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Calming a Hyper Puppy Down

Do you have a hyper puppy? He won't stop jumping, biting and playing? Puppies have a lot of energy and they need exercise and attention, but they also need to learn to settle down and stop playing when you as them to.

It is not always intuitive how to get a hyper puppy to calm down, most people tend to yell and push the puppy away. Unfortunately, many times the puppy misunderstands the meaning of these human words and behaviors and thinks you simply want to play more roughly.

Positive methods and a calm attitude will be your tools, the harshest punishment you will give your dog is to ignore him for short periods of time. But mostly, you need to actively teach him and show him what calm looks like.

To teach your dog to settle we will use Capturing and Clicker Training. You can read more about these dog training methods on each link. If you do not want to use a clicker, simple teach your dog a word instead.

The key to success in dog training is to

always reward good behavior and ignore bad behavior.

We are often aware when our hyper puppy is doing something bad, but as soon as he settles down we tend to ignore him…the opposite of what we should be doing!

Following are the steps to teach your dog to settle but just remember…click and treat every time your pet is calm, that's it!

Training your dog to settle

Step 1: Charge the clicker!

If you haven't used the clicker with your hyper puppy before the first step is to "charge the clicker", simply click and give your puppy a treat! That simple. Repeat many times a days for a few days, no matter what your pet is doing. Just click and treat!. When your dogs eyes light up after the click sound, you are ready to train!

If you do not want to use a clicker, teach your dog a marker word. The purpose is the same as the clicker but using words instead.

Step 2: Reward a calm puppy

two cute labrador pappies by Viorel Sima

Wait until your dog settles down on his own. Be patient, it will happen eventually. Try not to play with him or arouse him in any way. As soon as your dog is calm, click and treat!

Your puppy will most likely get excited again after the treat and praise. Now it is time to repeat this step many times.

You are ready to move on to the next step when your puppy starts getting calmer sooner around you.

Step 3: Add the "settle" command

To add a verbal command, wait again for your puppy to calm down. When he is settled say the word "settle" followed by click and treat!

Repeat many times.

Repeat this at least 10 times a day and every time you catch your dog laying down and calm throughout the day. Say the word Settle followed by click and treat!

The goal is for your pup to start associating the word "settle" with his calm behavior. For this to happen you need many repetitions.

Practice and be patient!

Step 4: Ask your hyper puppy to settle

After many repetitions your puppy should start settling down more often around you. This is basic animal learning and can be explained by operant conditioning. The more you reward a behavior, the more that behavior will happen.

Now it is time to try the command "settle".

Start a play session with your puppy in a low distraction room. Stop playing and say "settle". Wait for your pet to calm down (it might take several seconds), as soon as he calms down…click and treat!

Repeat many times and from now on only reward your pet when he calms down after your command.

Step 5: Reliable "settle" command

To make any dog training command reliable you must train it from the beginning in many different places and under different levels of distractions. Always working your way up from less to most difficult.

Read training a reliable dog command for more information.

Now that your hyper-puppy can settle down teach him to stop biting!

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