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Old 07-22-2010, 01:51 PM
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Default Settle?

What's your favorite way to teach settle? I have a few ideas but I've never tried to train that before so some different methods or ways anyone else has used or heard about would be great.
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:08 PM
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Well, choose what behavior you designate as "settle." For me, it's not very specific. Maybe it should be. But if my dogs are being rambuncious (which they aren't very often. lol) I tell them "settle" and that means they should simmer down and maybe go lie down. They can chew a bone or sleep or not sleep. They don't even have to lie down, but they should calm down. I guess the best way would be to wait until your dog stops doing whatever it is he's doing that you don't like, and when he relaxes in the way you want him to, reinforce with a treat/praise or a nice bone that he likes to chew on, where he'll be apt to succeed and settle in with that. And say your cue, "settle."

Because my dogs don't bother me much with wild horse play, I really haven't made much of an attempt to perfect anything terribly specific. I just say "settle" or "settle down" in some kind of tone of voice that I hope and pray they understand.
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:18 PM
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Mainly what I want it for is if he's being annoying about wanting to do something with me or if people come over and he's being pushy or even if we are at some kind of dog event be it training club or something else and I just need him to chill for awhile.

My plan was mainly to do what you said and just capture it whenever he was doing what I'm going to decide what the behavior for settle was.

I just didn't know if anyone else had any other good ideas for it!

Thanks for your input, glad to know I was on the right track
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Old 07-22-2010, 02:30 PM
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If a dog is being pushy, bugging you for attention in a way that annoys you, you can simply ignore him and you don't have to tell him to settle or chill. He'll get the message with no pay off for pushiness. (you have to tell your friends to also ignore him until he settles, then give attention) If you want though, you can give him something else to do, but that is always more effective if you catch it before he starts with his pushiness...to have that pushy behavior replaced by something else which can be reinforced. If my dogs start getting whiney or pushy in any way, I realize I must have been inadvertantly reinforcing that by speaking, looking at, reacting in some way toward them. So, I wake up and think....oh, they're beginning to get annoying. I better ignore that so it will go away. And it does in short order, as long as I'm consistent. When there's no pay off for that behavior, they just naturally go off and lie down or chew on a bone. But if your dog goes off and gets into mischief, it might be better to show him what you'd like specifically, for him to do instead. Be sure and heavily reinforce that which you like.
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Old 07-22-2010, 03:29 PM
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Thanks for that, but I already know how to do that for when I want him to go away and entertain himself but that's really not at all what I was asking for in regards to advice for training settle and while I appreciate the advice, I would still like to have a settle for when I would like for him to go and chill so that he has an alternative behavior that he can preform. I would like it for times when I don't just want him to go do something else but rather just calm down and relax where he is on command but still not have it a rigid command like down or sit. More like a state of mind. Figured it would be most useful when I compete with him and there are bitches in heat or something else highly distracting and I'm just sitting around with him

So yes, I know I can ignore him and he'll go away or redirect if needed. But I would like to try and have a command for "settle" also as an option
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:08 PM
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I wasn't sure if you wanted a specific behavior to be taught and/or the pushy behavior to stop. That's why I explained it both ways....one, where you put a specific behavior you want on cue and the other, if you simply want the obnoxious, attention seeking behavior to stop.

If you have something in mind that you want your dog to do or a specific place you want your dog to go, then those things have to be commincated clearly. You can show your dog by leading him to the place or to the activity you want.

You can capture behavior...when he does it on his own coincidentally and you click and treat that.

Or you can shape behavior by rewarding approximations toward the goal behavior and little by little raising the ante.

You can also utilize successive approximation, whereby you bring the environment, so to speak to him, change that to make it easier for him, rather than changing his behavior (only) in incriments. If he's to lie on a mat, you can bring the mat closer to him to make it easy, and then move it a few inches further as he gets onto the trick, then further still. You reward for small increments of duration that he stays there and build up. You then add in distractions little by little and have him stay. As he gets onto it, you can add your cue. Lots of reinforcement for every correct response until it's well learned.

You'll pretty much need a specific behavior or action you teach your dog because it's too ambiguous and unclear to a dog, to convey what state of mind you want your dog to be in. If he happens to appear to be in a state of mind you like, you can reinforce that heavily. What will he think he's being reinforced for? What will he likley repeat in the future? How will he know that it's his state of mind he's being reinforced for? Dogs are barely aware of their own behavior until they're very experienced learners. He's going to eventually attach the cue and reward to something he's doing or some place he is located.

What do you want him to be doing? Lie down and stay...on a mat across the room? That's specific, but you don't want something specific. It is going to have to be pretty specific.

My dogs aren't well trained in this trick. I have not needed it really. If I want them to go lie down, I tell them that. But if I say "settle" to my dogs, I'm not really telling them what to do. I'm just basically interrupting what they're doing and changing the subject...very non specifically...very sloppily. It's really pretty useless in how I'm using it, but I talk to my dogs and say things all the time that have little to do with actual training. I'm sure they don't know what I mean when I say "settle." They guess and stop doing what they're doing...must be my disapproving tone. I might as well say, "go lie down" because that's what they're probably going to do anyhow. For what you're describing with your dog and how he is pushy etc, I wouldn't count on doing what I do and expecting much. He sounds like he has a much more exuberant personality than my Chi's. And dogs learn better when they can tie a behavior to a cue and reinforcer.
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Old 07-22-2010, 04:36 PM
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Ok, I don't think we're quite getting eachother

So I'll tell you what my idea was for teaching settle and maybe we we'll be on the same page because I don't think I was making myself clear

I was going to start by just freeshaping his chin touching the floor and only that. I don't care how the rest of his body is, just that his chin is touching the floor. Then I'm going to start waiting until he is in a calmer state of mind while his chin is on the floor and then reward heavily when I believe he's in the state of mind I'm looking for. Hopefully linking the calm and chin to floor together so that it will become a conditioned response

Ok, so that's the break down, though I do know I skipped a lot of steps set backs that will inevitably be in the middle

I know what shaping, capturing and all that is. That's pretty much how Traveler has been taught everything so far so he's getting pretty good at learning how to learn.

This isn't because of any issue I'm having now. Right now he's an absolute doll. This is because I know the breed is highly intelligent, drivey plus I plan to compete with him in different venues and so I know I'll be around a lot of intact dogs and he's going to be one of them. Males, especially young ones are known to loose what little brain they have and I want to have a command already down and ready for when that happens. While that's my main reason it would also be nice to have in the house for when he's being a butt and I just want him to stop for a few mintues.

So what I was mainly asking in this thread was different ideas to teach that, to see if anyone sounded better than my idea
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Old 07-22-2010, 05:38 PM
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It sounds like you have it under control. You know how to train him and are familiar with behavior, so that you can apply it to this. I'm sure I don't have any better way than you already can come up with. In other words, I'm confident you'll work this out just fine. I hope you come back and keep us posted on your progress.
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"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

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Old 07-22-2010, 07:14 PM
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Ok well I'm glad that sounds doable to you! I've been having trouble coming up with how exactly I wanted to do it so that it was both something physical and mental you know? That's the main reason I really wanted to know if anyone had any ideas, I'll try and explain myself better though next time, because I know I wasn't clear.

Thanks again and if anyone has any ideas they think might work better feel free to tell me, always open to ideas!
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Old 07-22-2010, 07:29 PM
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Someone may well have a better explanation. I find myself frequently having large bubbles of air in my head that block out my imagination. I think it's stress related.
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"If you love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen." -- Samuel Adams 1776





"When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty."

Thomas Jefferson
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