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How To Teach Your Small Breed Dog To Settle

Updated: Feb 22

Westie laying down, dog to settle, teaching your small breed dog

Teaching Your Dog To Settle - The aim is a calm, well-balanced dog!

The skill of settling isn't exclusive to humans. Have you considered the benefits of teaching this calm command to your beloved small breed dog?

At Mary Puppins Luxury Dog Home Boarding, we recognise the importance of teaching your dog to settle for a relaxed and harmonious environment. Discover the process of guiding your furry family member towards tranquility.

Teaching Your Dog To Settle - Why is teaching the settle command important?

The settle command serves as a means for both you and your dog to unwind and find serenity.


“Teaching a dog that won’t settle to lie down when asked on a mat or dog bed gives them and you time to “switch off” and chill out. Giving time for your dog to settle and relax allows Glutamate, which is linked with brain development, cognition, learning and memory, to rise. It also releases Dopamine, which makes them feel good.”  Battersea Dogs & Cats Home


Teaching Your Dog To Settle For Their Confidence

Teaching the settle command contributes to your dog's self-reliance, reduces separation anxiety, and triggers the release of dopamine, enhancing their well-being.

Step 1

Place a comfortable mat, blanket, or towel on the ground. Allow your dog to explore the designated area and reward them for investigating it. Gradually, reward your dog as they place two paws on the mat, advancing to all four paws. Consistently offer rewards to establish positive associations with the mat. Reinforce this until your dog feels at ease standing on the mat.

Step 2

Once your dog is comfortable on the mat, introduce the 'down' command. Prompt your dog to lie down and reward their compliance. With consistent training, your dog will naturally link the mat to the settle command.

Step 3

Over time, extend the duration of settling sessions. Practice in varying environments, gradually increasing the level of distractions. Allocate ample time for training your dog to settle.

Like with all good things, investing time, patience and kindness in teaching your small breed dog to settle will see them thrive.

Your bond with your little one will strengthen and your whole family household will be calmer.


“For a happy family life, it’s important that dogs learn to relax and have time on their own. It’s especially important for them to do this when you’re busy at home – with guests, making dinner or cleaning, or outside with friends at the pub or a café.” Dogs Trust


What does it mean to teach a small breed dog to settle?

Teaching a small breed dog to settle means training the dog to calm down and relax on command. This is especially useful when the dog is overly excited or anxious.

Why is teaching a small breed dog to settle important?

The importance of teaching a small breed dog to settle lies in its ability to help manage the dog’s energy levels and prevent unwanted behaviours.

Small breed dogs often have high energy levels and can become easily excited. You can help them control their energy and behave appropriately by teaching them to settle.


“Stand a few feet away from the place with your dog close to you and with a treat or toy in your hand say the cue word go settle and lure him onto the mat with a pointed hand containing the lure. When he has all four paws on the mat, praise and give him the treat or toy. At this stage you are not asking him to sit, lie down or stay on the mat.” Victoria Stilwell Positively


What are the steps involved in teaching a small breed dog to settle?

The steps to teach a small breed dog to settle typically involve:

Choosing a quiet, distraction-free area for training.

Using a command word or phrase, such as “settle” or “relax”.

Rewarding your dog when they show signs of calming down after the command is given.

Gradually increasing the time the dog needs in order to stay calm before it gets a reward.

Practising this regularly and in different environments helps the dog generalise the behaviour.

How can I reinforce the settle behaviour in my small breed dog?

Reinforcing the settle behaviour can be done through consistent practice and positive reinforcement.

This could include verbal praise, treats, or petting.

It’s also essential to reinforce the behaviour in different settings and situations to help the dog understand that “settle” means to calm down, no matter where they are or what’s going on.

What should I do if my small breed dog struggles with settling?

Suppose your small breed dog struggles with settling.

In that case, consulting with a professional dog trainer or a behaviourist might be helpful.

They can provide personalised advice and strategies based on your dog’s needs and behaviours.

Additionally, patience and consistency are key. It may take time for your dog to learn to settle, but with consistent training, they can learn this valuable skill.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended as a substitute for veterinary advice. For specific veterinary dog health advice, contact a veterinary pet healthcare provider

At Mary Puppins Luxury Dog Home Boarding, we recognise that settling is pivotal for dogs of all sizes, including small and toy breeds.

Our expert Dog Nannies are dedicated to delivering a 5-star experience for your small breed dogs, ensuring that doggy holidays are truly exceptional.

After all, dogs are cherished members of the family, and our commitment to their well-being distinguishes us as a premier choice for dog boarding. Contact us to explore how Mary Puppins Luxury Dog Home Boarding in Cheshire offers the perfect haven for your dog's holiday.

Our exceptional Dog Nannies and well-appointed boutique animal hotel provide the ultimate comfort for small breed and toy breed dogs.

Your dog's relaxation and happiness are our top priorities.

BOOK NOW via our website. We have limited places and get booked up super fast. Give your little dog the five-star VIP holiday they deserve, while you enjoy yours.

Mary Puppins, dog to settle, teaching your small breed dog

Mary Puppins, teach your small dog to settle

Mary Puppins Dog Nanny expert in small breed dogs

Kate Phillips, Chief Editor

BSc (Hons), MSc

Kate is the UK's very own Mary Puppins, a professional Dog Nanny and expert in small breed dogs. With over 30 years' experience and successfully helping high profile celebrity pet parents raise their furry families, Kate shares her top tips with you. Kate guides readers on small breed dogs, dog health, dog training, dog nutrition, dog food, dog walks, dog accessories, dog enrichment, rescue dogs, dog behaviour, dog grooming and the best products for dog mums and dog dads to create the ultimate luxury lifestyle for their small dogs.


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