A 'Settle Down' or 'Calm' Command ?

Discussion in 'General Dog Training' started by traxxie, Apr 13, 2008.

  1. traxxie New Member

    I saw a video clip on another website showing a group class getting their dogs excited (jumping and barking) and then settling them down. The dogs would lie down and be quiet.

    Is this just an advanced lay down command? Or is there another way to teach this?

    Thanks, traxxie

  2. lagomorphmonster New Member

    I do teach my dog to settle down, as she is a very hyper dog. You may be able to find ways that are more straight forward than my method, but this is how I did it:

    I taught her down first, but she was allowed to be on her hind feet and could look up at me. Then I got her to "settle down" with the same hand signals, but using different command, and required her to put her head all the way down and kick the legs out. At first it was just the body positions, then I required her to relax her body (look for a sigh) before giving her a treat. Eventually I also taught her to "go to her bed" and always followed by "settle down" so now when she goes to her bed on the floor, she relaxes.

    When I put her on a "down stay" she is much more alert.

    The hardest part was actually getting other people in the household to be consistent with the different requirements of the 2 commands. For a while, other people used "settle" instead of "down" with her because they thought it was cute having her head and body totally flat on the floor, but then would follow that with a lot of chasing/running/playing, which really defeated the purpose of "settle."
  3. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    The settle command has a lot to do with synchronization, so it can be done successfully with a room full of untrained dogs. Of course if any of the dogs have had any kind of training it is that much easier...

    Use a two sylabel word, and say the second part in a lower tone of voice. I like the word 'settle', but pronounce 'seddle' as that is softer. Use a calm voice and say it a little slower than normal. Relax your attitude/body as well, and ignore your dog... most will calm down within a minute or two, and if you are sitting they will lie down.

    When I was in college, all 15 of us students had a service dog in-training with us all of the time, including through about 5 hours of lecture every day. We each had a few dogs at different ages around 5, 13, and 20 months, and we varied who we brought to class... sometimes every dog was between 2-6 months old, and no, we didn't run them around like crazy before class.
    As soon as the humans were settled, the puppies would flop down under the tables at our feet until we woke them up when class was over. No command even needs to be used if you create the atmosphere.
  4. lagomorphmonster New Member

    I think that's true for the most part, though I'm not sure that my dog would settle down without a command in a public place. My dog would also not pass as a service dog in a million years of training - she just doesn't have the aptitude.:msncry:
  5. yoyopoodle Well-Known Member

    Lagomorphmonster, public places are pretty hard to change the entire atmosphere ;) Young service dogs/in-training also often need a verbal cue when they are learning to rest in public... the classroom in my example is part of the school the dogs live at, so they've got a large 'home', but they've been all over it since they were about 6 weeks old (before that they stay in the puppy building).
  6. leema New Member

    My dogs know "cuddly" to mean they should settle down. I didn't explicitedly teach this, but I know that I first use it when I have the dog and am holding it. The dog must be "cuddly" (still) before I release them... Even though Clover really likes to be held, both of them, at some point, want to run off while I'm holding them. It's when they do that I refuse to let them go and ask "cuddly" once they are still they are released. (Negative reinforcement - removal of my 'bad cuddle'. Positive reinforcement - introduction of whatever is beyond me! Freedom!)

    I remember one of the first times Mac and I were sleeping out of home. He was walking around being antsy while I was in bed. I said, "Mac - be cuddly" and he jumped on the bed, laid down, and went straight to sleep!! My boyfriend was very impressed, but I was too!

    However, in the situation you describe, I think that an 'advanced down' would be my bet... I actually frequently psyche my dogs up, and then ask a restrained cue (sit/drop/stand/dead position) which they need to perform for then continue psyching! So the reward is continuing to be psyched and unsettled. :p If they don't get psyched again, they stay relaxed.
  7. blisandt New Member

    My dog was so addicted to "over"s that I had to teach him "down, pop the hip out" - I had to teach it next to a wall to keep him from throwing himself into an "over"!

    So now I have "down" with a little point toward the back left (right as I face him) hip... and an "over" which is a little low clockwise circle which allows him to roll to his left (the right as I face him)!

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