Why telling your dog “No” is not working

The first step in redirecting your dog’s unwanted behaviors to desired behaviors is management.

Why it doesn’t work

Do you struggle with trying to stop your dog’s unwanted behaviors by saying “No” multiple
times only to have the unwanted behaviors continue? Have you ever wondered why that is?
Well, imagine that if you went to work each day and all were ever told by your boss was what
you should not do. You would be confused in trying to figure out what you should be doing.
Saying “No” to your dog and providing no other direction is resulting in the same kind of
confusion for your dog.

A dog lays on a drop cloth chewing on a paint brush, paint supplies are in the background.

Manage the situation

The first step in resolving your dog’s unwanted behaviors is management. You need to
manage the environments and situations that you allow your dog to be in so that it invites the
behaviors that you want from your dog. This will provide more time working with your dog on
good behaviors and rewarding him for them. This also means less time spent on unwanted
behaviors and saying “No”. Rehearsed behaviors become regular behaviors. In time your dog
will want to repeat the good behaviors because he values them.

One example of this would be teaching your dog to sit and wait calmly for you to tell him it is
ok to go out the door for his walk. Once he figures out that this is the quickest way to get what
he most values, in this case his walk, he will begin to regularly sit and wait for your ok. You will
no longer have to tell him “No” repeatedly to get him to stop jumping in excited anticipation of
his walk.

Unintended consequences

Sometimes saying “No” can actually encourage the unwanted behavior to be repeated. If
your dog is happily jumping on people every time they enter your home, telling him “No” as a
correction is actually rewarding him with what he most desires in that moment which is your
attention. One of the ways to correct this is to completely ignore him instead when you enter.
Even a glance can be rewarding. Instead, walk to your kitchen counter and stand there looking
at your phone or read your mail until your dog gives you the nice calm behavior that you prefer.
Only then do you give him what he most desires which is your attention. In time your dog will
find greater value in greeting you with calm behavior because jumping to greet you no longer
works for him. And you did not have to say “No” to achieve this.

So remember that if your dog is continually giving you a behavior that you do not like, think of
a way that you can teach him a different behavior that he will value and want to repeat for you.
Positive reinforcement training will make you both much happier than saying “No” all the time.

For more information about help in training your dog please contact Chris Takacs either by phone at 269-612-7424 or by email at chris@takacsdogtraining.com.

A quick introduction to Takacs Dog Training video

Takacs Dog Training LLC is a force free, positive reinforcement dog training experience. Serving Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana. Evening and weekend training sessions available.

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