My first response to this question is why not teach it! The settle command is one of the most useful tools for changing a behavior. It simply means go to a place and relax. Keep in mind that dogs often have difficulty doing two things at the same time so you are giving them another option. It’s nice to use a pad or bed which is easier to move around your home instead of a crate.
Our Rudy, an English lab, was a very reactive dog. He would bark at almost anything outside of the window. I would let him bark once or twice because that was his job and then I’d ask him to go to his bed. The bed was on the other side of the room from the window which worked well. He would go lie down, have a treat and relax. Of course it’s not quite this easy in the beginning and has to be trained.
This is an excellent skill to teach all ages. Little Shea is learning to stay on her bed in the kitchen instead of climbing in the dishwasher. It’s great for counter surfers, those dogs who have learned to take things off of tables and counters. It’s always easier to prevent a behavior than to have to deal with it later. Our kitchens are dangerous places so wouldn’t it be nice to have your dog on a pad near you but not under your feet while you are busy preparing a meal?
Does your dog bother you while you are eating? Teach him to stay in his bed.
Does your dog jump on the furniture? Place his bed next to your chair and reward him for staying in it.
Does your dog charge the front door when the bell rings? The doorbell is an environmental cue and can be associated with a behavior similar to a verbal command or hand signal. These dogs are learning to relax on the step in the foyer when they hear the doorbell.
Do you have dogs who fight or perhaps one who chases a small child? Interrupt those behaviors with the bed command.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a visitor in your home and your dog would lie calmly in his bed next to your chair while you have a conversation?
In nice weather you may enjoy eating at a fast food outdoor restaurant. Take your dog and a towel to use as his place and teach him to be calm around strangers.
We teach the settle command during the first session of our training classes. Otherwise it would be very difficult for owners to get their dog’s attention.
Your imagination is the limit when it comes to the very many uses for this training technique. We love it!