When Should You Tell Your Dog 'No'?
When Should You Tell Your Dog 'No'?
I recently read that clicker trainers tell people not to say "No" to their dogs, and I wondered where that idea came from.
We certainly advocate concentrating on what your dog is doing right and rewarding that. For example, if you're teaching heeling, you click-and-treat when your dog is in the correct position rather than leash-popping or scolding all the times when your dog isn't. But few people are really inclined to say "No" to train new behaviors -- it usually comes when we're trying to stop unwanted old behaviors.
Ending Your Dog's Old Bad Habits
So how do you stop old behaviors you don't like? Management is always your first step. Do what you can to prevent your dog from practicing the bad habit. For example, keep him inside when you're not around to prevent digging in the yard, or stand on the middle of his leash to prevent him from jumping on guests.
Creating New Habits for Your Dog
Next, figure out a different action your dog can do instead -- one that is incompatible or prevents the bad habit because your pup can't do the new, nice behavior and the old, bad behavior at the same time. For example, teach your dog to sit -- and not jump on guests -- when the front door opens. When the occasion arises, he will have to make a choice. As you practice the new behavior, reward it generously with praise, toys, attention, food and a variety of other rewards so that it becomes something your dog is eager to do.
Then, when you allow your dog to make a choice between the old behavior and the new one, he will be more likely to choose the new desired behavior. If your dog chooses right, reward him generously with a jackpot reward.
What if he chooses wrong and does the old, bad behavior you want to get rid of? First, it's a sign that you need to practice the new behavior more. Be sure to practice in a situation that is similar to the real one. It's not enough to practice "Sit" as an alternative to jumping on your guests. You need to practice it at the front door.
Stopping Bad Behavior in Its Tracks
What do you do in the moment, when your dog jumps on your test guest? Interrupt your dog and stop the behavior while it's happening. A short, sharp low sound is great for interrupting behavior and getting the dog's attention. "No!" fits the bill nicely. So does "Eh-eh!" "Stop!" or even "Woof!"
When you interrupt your dog, you've created a behavioral vacuum, as noted dog behaviorist Jean Donaldson says, and you're going to need to fill it. Here's your opportunity to cue the new behavior and reward it. This is the true meaning of "correction": teaching the correct response. So you say, "No!" and then immediately "Sit!" and then, hopefully, "Good dog, you did it!"
If your dog doesn't respond to the command right away, make it happen. Use a lure, move your dog away from the distraction or gently guide him into position. Whatever it takes!
Saying "No": Be Clear With Your Dog
One reason trainers avoid telling people to say "No!" is that "No!" is ambiguous. It doesn't clarify what your dog is doing wrong. If you say "No!" to a dog that is jumping on your guest, your dog might think it was the friendly greeting you don't like. Your dog might think, "What, I should be barking and threatening this person?" or something else about the performance. Even if you say something like "No jump!" have you really taught your dog what "jump" means? Have you taught a "Jump!" command so he knows the contrast?
Go ahead and say "No!" when, in spite of your prevention efforts, your dog engages in annoying or dangerous action. Stop that action in the moment. Then be sure to follow up with an informative, familiar command such as "Sit," "Come" or "Leave it." "No!" by itself puts an immediate stop to the behavior -- but only a temporary one. If you don't replace the undesired behavior with another one, you have no long-term improvement.
Put the focus on the action you want rather than the action you don't want. Instead of a frustrated mantra, "No!" becomes a quick tool for interruption so you can go back to working on the behavior that you want.
Recent Pet Articles
- Is Your Dog Ready for Agility?
- When Should You Tell Your Dog 'No'?
- How to Plan a First-class Puppy Playgroup
- Dog Lovers: You Too Can Have a Garden!
- Are Tennis Balls Safe for Your Dog?
- 4 Simple Steps to Stop Dog Jumping
- Minimize the Shedding: Essential Springtime Dog-grooming Tips
- Grooming Curly-haired Dogs
- Why Your Dog Needs Vaccinations
- Old Wives' Tales About Dogs: Dispelled
- New Supplement Can Help Your Dog's Digestion
- What Snoring Says About Your Dog's Health
- The Dog Olympics
- Stop Cat Bullying
- Turn Your Cat Into a Social Media Star
- Best Books for Cat Lovers
- Improve Your Senior Cat's Eating Behavior
- Find Your Perfect Kitten
- Don't Declaw Your Cat: Furniture-saving Tips and Tricks
- Common Eye Problems in Cats
- Cat Displacement Behavior
- Luxury Hotels for Cats
- The Right Way to Handle Puppy Behavior Issues
- The Silken Windhound: A Low-maintenance Beauty
- Is Your Puppy Ready for Sports?
- Dog-friendly Spring-cleaning: A How-to Guide
- Dog Training Partner
- How to Help Keep an Aging Cat Healthy
- Do Bored Cats Sleep More?
- The Agile Cat
- Cat Athletes With Summer Olympics Talents
- Why Cats Have Whiskers
- 5 Ways to Save on Pet Costs
- 10 Questions a Dog Breeder Wants to Ask You
- Puppy Socialization: A Trainer's Top Tips
- The Real Story Behind Dog Odors
- Apps for Dogs
- Easy Ways to Reduce Pet Allergens in Your Home
- Benefits of Owning a Senior Dog
- What Makes a Dog Yawn?
- 10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Happy This Spring
- Are You Protecting Your Dog's Health?
- Does Breeding Impact Dog Behavior?
- Dog Treadmills: Safe or Hazardous?
- The Irish Setter: Fun Wears a Red Coat
- How to Read Your Dog
- Games to Download for Your Cat
- Is It Too Late to Train Your Senior Cat?
- How Cats Show Their Happiness
- Natural Ways to Eliminate Litter Box Odor
- Are You Protecting Your Cat's Health?
- Is a Toy Dog Breed Your Best Match?
- Introducing Your Older Dog to Your New Puppy
- True Stories of Presidential Dogs
- Off the Beaten Career Path With Dogs
- Best Sleep Position for Dogs
- Keep Your Dog Safe on Night Walks
- How to Exercise Your Cat
- Why Your Cat Acts Stressed and Anxious
- Hidden Causes of Cat Obesity
- Lower Your Stress with a Cat
- The Cat Connection to Dating and Romance
- Make Your Senior Dog Feel at Home
- Top 5 Ways to Improve Life for Your Senior Dog
- Healthy Nutrition for Your Senior Dog
- How to Care for Your Arthritic Dog
- How to Introduce Your Puppy to Your Cat
- Tibetan Spaniels: The Dog for Cat People
- How You and Your Dog Can Go Green
- Dieting With My Dog
- Dog Fitness Centers
- Running With Your Dog During Cooler Weather
- Take Care of Your Dog's Hot Spots
- How to Introduce a New Pet to Your Old Pet
- Should You Clothe Your Cat?
- Cat Sleep Routines
- Can You Give Your Cat a Bath?
- Healthy Nutrition for Your Senior Cat
- Top 3 Apps for Cats
- Breed Match
- Doga: Yoga Your Dog Will Love
- Groom Your Dog Like a Pro
- Puppy, Get That out of Your Mouth!
- Terminate Stinky Dog Breath
- The Schipperke: Escape Artist Extraordinaire
- Help Your Dog Cope With Holiday Guests
- Coping With the Loss of a Dog
- Cat Breeds for Dog Lovers
- Teach Your Dog to Enjoy Your Garden Without Destroying It
- How to Play Tug-of-war With Dogs
- Size up Your Puppy's Food
- What's Not to Love About Yorkies?
- What to Ask a Dog Breeder
- Train Your Aggressive, Biting Kitten
- Can Cats Find Their Way Home?
- Caring for Your Arthritic Cat
- Keep Your Cat Calm During Storms
- Top 5 Ways to Improve Life for Your Senior Cat
Copyright © 2012 Studio One Networks. All rights reserved.