“No!” What Does it Really Mean to Your Dog?
Begging, jumping, getting into the trash, barking, and pulling on the leash are just a few of the behaviors we might try to correct with a “No!”. What does “No” really mean to your dog and is there a better way to communicate and deal with unwanted behaviors?
To a dog, “No” is just an interrupter, that might stop an unwanted behavior temporarily. It does not clearly communicate with your dog what you want him to do. We often get frustrated with our dog when we have to say it multiple times for the same behavior. However, just for a moment, think about how your dog must feel to live in a world of human rules that he doesn’t totally understand. How frustrating it must be to hear this word in an angry tone over and over again and never being taught the desirable behavior.
My dog, Jackson, is a professional and pushy beggar. If I am on the couch, he will put his nose right up against my plate. If I say, “No!” he will temporarily back off, but eventually his nose will end up close to my plate again. So how do I solve this problem? I teach him that while I am eating, he needs to be on his “mat.” It can take time to teach this behavior, but the end result is clear communication of the behavior I want from him and a peaceful and drool free meal for me!
So, if you find yourself saying “No” to your dog, think about what behavior you want and take the time to teach that behavior. You will both be less frustrated and enjoy each others company even more!