I Say No to My Dog
However, I want to add my voice to the growing number of trainers who are pointing out that divisions in dog training aren’t always as stark as we think they are.
Even though I almost exclusively use mark-and-reward training paired with antecedent arrangement in training, I still say no to my dog. I adhere to the Humane Hierarchy as much as I can, but life is not always a training session.
The reality is, I can set up my training sessions in a way that I almost never correct dogs in training sessions. But life isn’t a training session. If Barley is about to do something that’s inconvenient, dangerous, or irritating, I will often give a small verbal correction or stop him with the leash.
Does Barley like this? Of course not!
He’d love to play tug with my socks, eat food off the counters, pull at top speed on walks, roll in the mud, and swim in swamps.
Why Are We So Hung Up On “No”?
A baby human’s first word is usually “mama,” and their second word is usually, “no!”
It’s an easy word, and the baby probably hears it quite a lot, every single day. “No” to touching your poop, biting your brother, or drawing on the wall.
Then, Mom airplanes up a spoonful of wilty peas, and baby opens her little mouth and says, “No!” for the very first time.
It’s powerful, and the tables are turned. It feels infinitely better to give a “no” than to receive it. It’s a sharp, strong word that makes children, animals, even adults stop in their tracks and drop whatever they’re doing wrong. Right?
It’s not so much that “no” does not work. “No” DOES seems to work, and people have been saying it to their dogs for generations, and many of them will continue to do so, and their dogs will be neither scarred for life nor will they become dangerously aggressive.
What’s really exciting is the fact that we don’t actually have to say it. It’s not about not having the freedom to “no” at your dog in the comfort of your own home – it’s about having a more clear, meaningful way to communicate that gets even better results.
Why You Won’t Miss “No” …I Promise.
Get ready to say goodbye to these annoying side effects that often accompany use of the word, “no.”
You’ll no longer:
How, When and Why I say “NO” to my dogs.
When your dog does something you don’t like, what’s your first reaction? A lot of people immediately sternly shout, “No!” And if their canine kid doesn’t listen the first time, they may say it again … only this time louder and longer. “NOOOO!”
Let me ask you another question: Do you really think your dog didn’t hear you the first time? Dogs have exceptional hearing. In fact, canines can hear sounds about 4 times better than us humans. Repeatedly shouting the same command over and over isn’t going to get your dog to listen. Rather, it’s only going to cause your dog stress and confusion. Because, at the end of the day, your dog may not actually understand what the word “no” really means.
When your dog barks excessively, jumps on guests, chews up your shoes, and digs holes in your perfectly manicured yards, it’s important to remember that he’s only doing what comes naturally to him. He doesn’t know he’s doing something “wrong.” In order to modify your pup’s bad behavior, you actually have to teach him what you want him to do instead.
Rather than saying “no” and focusing on the action you don’t want your dog doing, switch your focus to what you actually want your dog to do. Then, clearly redirect and teach good behavior. Here are a few examples:
Telling your dog what you want him to do isn’t an overnight fix. Set aside about 15 minutes each day to work with your pooch. Over time, this training method will create better communication between you and your canine cutie!