3 Tips to Teach Your Dog to Settle Down & Stop Barking

by Hannah Roundy

Calm dog on couch with person

Wouldn’t it be nice if manners came naturally to dogs? Read on to learn our hacks on how to get your dog to calm down. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if manners came naturally to dogs? Read on to learn our hacks on how to get your dog to calm down. 

Why won’t my dog settle down?

If you have a hyper dog that loves to bark and jump on guests, know that you’re not alone. Dogs can act out for various reasons and most of them are fixable with the help of some training. You can stop your dog from jumping on people, barking, and biting – but first, learn the reasons why they are acting out.

Hyper breeds

Some breeds have higher energy levels than others and it takes more effort for them to calm down. Beagles, Siberian Huskies, Jack Russell Terriers, and Golden Retrievers are famous examples of high-energy dog breeds. These breeds are very smart and athletic, so they need plenty of exercise and mental stimulation in order to properly settle down. 

Lack of exercise

Dogs have a lot of energy to burn – that’s why it’s important to devote time to their daily exercise. Pet parents exercise their pups through daily walks, runs, or dedicated playtime. Lack of exercise can lead your dog to destructive behavior and hyperactivity.


Misbehavior in dogs can also be caused by pure boredom. When dogs are bored, they may take to entertaining themselves by chewing up furniture or running laps around the house. Keep your pup mentally stimulated (and well-behaved) by giving them plenty of toys, exercise, and activities to do. 

Your dog's diet

You might be getting your dog plenty of exercise and mental stimulation – so why can’t they calm down? The answer may be on the ingredient list of your dog’s food. Hyperactivity in dogs can be caused by blood sugar spikes from food with high levels of carbohydrates and starches

Instead, opt for high-protein dog food like Sundays that’s made with real meat, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Ensuring your dog has a balanced diet can neutralize their energy levels and help them avoid blood sugar spikes. 

How to Get Your Dog to Calm Down 

It can be incredibly overwhelming when your dog won’t listen or calm down. But we have a few simple tricks to stop dog barking, jumping, and general misbehavior in your pup. 

Training Your Dog to Settle Down

You can literally teach your dog to settle down in your training sessions. The “settle” command is perfect for training your dog to settle down and lower their heart rate. Treats and patience are the only supplies you need to teach your dog to settle down. 

Start by telling your dog to lie down or sit. When they do so, calmly tell them “good settle” and reward them with a treat while they remain laid down on the floor. Your dog might get excited and get up, but be patient and keep encouraging them to “settle” until they lie down again. Motivate them to keep settling by giving them multiple treats while they lay down. 

Person hand-feeding calm dog a treat in kitchen

It’s also helpful to teach the “free” commands when training your dog to settle down. Let your pup know that it’s okay for them to move freely now by saying “free” or “release” in an excited tone. Knowing the difference between “settle” and “free” helps them know exactly what you want them to do. 

When your pup starts to get better at “settle”, see how long they can keep it up. Walking around and desensitizing your pup to your movements while they settle is helpful. Soon enough, your dog will be a pro at calming down when you tell them to “settle”. 

Create a Settle Space 

Another helpful tip to teach your dog to settle down is creating a designated place for them to do so. Settle spaces are spots where your dog likes to sleep or sit. Dog beds, kennels, mats, or rugs are all great options for settle spaces. 

Teach your dog the “settle” command in their settle space and reward them for calming down there. They will eventually learn to go lay down in their settle space when they are told to do so. This is extremely helpful if you frequently have guests at your house. Stop your dog from jumping on people and instead direct them to go “settle” as your guests arrive. 

Tips to Stop Dog Barking

As much as we love our pups, we don’t love when they start barking. Stop your dog from barking by teaching them the “good look” command. Barking can be irritating and disruptive, but try your best to be patient while you correct this behavior. 

dog barking while sticking head through gate

The first way to stop dog barking is to know exactly what your dog is trying to say to you. Barking at a door or window most likely means your pup sees something and is trying to alert you or scare that something away. When your dog barks directly at you, they most likely want attention. “Good look” is a great way to correct barking at people or other animals, but may not be helpful if your dog barks at you for attention. 

As soon as your dog barks at something, say “good look” in a cheerful manner. The happy tone of your voice can stop your dog from barking and turn their attention toward you. Reward your pup with a head rub, treat, or belly scratch and keep saying “good look” until they’ve stopped barking completely. 

“Good look” reinforces the behavior for your dog to stop barking and listen to you. Your dog is reassured that you know that someone or something is nearby, which is usually why they bark in the first place.

You can also use “good look” to stop your dog from barking at other animals. When your dog sees another dog, cat, or bird, tell them “good look” and reward them with a treat to get their attention back on you. Take a Ziploc bag with pieces of Sundays on your walks to use as a high-value reward when practicing “good look”!

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