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Settle Training Part 1 - Get Those Skills Down First

Before you start teaching your dog the settle cue, it's important and beneficial to have these key skills nailed to give you both a better chance of succeeding and enjoying this training.

What you’ll need:

1. A dog

2. Tasty treats.

  • Try a mixture of high-level and low-level treats to see what your dog best responds to.

  • Make sure they are easy-to-eat treats, you don’t want a treat too large or difficult to chew at the beginning.

Top Tip: To help encourage calm behaviour for the training, make sure your dog is fed, exercised and happy before you start

To teach your dog the settle behaviour, we want to make sure we have a few skills down first.

1. Teach your dog a ‘lure’

The concept of luring involves using a piece of food as a motivator, held before your dog's nose to direct their movement. It's a straightforward technique with the primary objective of encouraging your dog to follow the movement of your hand, which contains the tempting treat, thereby facilitating their direction in various ways.

Gradually incorporate a pointed finger as a central reference point during your training sessions. This step will prove invaluable in later stages of training, as your dog will come to associate your pointing gesture with a forthcoming treat or reward.

2. Teach your dog to lie down on cue

When it comes to teaching your dog the lying-down position on cue, Freya's method shown with Nava stands out as an especially effective approach, particularly for teaching young puppies.

Here's how it works: Begin by sitting on the floor and bending one of your legs to create an archway. Employ the lure technique, guiding your dog to follow the food reward from in front of your bent leg, guiding them underneath and then out the other side. It's crucial to ensure that the height of the arch prevents your dog from simply walking beneath it.

The primary objective here is for your dog to momentarily pause at the arch's apex and subsequently lower themselves into a lying-down position to access the treat.

3. Teach your dog a positive reward marker

A positive reward marker is a specific word or sound that communicates to your dog the imminent arrival of a reward, serving the crucial purpose of pinpointing and reinforcing desired behaviors.

The first step is to select this word or sound carefully. Options could include 'yes,' 'good,' a clicker, or any other word or noise, provided it's short and easy to say. Once you've made your choice, it's key to maintain consistency in its use to prevent any confusion for your dog.

In the case of Nava, the chosen marker was 'yes.' Employing this marker, she gained precise insight into the behaviors we liked, enabling her to quickly move onto the next training stages.

Once you have nailed these three key steps then it's time to move onto the next phase of working with the mat.

Check out our training video here

Stay tuned for our next chapter on settle training


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