|If there’s one thing about humans that our canine pets clearly know is that we are verbally capable – we speak, and we do it a lot and they don’t understand a word of it. For them, everything that we say is just noise and when we tell them what to do, they won’t know what to do, unless, we train them to obey what the word means, or enrol them to a puppy school in Sydney.Since dogs can’t speak, they can demonstrate what they feel or want through their body language and behaviour. Sometimes, we say something and then they just ignore it, or at times, they doze off and it’s like talking to thin air.
One of the most common words that we humans tell our dogs is “No!” As a pet parent, saying “no” is an indication that you want your dog to stop whatever he’s doing especially when he is biting or nipping on inappropriate stuff, sitting on the couch, rumbling over trash, eliminating inside the house, jumping over you uncontrollably, and so on.
Dogs, especially puppies can develop behaviour problems and whenever they demonstrate such habits, the first thing that owners command them is “no!” It’s one way of telling them to stop – but can be misinterpreted or misunderstood by your dog.
As much as you desire to teach your dog how to stop and obey the command “no,” first, you need to understand the several factors that you need to ponder on.
What You Need To Know About The “No” Command
1. Dogs Don’t Understand It
We, humans, use ‘no’ in so many instances that is not clear to the dog exactly what it means. For example, we use ‘no’ when the dog is chewing something, when they jump up, when they bark, etc. In each situation, we say ‘no’ to get them to stop doing something. We say it in all these different situations and when they are doing different behaviours, so it is hard for them to understand what it means.
Dogs are not verbally capable – they don’t speak our language. We teach them English one word at a time, like “sit,” “down,” “come,” etc… No is not a word they can easily gain a full grasp of in just a snap of a finger. As what we’ve mentioned previously, the only way our canine pets can communicate with us is through their body language and behaviour.
The moment you tell them “no”, they get an idea that you are trying to tell them something but they don’t know what it is. Like, they know you’re upset about him nipping on the furniture but he is totally unaware of what you want them to do or what they did that triggered your emotions.
Personal dog trainers in Surry Hills explain that when your dog obeys, his response can be exhibiting submissive body language to your threatening or intimidating body language. This creates an idea that they must appease your unpredictable and threatening gestures but does not develop the right approach to correct behavioural problems. This command has become an overused command that it has been deemed to be a “Learned Irrelevance” in learning theory. Simply put, your dog can’t identify the consequence to the sound or command given, therefore, ultimately learns to ignore it.
2. Saying “No” Can Sometimes Create Confusion
Saying ‘no’ is not giving them enough information. It tells the dog that we don’t like what they are doing, or want them to stop. But it doesn’t tell them what we want them to do instead. We should always train or dogs to DO something. We shouldn’t train them to NOT DO something.
So instead of saying “don’t do this”, we should train them to “do that’. So if the dogs jump up, don’t tell him ‘no’ and expect him to figure out what to do instead. Tell him to ‘sit’ then he isn’t able to jump up, and you have told him what you want him to DO, not what you want him to NOT DO.
The “no” command is one of the most common commands being taught during puppy training classes in Sydney and some pet parents prefer to do it on their own. Now, in connection with the first dilemma, dogs can be confused as to which action does this command apply to. This confusion makes it difficult for dogs to associate “no” with the particular behaviour that the “no” command is intended for. Experts say that you only have at least two seconds to deliver the command after your dog displays a bad behaviour in order for him to associate that certain behaviour with the command “no”.
In addition, your dog doesn’t really understand the word “no” and it could mean a lot of things for them. Plus, in some cases, your dog’s attention can be caught up with some people or animals in your home. Hence, when you say “no” and so happens another person or animal walks in, he might think that it is not intended for him, making him feel threatened of the presence of others instead. In such conditions, your dog will not learn that he is being constructively corrected for his behaviour. It beats the main purpose of training them to obey the command.
3. It Can Be An Aversive Approach
Too often when we humans say ‘no’, we say it with emotion and energy that is clearly unpleasant. We may yell or shout it, and we may accompany it with angry body language or actions. Your dog will focus more on the tone and emotion than the word you are saying. And this can negatively impact your relationship with your dog. Better to help and guide him to know what you want, then praise that behaviour. Avoid using ‘no’ as a punishment for bad behaviour.
Being a pet parent means that you have to build a strong bond with your canine companion. It should be a relationship built with trust and love. As dogs grow, they can develop behavioural problems that are related to their natural habits or instincts such as chewing, digging, peeing, barking, nipping, etc. As per the professionals from a puppy school in Sydney, dogs were naturally born to have such habits but it is every owner’s responsibility to train them to exhibit these behaviours in an appropriate way or on appropriate objects.
Not all owners, though, can keep up with these inappropriate habits which then leads to aversive approaches to deal with the behaviours. The command “no” can be considered as an aversive approach whenever it is given out to stop the behaviour, then, later on, escalates when the behaviour doesn’t stop. Dogs can get confused as to why they are being reprimanded given that it is their natural behaviours, then frustration begins to set in which leads to stress in the dog. Therefore, behavioural problems can even get worse and when punishments involve inflicting pain after saying “no”, tendencies are dogs will be submissive as to appease your threats.
The “no” command is a widely used signal to stop dogs from doing inappropriate habits or to control their behavioural problems. Although positive dog training experts in the eastern suburbs do not recommend this command for several reasons like the dogs can’t understand it, it can create confusion and can be interpreted as an aversive approach.
As much as you may want to constructively help your canine pets to overcome such behaviours, you can use other words like “oops!”, “sorry!”, “Nope!”, “Hey, you there!”, “caught yah!” Positive reinforcement is what you need to accomplish your goals and instead of punishments, reward your dog with a praise whenever he does something good. Take it one little step at a time, eventually, you’ll break the habit of saying “no” and invest in a more appropriate approach effectively deal with inappropriate dog habits.