How to teach your puppy to settle down


How to teach your puppy to settle down
How to teach your puppy to settle down

Teaching your puppy to “settle down” is something essential. Though it may be fun to watch a cute little puppy run around everywhere, that behavior will soon hard to handle and there are situations where you need to get your puppy calm and relaxed.

Imagine you have friends at home or you are out at a restaurant or pub, then it is important that you can get your puppy to settle down otherwise it will be tough to bring it along. Being able to relax and spend time on its own is also good for your puppy and a puppy who is calm and relaxed will be able to concentrate better and is therefore easier to train.

In this post, I will go through how to teach your puppy to settle down and relax in various situations. The idea is to be able to stop your puppy’s excitement and calmly make him/her settle down whenever the need arises.

Start getting your puppy to settle down at home. This is easier because this is a place your puppy knows well and there are far fewer distractions than for example in the park where there are other dogs, people and new smells and noises everywhere. The aim is to get your puppy to lay down calmly without getting distracted by what is around him/her and without asking for attention.

There are several ways of doing this and it is good to practice “settle down” in different situations and places so that the puppy will learn to settle wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

When starting out it will be much easier if the puppy is relatively calm but once your puppy really masters this command you should be able to get it to relax and settle even if it is in an exited state.

You can start by sitting in a sofa or chair and then place a blanket at your feet. You then call your puppy over and make it sit or lay down on the blanket, use a command such as “settle” or “calm down” Once it is laying calmly you reward it with a treat. If your puppy gets exited again and gets up, repeat the process, using the command “settle” while gently pushing the puppy down. Once he/she is staying calm, you reward him/her again with a treat. You repeat this process over and over again until the puppy understands what the command settle means.

relaxed puppy

Now it is time to continue getting your puppy to settle in other situations, such as when it is not soo calm to start with for example during play sessions. You can stop the play session, make the puppy go to its mat and settle there. Once the puppy is calm and relaxed, you resume play sessions. If your puppy does not settle, you simply wait until it does. Do not give it any attention just wait until its relaxed and the resume play session. This will teach the puppy that being calm and relaxed will be rewarded with play.

Next will be to get your puppy to relax and settle in a situation where there are more distractions and noise around. You can for example try this when friends and family are around and then move on and increase the difficulty and try it out in public, like in a park. The thing is to do this gradually and make sure the puppy feels comfortable and is reasonably calm when trying to make it relax somewhere where there is more people noise and distractions around.

The state of mind of the puppy is of course very important when it comes to being able to settle and to relax. When the puppy really is nervous and stressed you can not make it relax and lay down right away, you will have to do it gradually, make her calm down until she can relax completely and lay down. Being able to read your puppy’s body language will help in determining your puppy’s energy level. This is done by keeping an eye on the puppy’s breathing, body postures and facial expressions. You can learn more about reading your puppy’s/dog’s body language here.

Remain cool and relaxedYour own state of mind is also very important when teaching your puppy to relax. You must be calm and relaxed yourself. Dogs are very sensitive to our moods and the puppy will feel your “energy”. If you are stressed and nervous there is no way your puppy will be able to relax either. The puppy will follow your example and the more you show your “calm energy” and self-confidence the sooner you will be able to make your puppy relax.

In order to make a puppy relaxed it is important that its other needs are fulfilled. For example a puppy who is not getting enough exercise will be very difficult to get calm and relaxed. Enough physical and mental stimulation is necessary in order to make this work.

Another thing that is very important is that the puppy feels safe and trusts the people around him/her. You can easily imagine this yourself. If you are among people you don’t know or don’t trust and feel comfortable around then it is very difficult to relax and settle down. The same thing goes for a dog or puppy, it needs to feel safe and trust the surrounding people.

If you put these tips to work I am sure you are soon going to get your puppy to relax. A puppy being able to relax on cue will be a lot easier to live with and it is also good for the puppy as it feel more relaxed and confident. Just remember to have patient and to stay calm.

To learn more about how to train your puppy, how to raise it and how to deal with any problem that you may face I really do recommend that you take a really good look at this Online Dog Training Program. It will teach you everything you need to know in order to train and raise a puppy.

You will learn how to train your puppy by watching videos of a professional dog trainer when he trains client’s dogs. Support is also available via Skype, e-mail or a forum. It is a very simple, practical and cheap way to learn dog training. If you would like to learn more, take a look at my Full review of the Online Dog Trainer. You can also go directly to the Online Dog Trainer and sign up for a Free Video Based Dog Training course.

I hope you enjoyed this post and that you found it useful. If you have any questions or tips that you would like to share, please post them below.

All the best,



Comments 29

  • Thank you for this. How can we train a dog at home in the current times of corona? Online dog training resources like these arent a good way to stay home and train your dog? I would appreciate your thoughts on this. Regards

    • Hi Aby,
      I think that online dog training courses will work very well in these periods of time. As you train your dog at home in your own time there is no need to physically meet other people. You can still keep in touch with others through forums, e-mail and skype and thus get the support you need in order to succeed.

      Brain Training for dogs is an excellent dog training program and soo is The online Dogtrainer with Doggy Dan.

      I wish you the best of luck and if I can be of any further help feel free to contact me anytime.

  • Hi Jojo,

    You really are an expert in dog behavior. Your blog is a good reference for dog lovers and people who are interested to keep dogs as pets. 

    Having pets is a huge responsibility and without knowledge on handling them can lead to disastrous situations.

    I have experience in handling cats and kittens when my children were young. But it gets frustrating when they get knocked by speeding cars passing my house. We also faced problems when we leave them during weekends when we go outstation. 

    Anyway, I find your blog to be very informative and a good resource for dog lovers. 

    • Thank you very for your kind words. I am happy that you like my website and that you find it useful. You are soo right when you say that pets are a great responisibility and dogs in particular are demanding pets that need time and patience. It is also important to know how dog’s function and how they are raised and trained and that is what I try to do with my site, to teach people what they need to know to take care of their pets.

      I think cats also make great pets and for people with limited time they are often a better choice than a dog since cats are more independent.

      All the best,


  • It’s really difficult for me to get mine to settle down, especially when there’s music at the house. He’s pretty young, he’s only 6 months old, but I’ve read that it’s better to start training him now, otherwise it’ll be a problem later. I’ll try your advice and hopefully, it’ll work on him. 🙂

    • Hi,

      at six months old, your puppy is certainly not too young to learn how to settle down. The thing is you have to do it step by step. If your puppy gets exited when there is music around then first try to make him settle somewhere really calm where there is very few distractions and then you gradually increase the difficulty by trying to make him settle when there are other people and maybe a little noise around.

      Apart from getting your puppy to settle, do you have other issues with him? The best thing is to train your puppy a little everyday and try to keep training sessions short and fun. Here are Top Ten Dog Training Tips that I think you will find useful.

      You might also want to take a look at this video which will show you the puppy section of the dog training site the Online Dog Trainer, which is great dog training site where you can learn all you need in order to properly train and raise your puppy. Here is a link to this puppy training video.

      I am also here to help you if you have any questions. Feel free to contact me anytime if I can be of help.

      I wish you the best of luck.


  • I love your article! My little Irma – a 3-year-old labrador – is always jumping around. Now it’s not that big of a deal when she’s in the yard, but now that gets colder, I ger her in the house and she’s jumping around all the time. Two broken vases and counting…

    Your blanket advice worked! I don’t think she remembers any of the words yet, but when I touch her nape she calms down. Thanks!

    • Hi and thank you for your kind words.

      I am really happy to hear that you are already having success getting your dog to settle. Just keep going and you will soon be able to get her to settle with easily and that will certainly make things a lot easier.

      I wish you the best of luck with your Labrador, maybe you could write to me and tell me how things go?


  • This is my first time having a pet, and I haven’t started teaching her some commands using words. She understand signs better than she does with words, it’s quite weird to me, is there a reason for that? She is fun and a bit hyper so I really feel is good to get her to understand commands to do some certain things like settling down becausemy kids can’t really signs to her.

    • Hi,

      If your puppy understands commands better when you use signs then you should continue to use them. What you should do is to combine the sign with a word. So you give the sign at the same time as you say the command. For example when teaching the command “sit” you gentle push your puppy’s backside down at the same time as you give the command “sit” and your dog will understand what you mean. You can do this with all commands you teach your puppy and soon your puppy will master the commands.

      Try it out and then maybe you would like to write to you and tell me how it goes?

      Good luck!


  • Teaching puppy to settle down and maintain their calm would help them while growing up and also make them get accustomed to obeying one. Well! It may prove to be futile at first but with time, it becomes very paramount and essential. This is really interesting and thank you for sharing here. I will surely make good use of this information.

    • Thank you. Training and socializing a puppy really is essential for the well being of both the puppy and its owners. Training can be a lot fun to and once your puppy masters the basics you can go on with more advanced training.

      All the best,


  • Hi Jojo, thank you very much for publishing a great article about “How to teach your puppy to settle down”. Actually, I didn’t know how to settle down a puppy. But after reading this article, I know how to settle down a puppy in different situations and places. Finally, I hope you will publish more useful article in future.

    • Thank you. Take a look at the rest of my site, there are many more articles there and more articles are on their way.

      All the best,


  • Teaching a dog to settle down is something that many people need to understand because sometimes, people can read the fact that the dog doesn’t settle down as a sign of disrespect which in contrast is not true. I like the way you have handled this post and spoken about how to do that. I will like to share this with my sister who takes care of our puppies now. Thank you

    • You are right, a puppy who does not manage to settle is not disrespectful. There are two aspects of this, one is self control. It can be difficult for a puppy to control itself and settle down if there are many exiting things happening around it. The other thing is that your puppy must learn what you mean by the different commands you are trying to teach it. Often when a dog or puppy does not obey it is simply because it does not understand what you want it to do.

      Share this post with your sister and she has any issues with her puppies she can contact me at any time and I will do what ever I can to help.


  • This is an indispensable post and I really found it to be very worthy. Training a dog irrespective of the breed requires one to take the full control and sometimes, take the iron approach. This is massive and well detailed on the needs that a dog must be well trained to value the need to be calm and also obey commands of resting or relaxing at specific points. Great one

    • Thank you. Like you say, dogs of all breeds need to be trained and dogs also have different personalities and some dogs are easier to train than others. I don’t really know what you mean by the iron approach the method I reccommend when training a dog is “Postive re-inforcement”. That means that reward the dog when it does something well and ignores it when it does something wrong. That way the dog will learn that doing the right thing will get rewarded by attention, fun and maybe treats while it will get ignored when misbehaving.


  • I’m not so good when it comes to training dogs, don’t get me wrong, I’m a very big fan infact I have two big dogs. I’ve learned a lot of things from this article, the tips are practical and easy to achieve. I understand the fact that dogs are really sensitive to safety, so when a puppy is not convenient with it’s environment or around the people it is, it won’t be settled or calm.

    • Yes you are right. A puppy needs feel safe and comfortable otherwise it will be very difficult to make it settle down. That is why I reccommend that you start training this command at home in a quiet spot where the puppy feels safe, relaxed and without too many distractions around.

      All the best,


  • Wow, thanks for this post about how to settle down our puppy, am a really socialized person and I really love my puppy but you know dogs when they  in public they don’t settle down, so most times I don’t take him along , but with this article about how to make them sit in place I’ll try it out with my puppy and if it works then we’ll have the confidence of taking him out on any outing am going for because I do want him by my side always .thanks

    • Hi,

      with a little bit of training you should be able to take your dog anywhere where dogs are allowed. Just make your dog get used settling down gradually, starting out where there is not many distractions (such as in a quiet area of your home) and then try to make him settle in other places where there are more distractions and noise around. Be patient and reward your dog for settling down and you will soon succeed.

      I wish you good luck and please contact me if I can be of any help.


  • Hello Jojo, pets can get really excited some times and getting them to settle even when you are used to getting them to di so in past times can bew hard. So I feel it’s better we start such habit of teaching them these things from a very tender age. My buddy is 3years old and loves to run around at the park with other dogs, but when he gets the command to “Sit” he does it regardless of what he is doing, although you get to see this sad look in him.

    • Yeah, dogs really know how to use our week spots so they adopt “the sad look” to get do what they want again.

      You seemed to have trained your dog really well, if you can get it to sit regardless of the fact that he is really exited then you have really understood what the command settle is all about.

      Thank you for your input.


  • Some dogs are very quick to catching up while some are not. I feel bad when I see people maltreat their dogs just because they want them to settle down. I don’t think that hitting the dog is the right thing to do. You have given some very good tips and also mentioned that it is important that the dog is calm in order to make it settle. My dog tries as much as possible to be calm when I say so except when he is hungry.

    • You are soo right. Hitting a dog is never a good thing and it will not solve any problem at all. Most of the time when dog owners can not teach their dog something it is usually because the dog does not understand what he/she is supposed to do. There is also a question of understanding how our own behavior influences our dogs. If you are to get your dog to settle down then you must be calm yourself as the dog will follow your behavior.


  • It gets really annoying sometimes when you just want your anxious dog to calm down but it doesn’t seem to work a bit. I so much agree with you that when other needs of the puppy isn’t met, it will be difficult for it to be calm. Thanks for sharing such interesting tips, they will be of great help to me particularly cos my daughter just got a puppy. Thanks.

    • Yes,

      a puppy needs to feel safe, get enough sleep, exercise and good food otherwise it will be difficult to train it.

      I wish your daughter the best of luck with her puppy and if there is anything I can do to help feel free to contact me any time and I will do whatever I can to help you.

      All the best,


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