a dog that has learnt to relax is very important. And teaching them to do this on cue provides space for both of you. When you’re busy doing things at home such as making dinner, cleaning, working or even entertaining guests the last thing you want is your dog being under your feet.
And if like me, you love your dog to join you when you are out socialising, then it’s really important that they learn to settle and relax in any environment.
Any dog can be trained to settle on cue. Some laid back dogs will learn this very quickly whereas more exuberant or young dogs may take a bit more time. As with any training don’t rush, take your time and remember consistency is key.
Your goal is to have a dog that will lie down in any environment, relax and not get distracted by what’s happening around them.
7 Steps To The Perfect Settle
1. Set yourself up for success
Start the training at home where there are no distractions for you or your dog. As your dog progresses you can take the training up a notch by going outside the house where there’s more going on.
Start by having your dog on a leash. Place your dog’s bed or mat next to where you are sitting. Start by dropping treats onto your dog’s bed so that your dog associates the bed with a treat. This will encourage them to come to the bed. When your dog get’s on to the bed, say nothing and drop very small treats on to your dog’s bed. Do this without saying anything or making a fuss.
2. Build The Behaviour in Incremental Steps
Gradually start looking for more relaxed behaviour. For example if your dog is in a sitting position reward lying down. If your dog has started in a down position, reward if they drop a hip to one side, put their head down on their paws, sigh or lie flat out. Depending on your dog they may go through all these positions or go straight to lying flat out. Reward whenever they demonstrate a more relaxed position.