Start training at home and at times when your dog is more likely to be already relaxing. You’ll know your dog is truly settled when they lie down, not asking for attention, and not easily distracted by what’s going on around them. To begin with you may just need to reward your dog for any behaviour that is not staring at you, pulling on the lead, or barking.
Sit quietly on a chair with your dog on the lead and a blanket on the floor. Drop tiny bite size treats to your dog as a reward for settling down on the blanket. Don’t say anything to your dog whilst doing this.
Gradually reward more relaxed behaviours. This will vary between dogs – some will automatically start lying down and you can quickly progress to rewarding your dog only for this behaviour, before moving on to reward specific signs of relaxing like sighing, weight shifting and head resting. Some dogs will take longer and will struggle to stop pulling on the lead or staring at you. If this is the case with your dog, you’ll need to take things more slowly by rewarding behaviours such as standing quietly, disengaging from people or sniffing their blanket.
Always make sure your dog is having a good time when settling, whether enjoying their toys, chews, or simply dozing and snoozing!