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Why "NO" Doesn't Work

When we are approached by clients, we often hear people telling us that they tell their dog "NO" and the dog doesn't listen to them. As humans, it's so natural for us to say "no" when we don't like something. Unfortunately for our dogs, they don't speak the same language as us, and don't understand the concept of the word.


"No" is used in so many different contexts by us humans, it's impossible for you dog to understand what it actually means. Think about how often you say no, and what you say it about.


No Jumping - No Pulling - No Biting - No Barking - No Running - No Potty - No - No - No - No


"No" doesn't tell your dog what they are supposed to do, so they can't learn from these situations. Instead of telling your dog "no" all the time, try asking them to do something else. Ideally, you should ask them to do something they understand. For example, ask your dog to "come" to "leave it" or anything else which teaches them what they should actually do in that situation.


Dogs, even grown adult dogs, are much like toddlers. We don't follow our children around, yelling "no" all the time. Instead, we guide them to do things which we approve of, and reward them when they do it.


Instead of coloring on my wall, my child colored in the coloring book, and I gave them a sticker for doing such a good job!


Dogs don't respond to the word "no". They are instead, responding to the negative tone and volume of our voice when we say it. This has been studied and shown to cause anxiety and stress in our dogs. This anxiety is often misinterpreted by us humans as our dog feeling "guilt" or "upset" when we use these terms. Your dog is not feeling guilty, your dog is stressed because you are using harsh tones in a language your dog doesn't understand.


Studies show that dogs are incapable of feeling guilt.


Remember, managing the situation will prevent "no" from being needed in the first place. Don't put your dog in a situation that you know they will fail in. Set your dog up for success and reward behavior you want them to repeat.

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