NO! Don’t tell your dog off – it’s mean

NO! Does your dog need to know this word?

Dogs can be so annoying can’t they?  Especially puppies.  Always getting into something they shouldn’t be doing, or chewing something.  Jumping up.  Going to the toilet in the wrong place.  Running off.  Getting too excited at other dogs, or people.  Or life in general.  It’s what dogs do best.  But should we say no to them?

I remember my mum telling me years ago, that the only two words a puppy needed to learn were its name and no.  I also remember days when my sons were young, feeling as though every time I opened my mouth it was to say no.

noSaying No!

I was walking my girls the other day around the lake that I live beside.  A woman was walking her two dogs in the opposite direction, so I passed her a couple of times.  The first time I saw her, the dogs were wet and looking to go back into the water.  She very grumpily told them “NO! You’re not going into the water again!”

A bit later I saw her again and the same thing was happening.  She was telling them off for wanting to go back into the water.  Wtf?  Why would you do that?  Why let them into the water in the first place if you don’t want them going into it?  But why tell them off for wanting to go in again?  And if I was confused, imagine how they felt?

noBe consistent – please?

My lovely new agility trainer, Emma from Beancroft Agility is absolutely right when she says it is not OK to accept one rule one week, but then change the criteria the next week.  Just as for children, we should be fair to our dogs and expect the same behaviour from them if we give them the same commands.

So if you let your dog get away with going on the sofa (why wouldn’t you?) you can’t then expect them to get off for no reason.  Of course if you need to sit down, you might make them budge up a bit, or ask them to get off, sit down and then get them back up onto your lap, lol.

noWhy say no though?

It’s not really necessary, is it?  I went through a list of situations in my head this morning and I could come up with alternative (and more appropriate) commands for all of them. For example:

  • chewing something they shouldn’t – Leave it!
  • barking at squirrels – also leave it, or shh! or use their name.  Ideally in a quiet voice, not joining in the barking by shouting
  • running away from you – “Name of dog, come!”  said in a ridiculously positive way
  • heading into danger – ‘wait!’  Once you’ve mastered stop the dog you should be able to do this easily
  • jumping up  – Off!  Although ignoring and turning away is even better
  • play biting – use a toy instead of your hand.   This is one situation where I might say ‘no!’ sharply, as this behaviour is never acceptable.  But a distraction would be better, or not allowing things to escalate to this point better still.

I hope you have found this post thought provoking?  Let me know if you think there is a situation that demands a no?

Ask for help?

You are very welcome to CONTACT ME to ask for my advice.  I can help you with a variety of issues and problems around getting a dog and suggestions for tackling training issues.  Go to the What Dog? page for more information on my service.

Please let me know if you have found this post helpful?


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