The meaning of “No” - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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The meaning of “No”

In my very limited experience (Jessie is 8 months old), my Havanese can be deterred from attacking my movements with a firm “No” and standing my ground. If she is biting my feet or attacking the vacuum, and I say No and stand my ground...she gets the idea and stops that behavior. If, however, i say “no” and continue what I’m doing...she will decide the games not over and continue the bad behavior. Swatting at her or any other physical approach will only excite her to continue more aggressively. To her it’s a great game and if you want to up the antie...she’s ready for it.

She may not understand “no”, but she knows you’re not happy with her. However, that alone won’t stop the behavior. You just have to let her know you’re not playing. Stand your ground...stop what you’re doing until she stops. Then you can move on. One minute she is attacking the vacuum cleaner, next minute she is just sitting on the floor while I continue to vacuum in the area. Don’t know if this approach would work for everyone, but thankfully it’s working for me.

Now if I could just stop her from leaping and pulling things off the table or counter tops! She can jump straight up and remove anything within an inch or two from the edge. Don’t know how to utilize that skill?!? Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 12:42 PM
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Dogs read body language much better than verbal language, so that.s what's going on for you now. The bigger problem is that it is MUCH easier to teach an animal (ANY animal) to "do something" than it is to teach them NOT to "do something". So in most cases, the best long-term solution to deterring any problem behavior is to teach them an alternative, incompatible, behavior. For instance, if you teach "go to your mat", you have a behavior that you can reward her for, and makes it impossible for her to attack the vacuum. (or whatever )

As far as getting things off the table or counter? That's a management issue. Just make sure things aren't left close enough to the edge of the counter that this behavior can be successful. Dogs do what works.


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 05:14 PM
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You just have to let her know you’re not playing. Stand your ground...stop what you’re doing until she stops. Then you can move on.
There is one thing Ricky hates more than anything.................being ignored! Refusing to participate in his undesirable "games" is deterrent enough. I avoid the word "NO". It is too common a word used in everyday language and therefore a dog quickly learns to ignore it. Instead I say, "eh, eh", but only rarely. The best thing to do, as Karen says, is distract the dog with an alternative command., like, "down, stay" or some other distracting command and then reward mightily when you get compliance. Soon enough, your dog will automatically perform the command without direction, say for instance when you get the vacuum out. And don't forget to reward with a treat (Ricky likes dehydrated banana chips) when that happens.

A professional dog trainer gave our class this direction, "Human hands can be either a weapon or a loving tool. NEVER swat at your dog. Hands are for petting, caressing, and feeding." And in Ricky's case, he was right.

Enjoy your 8 month old puppy. Be patient. She will soon outgrow this kind of behavior and you will miss those days when she was a precocious little rascal...................... WAIT, Ricky is now a 5 y.o., precocious (but very obedient) big rascal! And he brings joy, laughter, and love to Momi and Popi's heart everyday.

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 07:06 PM
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My experience is very limited with dogs, but I worked as a behavior specialist with teenage girls and you’d be surprised how much of that translates!

What I have learned is that many human children and teenagers don’t do well with ‘no,’ sometimes even when they seem to understand. Often, as Karen describes, they are reacting or responding to the person and the body language, they aren’t really internalizing. In the realm of adolescent behavior, it’s pretty generally accepted that there are are alternative ways to set clear limits without saying “no.” One of the benefits of this approach is that “no” becomes much more powerful intervention in an emergency. An exercise that was really effective for me was a simple workshop where we did role plays and the “adults” weren’t allowed to say ‘no.’ We could only give the other person, pretending to be a child, instructions, or describe appropriate behavior. It really forced me to stop and consider what it is that I want every time I say ‘no.’ At the time I had been working for a couple of years already and had some experience implementing the concepts and I remember being surprised at how often i started to say “no” when a “child” would ask for all of the ice cream.

I have found using the same mindset to be very helpful with our dog. When he was going through his nippy stage, I thought, what I want him to do instead is bite something else. Something about the shift in thinking turns it into a goal, and it makes it so much easier to see everything clearly. I always needed to have sonething nearby that he could chew. He stopped nipping at me long before he stopped with the rest of my family. DD would do the whole yelp thing and say “No!” Really loud, and he would stop, but for a long time he would just look at her.

Whenever an issue is complex, because my experience with training dogs is so very limited, I always go back to using “sit.” It gives me a moment to stop and figure out what I want, and what I can have him do instead. And then I come here to the forum and search for steps to teach what I want!
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 07:14 PM
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I have to add, though, I understand why the advice to say “no” is given so often. One day I was in the vet’s office and I heard the receptionist giving someone advice to tell their dog “no” about pulling on the leash. I was so surprised to hear that in a professional setting! It was right after we had spent a lot of time working on leash training and I can promise if i had just said “no” he would have just ignored me and kept pulling To see the birds, regardless of how serious I sounded. I think the advice to just say “no” is given a lot, but there are ways that are so much easier! They just don’t seem easier at first.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-12-2019, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by EvaE1izabeth View Post
My experience is very limited with dogs, but I worked as a behavior specialist with teenage girls and you’d be surprised how much of that translates!

What I have learned is that many human children and teenagers don’t do well with ‘no,’ sometimes even when they seem to understand. Often, as Karen describes, they are reacting or responding to the person and the body language, they aren’t really internalizing. In the realm of adolescent behavior, it’s pretty generally accepted that there are are alternative ways to set clear limits without saying “no.” One of the benefits of this approach is that “no” becomes much more powerful intervention in an emergency. An exercise that was really effective for me was a simple workshop where we did role plays and the “adults” weren’t allowed to say ‘no.’ We could only give the other person, pretending to be a child, instructions, or describe appropriate behavior. It really forced me to stop and consider what it is that I want every time I say ‘no.’ At the time I had been working for a couple of years already and had some experience implementing the concepts and I remember being surprised at how often i started to say “no” when a “child” would ask for all of the ice cream.

I have found using the same mindset to be very helpful with our dog. When he was going through his nippy stage, I thought, what I want him to do instead is bite something else. Something about the shift in thinking turns it into a goal, and it makes it so much easier to see everything clearly. I always needed to have something nearby that he could chew. He stopped nipping at me long before he stopped with the rest of my family. DD would do the whole yelp thing and say “No!” Really loud, and he would stop, but for a long time, he would just look at her.

Whenever an issue is complex, because my experience with training dogs is so very limited, I always go back to using “sit.” It gives me a moment to stop and figure out what I want, and what I can have him do instead. And then I come here to the forum and search for steps to teach what I want!
I LOVE this post! One of my sons has a learning disability that he a=has overcome as an adult but as a child, he needed to be told EXACTLY what you wanted him to do. "No" was not an option, because he had NO IDEA what to do instead. We learned that "I need you to..." was MUCH more effective. He usually WANTED to "be good", but needed specific instructions in terms of what "good" looked like.


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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 12:55 AM
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My experience is very limited with dogs, but I worked as a behavior specialist with teenage girls and you’d be surprised how much of that translates!
My youngest daughter is a Doctor of Clinical Psychology. She agrees with you. She doesn't have any children but she has a big Lab for several years now. Although she has never had any dog behavioral training, she is a wizard with getting dogs to do what SHE wants. She was the one who instructed me in how to quickly and effectively house break Ricky before I ever joined this list. She says it is surprising how much human and canine behavior mimic each other. Positive reinforcement, redirection, patience and persistence work for both humans (of all ages) and canines (of all ages). Above all avoid ambiguity and inconsistency. She is quite effective using those techniques on me!

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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 10:08 AM
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This thread needs to be made a "sticky" at the top of the Training Tips and Suggestions forum. Some of the best advice, simply stated, ever!
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 10:09 AM
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Above all avoid ambiguity and inconsistency. She is quite effective using those techniques on me!

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Ha! Dave's mantra is "Don't be subtle with me!".

The funny thing is that when they are tuned in and calm, and the content is emotional, dogs can perceive VERY subtle (often unintentional) cues from their human partners. But they need direct, clear (often meaning non-verbal) instruction when they are learning new skills.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 01-13-2019, 04:09 PM
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The problem with the word "no" is that it doesn't instruct the dog to do anything specific. It can in many cases function as a verbal interruptor and/or punisher. But I would not recommend this with a word as common as "no," since it would be hard to prevent others from using it intuitively as an interruptor/punisher.
The reason you think it is "working" is because it is interupting the behavior at the time. But your dog doesn't learn not to try that behavior again. It may also be conditioned as a no-reward or punishment marker. But "no reward markers" are problematic for many people as they require many training skills.
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