The PAWS Blog

Teach a Hyper Dog to Be Calmer

Puppies are balls of energy! They love to play, jump around, and bite. They are full of zest and always in need of exercise. However, no matter how cute they are when demanding your attention, they also need to learn how to settle and stop playing, especially when you ask them to. Many people yell at their puppies to get them to behave, but instead of seeing this as a threat, most puppies think that it is you asking to play some more.

If you want your puppy to learn how to calm down, you need to actively teach and show them how to do it. A dog owner should know that the key to dog training success is always to reward good behavior and ignore the bad. 

1: Introducing the clicker

First, you need to familiarize your puppy with the clicker. Just click and then give your puppy a treat. Repeat this as many times as you can for days. It does not matter what your pet is doing; you just keep on clicking and giving a treat. As soon as you see that your dog’s eyes light up after they hear the click sound, that’s the signal that they are ready for training.

If you do not have a clicker or you prefer not to use one, you can use a marker word instead. The clicker and the marker word’s purpose is the same: You say the word, and the puppy gets the treat.

2: The calm puppy gets the reward

The next thing you should do is to wait until your puppy settles down on their own. Do not worry. It will eventually happen. Be patient, and do not try to play or arouse them in any way. The moment that they calm down, click and treat immediately.

Expect your puppy to get excited again after getting your treat and praise. You need to wait for them to calm down again so you can repeat the process. Do it as many times as possible. You will know that you are ready for the next step when your puppy gets calmer sooner than the first time.

3: Introducing the “settle” command

Now that you have a calm puppy, you may proceed by introducing a verbal command. As soon as they stay still, say the word “settle” and follow it using the click and treat method. Like the previous steps, repeat it many times. Try to do it at least ten times a day or every time you see them lying down and calm. This part is when they start to associate the word “settle” with their calm behavior. It will require many repetitions, so keep on practicing.

4: Test the command with a hyper puppy

With frequent practice, your puppy will probably start settling more often around you. The next part is to test your puppy’s training when they are in a particularly playful mood.

Stay in a room with no distractions and start a play session with your puppy. Then, stop playing and say the word “settle.” It may take them a few seconds to calm down but click and treat as soon as they do. Repeat this some more, but from now on, you will only reward them when they immediately calm down after your command.

5: Testing out the command in a more distracting place

To ensure that your dog has learned the command, test their training in various places with different levels of distractions. Work your way up from the least distracting place to the most dif