Don’t just say NO. A well-behaved dog relies on “parental guidance”.

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One day a doggie, Woof, met a fellow dog called Momo, they greeted and sniffed each other. Woof went “hey ya, my name is Woof. What’s yours?” Momo paused for seconds and responded with uncertainty “I guess my name is called NO, my mummy always yells No! No! No! at me…”

Jokes aside, when I am at dog training sessions or dog parks, most often I hear pawrents shouting NOs. No when dogs jump up onto people, no when dogs cannot sit still and run around, no when dogs pick up and eat something nasty on street, no when dogs bite stuff, no when dogs bark at strangers outside of home, no when dogs pee accidentally……Examples like these can go on and on.

NO is best coupled with action cues

Have you ever thought that by simply saying no to dogs actually doesn’t teach your dog how you want him or her to behave specifically, except the possibility of temporarily stopping the immediate undesirable action? Instead of just shouting NO, we can leverage “cues” for dogs to learn by making instructions clear after a NO.

For example, if your dog jumps onto people, you shall ask him to “sit”. When he sits, he cannot jump, can he? If your dog moves around like crazy, you could ask him to “stay”. If your dog has a bad habit of picking up and eating whatever on the floor, you could teach him “leave it” to keep him away from chicken bones, cigarette butts and garbage. If your dog bites and chews stuff, you could interrupt with a NO, then redirect him to a toy or bone that your dog loves and praise him when he chews it. If your dog rushes to the door and barks, you could lead him away from there to a quiet spot and teach him to calm down with “lie down” and “stay” cues. If your dog pees everywhere, after saying NO, you shall take him to his designated pee spot immediately if you are able to catch him peeing.

NO is just a syllable that doesn’t teach dogs what to do. Giving clear “parental guidance” goes a long way.

hong kong dog training

Written by Alice Lau, Certified Dog Trainer, CTC, CPDT-KA®, HKDR Positive Partners Training Course Instructor. Translated by hellodog team.

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