- Kristen VanNess
Settle 301: Learning to Settle Under a Table
This is the third lesson in our Pup U series, Teaching Your Dog to Settle.
Teaching a skill in your living room doesn’t mean your dog will be able to do the skill in other situations. We can find other environments that are a little more realistic as we work towards a goal of visiting a coffee shop or outdoor restaurant. A quiet park bench is a great starting place!
Teaching Your Dog to be Comfortable at an Outdoor Restaurant
You may have seen dogs at an outdoor restaurant or coffee shop. Some of these dogs have naturally laid back personalities and others have had a lot of training. We can take training steps to help your dog be better prepared. This goal is only suitable for dogs who are friendly and social. Dogs who need more personal space can work up to a coffee at the park.
Once he's had some practice with his going to bed and laying on bed or we can then practice this under a picnic table or next to a table at a park. You may even try a coffee shop at a time of day when it's not very busy. Choose a location to sit where you have plenty of room for your dog and out of areas with more foot traffic. Exercise your dog beforehand and help him be appropriately tired.
Place his bed under the table and out of the way. Encourage your dog onto his bed. Reward him for staying on while there are distractions in the environment. Reward him for calm watching or calm resting. Do not let him stare intensely at other people or animals. Staring usually leads to increased excitement.
Some dogs benefit from a break, after 5-10 minutes, get up and walk away from the area for a few minutes before returning. Giving a young dog a chance to wiggle can help him settle better once he’s at the table.
Tips to Keep Dogs Calm
For some dogs, this is a great place to use a safe, tasty chew item. This might be a stuffed, hollow rubber toy. A squeaky toy is not appropriate for public settings. Hard plastic bones are not tasty enough for a public environment for most dogs. A chew might help keep your dog busy and settled. This can help create expectations of calm experiences. Chew items are not a good option for dogs who may guard it from other people or animals.
Need to review? Check out Settle 101: Teaching Your Dog to Go To Her Bed and Settle 201: Settle and Stay.
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