"Settle" is simply another name for an extended down cue. However, it is often used as an “off” switch for dogs that are a bit too exuberant, mouthy, or wild. There are many strategies to get a good Settle cue.
I recommend that you first work in a calm manner at first and periodically ask your dog to “Settle” during training sessions. You should then continue practicing when your dog is more excited until you can eventually get the behavior reliably no matter how excited your dog is. If you ask for the behavior and your dog is too excited or is not motivated to do it, gently help your dog into position by luring the behavior with a treat or walk away from your dog until he calms down.
Then, work at a more calm level the next time until you are able to successfully get the behavior at any time. There are a few general strategies for teaching behaviors and here are descriptions to help you get started teaching this behavior.
Shape a Settle
- When your dog is lying down, gently pet him and give him treats
- If he gets up, you can either ignore him or ask him to lie down again and then pet him and/ or give him treats
- Say the cue, “Settle” after he is fairly calm and then continue petting and treating occasionally
- Release him at some point, “OK” and stop petting him
- Whenever you see him lie down, give him more attention and/or treats. This will motivate him to do that behavior more often.
- This is the same as above, but you will cue your dog, or ask him, to do the behavior
- Say the cue, “Settle” or “Enough” and then ask him to lie down and periodically pet him and/or treat him
- If he gets up, gently say, “Eh! Eh!” ask him to lie down again, and pet him and/ or give him treats
- This is the final goal
- Work with your dog practicing a short training session or a game of tug
- Say, “Settle” and stop moving, interacting with him and put your hands behind your back
- Ask him to lie down and then treat him
- Work with him a bit more and repeat the “Settle” cue, but require him to lie down and settle for a longer period of time
- If he gets up, you can say, “Eh! Eh!” and ask him to lie down again, or say, “Too bad!” and walk away from him. Eventually he will learn that to continue playing with you, he needs to turn it off when you ask.