Our Self-Study “Settle/Relax” program provides a structured program to follow and teaches you how to teach your dog to settle anywhere anytime despite high level distractions. The handler learns the theory and practical skills and practices them with their dog.
Dogs must be at least 4 months of age to start the Settle/Relax program. This behavior is ideal for anyone who wants a dog to be able to settle in public.
Our program has step by step modules that focus on learning the main concepts in teaching a dog to settle calmly on a mat or without one.
We use ‘direct instruction’ for the most part. That means we give you the information you need upfront, laid out in sequence in a step by step format, with some video examples, then you apply it. You learn by reading and observing. We also offer opportunities for reflection in our discussion topics that ask higher level (more thoughtful) questions.
There are optional private web cam sessions to allow you to get direct feedback from live training and submitted videos for settle/relax from an experienced training coach via web cam.
Physical Layout of Program:
Modules include lessons that are the background for the behavior. Games are practical aspect of teaching your dog. The games are are broken into tiny bite-sized objectives that are of a combination of text, short video demos, photos and diagrams. There are discussion questions to get you thinking about the training principles and concepts.
This program is set up for people who like to read and then watch short video clips that apply the instruction. Some students prefer to listen to a screen reader reading the text for them. Text is ideal for non-native English speakers.
Try a free sample lesson to see if the class structure will work for you!
There is a progress bar for each module to keep you on track and motivated to move forward.
We offer a behavior checklist for each game and the objectives laid out in each game. You can drop them into a spreadsheet of your choice. This checklist helps you to see the big picture while you train the small steps. It also allows you to see where you are at a glance and that you are indeed moving forward!
All program materials can continued to be accessed for one year from purchase date. After the year is up, you can purchase a Library Subscription to continue to access the Settle Program materials (and any other programs you have purchased).
Who is This Program Created For?
- Owners who want to train their own service dog.
- Pet dog owners who want a calmer dog.
- Anyone over the age of 18 years can take the classes.
- You can live anywhere in the world as long as you can read English and have access to high speed internet and a functioning webcam.
- If you are a minor, you must have a parent or guardian actively overseeing the training. They sign up on your behalf.
- If you do better with listening than reading, then using a screen reader might work for you.
- If you are hard of hearing, the short video clips do not have closed captioning as most videos only have the sound of the marker (click or “Yes!”). There is rarely any ‘talking head’ type videos in the class videos except the introduction to modules.
It is also for:
- Current trainers who want to update their skills and knowledge of the dog training industry
- Keen Dog owners who want to keep current on the most up-to-date science-based and ethical approaches
- Retirees looking for an enjoyable program to teach their dog to be a service dog.
- Therapy dog handlers and volunteer coordinators
- Dog walkers, dog daycare staff and dog sitters who want to upgrade their services to train the dogs they work with.
- Trainers who want to start offering dog-centred in-home board and train
- Kennel staff who want to offer training
- Sports enthusiasts who want a big picture understanding of how to teach foundation skills that can later be used to develop competition behaviors.
There are four modules included in the “Train the Dog” program.
They teach the dog:
- 5 ways to learn a settle
- that the hander may move away from him while he is in a settle
- that the handler can go out of sight and still stay put
- to go settle a distance away from the handler
- that he can settle with and without a mat.
- how to curl up into a very small space and move his tail out of the way.
- how to back into a small space (like bus or airport seats)
- how to ignore distractions while in a settle/relax.
In order to fully participate in our “Settle/Relax” program, you will need:
- a high-speed internet connection
- a computer, laptop, tablet or handheld device that has a recent operating system (older systems may have trouble displaying the lessons)
- service dog students-a dog that has suitable temperament and health and has appropriate socialization and exposure. Check out our blog posts on breeder and adult dog selection.
- dog trainer students- a dog that you have access to every day for 5 days a week (ideally for at least 2 separate training sessions per day)
- a web cam (for web cam sessions)
- transportation to get to locations where suitable level distractions are found
- a support system of helpers (see blog post on the topic)
Training equipment is simple: something portable that your dog can comfortably lay on. a towel, old yoga mat, dog bed etc.
Students can live in an apartment, condo, single family house or live in a Recreation Vehicle. If you are training a service dog candidate, then make sure you are following the residential tenancy laws of your state or province. Some states and provinces allow service dogs in training while others do not.
Relaxing is a natural behavior for dogs-in fact street dogs spend 16-18 hours each day resting or sleeping. What we want to do is to harness that natural behavior and build it into our service dog’s daily repertoire so we can use it to our advantage in situations where a dog may not normally settle.
None of our approaches use aversive or correction techniques or tools since acquiring new behaviors is about building confidence to be in situations and know that the dog is safe with and without the handler. We want to avoid suppressing behaviors and instead teach the dog what behaviors we would rather see (in this case calm responses).
Our “Settle/Relax” program will continue to build the bond with your dog!