Were you really confused just now reading the title of this blog post? Chances are your dog is confused by the concept too!
Most people yell “No” at their dog whenever things turn chaotic. But does it really work?
As humans we understand that “No” means “Stop whatever you’re doing” but your dog does not naturally understand that abstraction. To us, it’s obvious– we want that word “No” to mean: sit instead of jumping on Grandma, come instead of chasing the cat, AND leave the food that dropped on the floor.
All of these are different behaviors in your dog’s eyes. If you want better communication with your dog and more obedient behavior, teach him what TO do instead of what NOT to do. It is amazing how many behavior problems go away once dogs understand what is expected of them!
Instead of saying “No” once things have already gone wrong…be proactive!
- Teach your dog to sit when he greets people.
- Teach your dog to come when called, even amid really tempting distractions like cats and squirrels.
- Teach your dog “leave it” if something tasty drops on the floor.
Now, there is nothing wrong with correcting a known behavior. For example, say you are walking your dog. You’re about to cross the street but you need to wait for the traffic signal to change. “Sit,” you say to your dog…but he’s daydreaming about Lacey the Labradoodle across the street. Even though you’ve taught him “sit” and practiced it hundreds of times, he’s not doing it. In this scenario, it is completely fair and appropriate to say “No” and use pressure on the leash or a hand pushing down on his rump to enforce the sit.
The word “No” in this scenario has a specific meaning. It means a correction is coming, just as “Yes” means a reward is coming.
I can show you how to teach your dog the behaviors you want and hold your dog accountable for those behaviors.