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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-05-2009, 11:02 PM Thread Starter
Dave T
 
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NO NO NO part 2 of 2

Part 2 of 2
Why You Shouldn’t Say No To Your Dog!
The word ‘No!’ is the most over-used term in dog training – and yet surprisingly it has
the least meaning to a dog. I often encounter clients who self righteously assure me
that their dog ‘knows’ what ‘No!’ means. Often I reply that if he really does
‘understand’ the word ‘No!’ then why must they:
a) Repeat it constantly
b) Use an increasingly angry tone each time
c) Often accompany it with physical punishment
d) Do something else to stop the dog (i.e. pull him off Aunty Mavis, take the
e) shoes off him etc)
As someone who can honestly say that I have never used the word ‘No!’ with my own
dog I can assure you that it’s not a necessary word to use with a dog. In fact, it can
do more harm than good. People that continuously bellow ‘No!’ at their dog are
stressing out both themselves and the dog. They are clearly demonstrating a lack of
ability to manage their dog’s behaviour and a need for training.
Below I have outlined some of the reasons that using the word ‘No!’ can be counterproductive.
The word ‘No!’ does not teach dog what you DO want.
It simply conveys to him that he’s doing something bad. There are a myriad of things
a dog can get wrong but fewer he can get right. Trying to train your dog by nagging
and telling him ‘No!’ each time he does something wrong rather than reinforcing the
things he does right will be exhausting for you and confusing for your dog.
Why You Shouldn’t Say No To Your Dog!
For example, when greeting humans it’s undesirable for your dog to:
a) Jump Up
b) Bite/Mouth/Nip
c) Urinate
d) Bark/Whine
e) Paw people
f) Mount/Hump
g) Nudge/Push/Lean
h) Lick etc
However, it is desirable for him to:
a) Sit calmly and politely and wait for attention
Why wouldn’t you teach him to greet the correct way rather than nagging him and
bellowing ‘No!’ each time he makes an incorrect choice? Besides, when he’s looking
for attention, even saying the word ‘No!’ is giving him what he wants anyway!
The word ‘No!’ can often be said in a very intimidating manner, especially by men,
which can frighten a dog.
I have seen dogs sufficiently scared that they cringe, cower and urinate submissively
when they hear their owner bellow ‘NOOOOOO!!!!’.
The word ‘No!’ when used as a punishment will often ‘shut down’ a dog, inhibiting him
from offering all behaviour, whether good or bad.
Imagine your dog is lying quietly on his mat (a behaviour we like), he’s watching you
(another behaviour we like) and he’s chewing on your shoe (a behaviour we don’t
like). You tell him ‘No!’ – does this mean he shouldn’t be:
a) Lying quietly on the mat
b) Looking at you
c) Chewing on the shoe
Why You Shouldn’t Say No To Your Dog!
Of course, the answer is c) Chewing on the shoe, but since the dog is performing all
three things simultaneously how would he know which one you want him to stop? In
this case using the word ‘No!’ may cause desired behaviours to cease such as, a)
lying quietly on a mat or b) looking at you.
Often dogs that hear ‘No!’ all the time stop offering behaviours at all. They simply
shut-down because they are afraid of doing something wrong.
The word ‘No!’ is so often over-used that dogs learn to ignore it in any case.
Each time you say ‘No!’ and do nothing to back it up, your dog learns that ‘No!’ is
irrelevant to him and should be ignored. They also learn that you have no credibility
and will not reinforce what you say.
The word ‘No!’ can often be reinforcing to a dog that cannot get attention other ways.
Often in training classes we watch in astonishment as owners blissfully ignore a dog
that is paying them his undivided attention. When the dog finally gets exasperated
with the owner ignoring all his good behaviour he begins to act up. Then the owner
showers the dog with attention, telling him ‘No!’, pushing him down, petting him in an
effort to calm him etc. What did the dog learn? If you want attention from humans,
act like an idiot and you’re sure to get it. Rather than catching the dog in the act of
doing something good and rewarding it, thereby increasing the likelihood of the
good behaviour occurring again in the future, saying no often gives the dog the
attention it craves.
People frequently say ‘No!’ when the dog is doing the right thing.
I often see people punish their dog by waving a finger around in their face while
bellowing ‘No!’ when the dog is actually doing the right thing – how confusing for the
dog.
The best example of this is when a dog jumps up to greet a human visitor; the owner
angrily drags him off the visitor and pushes him down to the ground. The owner, who is
obviously embarrassed by their dog’s behaviour, then begins waving the finger
around, angrily saying ‘No! Bad Dog! No Jumping!’ Of course the whole time the
owner is telling the dog off he’s sitting on the ground – doing the right thing!
What did the dog learn? Sitting in front of visitors is bad.
Another example of this is when a dog bolts out the front gate and down the street.
The owner chases the dog around calling it to come back. When the dog finally
comes back the owner starts waving the finger around, telling the dog ‘No! Bad Dog!
No running away!”
What did the dog learn? Coming back is bad.
Why You Shouldn’t Say No To Your Dog!
What To Do Instead
Be proactive rather than reactive. If you find yourself saying ‘No!’ constantly to your
dog chances are that you’re not supervising him or managing him well enough – and
you definitely haven’t trained him enough!
Manage Your Dog’s Environment
If you know your dog cannot be trusted to behave in an acceptable manner in any
given situation – MANAGE THE SITUATION so that your dog cannot get into trouble in
the first place. Then – and here’s a novel concept – TRAIN HIM TO BEHAVE
APPROPRIATELY in the future.
For example:
· If you know your dog dashes out the front door and down the street when the
door is opened, then do not open the door unless the dog is on a lead.
· If you know your dog raids the kitchen tidy, get one with a lockable lid or store
it in a cupboard or a different room.
· If you know your dog is a sock or knicker thief, then don’t leave socks and
knickers lying around where the dog can get to them.
Teach your dog some simple commands so that you can give him clear instructions
on what you DO want him to do.
Commands such as ‘Leave It’, ‘Off’, ‘Give’, ‘Down’, ‘Quiet’ etc will help with this.
For example:
· Your dog is about to steal a steak from the kitchen bench, you can instruct
him to ‘Leave It’.
· Your dog is lying quietly on a mat chewing a shoe, you can instruct him to
‘Give’.
· Your dog jumps on a visitor, you can instruct him to ‘Sit’ instead.
· Your dog gets up on the couch, you can instruct him to get ‘Off’.
· Your dog is barking at the back fence, you can instruct him to be ‘Quiet’.
Why You Shouldn’t Say No To Your Dog!
Teach a ‘Cease and Desist’ Command
Teach your dog your dog a command such as ‘Ah Ah’ (often accompanied with a
hand-clap), which cannot be said in a very scary manner.
The ‘Ah Ah’ command is designed to simply interrupt your dog’s behaviour, so that
you can then re-direct him onto something appropriate to do instead. As soon as
your dog is engaged the right thing, be sure to reward him.
Do not fall into the trap of saying ‘Ah Ah’ mindlessly and repeatedly. If you hear
yourself repeating ‘Ah Ah’ too often then you are not managing your dog’s
environment well enough.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 10:20 AM
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In my efforts to learn all I can to train my new puppy, I came across a book, "Tao of Puppies" by Krista Cantrell. She says much of what you've said here, but takes it a step farther. (of course, she had a whole book to do it, rather than two posts!<g>) She suggests teaching commands in pairs to help the puppy understand better, such as take it/leave it, walk/stay bark/quiet, etc. With her method, training can (should!) be in numerous short, (30 second or less) "sound bytes" all through your day with the puppy. It made a lot of sense to me.

Thanks for your posts. They are very well thought out and make a lot of sense.

Karen
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 10:42 AM
Kimberly
 
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I tried to do this with my children too. Instead of saying "no", I found it was much more beneficial to tell the kids what I did want them to do (and with kids, you can even give options LOL)

Thanks for the article Dave.

Karen, pairing commands is sooo helpful! That's a really good point to add.
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 01:13 PM
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Oddly enough telling that to my ex gf didn't help me in the least bit...

Chances are if your parents never had kids...you won't either...
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 01:15 PM
Kimberly
 
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LOL!! What exactly were you telling her? No, maybe we don't want to know. Nevermind.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 01:31 PM
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Actually, saying no works well with my dogs.

Carole
Vinny, Lulu, Gabby and Richie too!


Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 07:17 PM
Linda
 
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I can relate! Just try listening and watching someone with their dog and see how much they use the word "No!"



Dexter & Jack
"One Hav is NOT enough to enjoy the RLH skills!"
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 07:21 PM
Linda
 
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Thanks for the wonderful information and..............Training. You provide such important information! Training dogs today (Learning to train dogs) is so much different than it was 30-40 years ago!



Dexter & Jack
"One Hav is NOT enough to enjoy the RLH skills!"
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
Dave T
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Havtahava View Post
I tried to do this with my children too. Instead of saying "no", I found it was much more beneficial to tell the kids what I did want them to do (and with kids, you can even give options LOL)

Thanks for the article Dave.

Karen, pairing commands is sooo helpful! That's a really good point to add.
I hear you Kimberly, I was trying to explain this to my daughter and her dogs. I told her that when she tells her dog no , it may stop what it is doing but it will keep doing the same unwanted behaviour over and over. And yes Karen pairing them is a must , and the best way to teach both.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 07-06-2009, 08:30 PM Thread Starter
Dave T
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HavaneseSoon View Post
Thanks for the wonderful information and..............Training. You provide such important information! Training dogs today (Learning to train dogs) is so much different than it was 30-40 years ago!
Yes Linda ,the dog is being studied big time. We're learning more and more all the time. Just as fast as new ideas come out there will be challenges to these ideas. But we are definitely learning new and exciting things that are agreed upon by most Certified Applied Animal Behaviourists and Ethologists such as Patricia McConnell Ph.D.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
Member of IAABC ,International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants , Member of Pet Professional Guild
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