Settle 201: Settle and Stay
The second lesson in our Settle series is teaching a dog to stay on the bed until we invite them off.
This is the second lesson in our Pup U series, Teaching Your Dog to Settle.
Another aspect of this skill is teaching your dog to stay on the bed or mat. You’ll notice we’re not using a cue or command here - the bed itself will be the signal for your dog to stay. You can get creative with the distractions or stay next to your dog while someone else provides the distractions.
Teaching Your Dog to Settle and Stay
Another part of our go-to bed training is teaching a dog to stay on the bed until we invite him off.
Encourage him onto the bed. Take a tiny step away, just an inch or two. Return to your starting spot. Reward your dog for staying. Repeat this a few times, moving in different directions. Then increase to a slightly larger step - half a normal step size. Continue to increase the size or number of steps. Return and reward for each repetition.
If he gets up, that's okay. Just direct him back and try again. He gets up a few times in a row then we probably need to make the distraction easier so that he can be successful. We want to provide a lot of feedback, this means initially rewarding after every single distraction for now. When he's more experienced, we might do two or three distractions in a row before rewarding. He can switch his position on the bed as long as he's staying on there. A raised bed or one with edges can make this easier for some dogs.
Another variation is to practice in a location where the environment is interesting. You might try this in front of your house or at a park. A bird flies by, reward your dog for staying. Kids yell in the distance. Reward your dog for staying. A dog walks by 20’ away. Reward your dog for staying.
Deliberately Reward Stillness or Calm Behaviors
Choose times of day or situations where your dog is more likely to be calm. This might be after exercise rather than right when you get home from work. You might find your dog does better after dinner, rather than before dinner when he is more hungry.
Reward your dog for calm behaviors, such as moving from a sit to lying down or if he rests his head on the bed. Do your best to not reward if he is fidgeting or moving on the bed.
Deliver the treats in a slow, calm way. If your dog is lying down, the treat can be delivered to the bed between his paws. If your dog is sitting, bring the treat to him so that he is not stretching or getting up to accept the treat.
Need to review? Check out Settle 101: Teaching Your Dog to Go To Her Bed.