DogNostics Top Ten Concepts For Pet Owners

#3 “No!” isn’t a Behavior.

As we know, dogs do not speak English, French or Spanish, nor do they speak any other language we humans share. They speak dog! For this reason, we must use our words very carefully. Actually, we need to recognize that our pet dogs pick up far more about our feelings, intentions and intended communication via our body language and the way we approach them.To our dogs, we must always be safe.  They need to trust we will always look out for them both physically and emotionally.

We need to harness our carefully spoken words to clearly communicate what we would like them to do, our expectations, and we need to support that with happy, stress free skill training. In that vein, remember that “NO” is not a behavior.  Often, when we say this word, we are frustrated, emotionally stressed or impatient. Our dogs read that in our communication system and it can lead them to be hesitant, unsure, or in some cases scared of us.

Maybe we have used “NO” when we have punished them, so now the word is a precursor for something unpleasant, making us unsafe and them uncertain!

Let’s always communicate in a happy upbeat manner, encouraging them to behave in the way we would like them to. Let’s ask them to do something specific instead of just saying “NO”

It reminds me of the story of the small girl drawing on her bedroom wall. When her mother shouts: “No Sarah, do not do that!” So as soon as her mother left the room, Sarah began drawing on the floor! Had her mother provided clear instructions about where to draw, this could have been avoided.  By teaching Sarah to draw in a coloring book, everyone's goals are achieved.

Have a think about all the situations where you may be saying “No” to your dog and develop a list of the behaviors you would like your dog to do instead!

Then you can work through the list, helping your dog develop the much-needed skills to happily coexist in your home.