Poll: Do you think it is okay to tell a dog "no" during a training session? Why or why not?

Some dog owners and trainers think that training sessions should only be positive...while others feel that discipline is a must. What do you think, and why? How do you teach your own dog right from wrong?

Asked by Lassie on Jun 14th 2012 Tagged training, behavior, discipline, punishment, reinforcement in Methods of Training
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This is better suited to the forums. There aren't enough characters here to give a complete answer. You should repost this in the Behavior & Training forum, if you want a discussion.
What do consider positive? How do you define discipline? If you use all 4 quadrants.. P+, P-, R+, & R-... both are inherent. But my definition of discipline may be different from yours.

Member 904338 answered on 6/14/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


'No' plays an important role when it comes to dog training. I agree on the positive training sessions for the dogs, but i would still lay emphasis on teaching your dog that there are certain activities that he should not perform. 'No' in addition to the positive training teaches your pet to be obedient. Reward and praise your dog whenever it obeys your command.

Member 1107927 answered on 6/15/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Dogs need rules and boundaries at all times, even during training. There is nothing wrong with saying, "no" or "eh" if necessary, but instead of harping on the thing he's doing wrong try to redirect him by changing the tone of your voice or your increasing your own enthusiasm. And always end the session on a positive note. For example, if your dog is just not getting what you're asking of him, ask him to do something he already knows so you can treat and praise him.

Member 1115909 answered on 6/15/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Gray Dawn Treader

You have to let the dog know if he did something wrong--I fail to see how saying "no" would be detrimental. I can see how positive punishment (hitting, collar correction, etc) shouldn't be used in a training session, but to say you can't say "no" is, IMO, just being ridiculous.

Gray Dawn Treader answered on 6/15/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I have a 7 mth old retriever, Max. My problem with the 'positive reinforcement only' view is how to teach a dog what is unacceptable behaviour?
As an example, when 4 months old Max escaped through the front gate and ran around in the street for 15 minutes before I could catch him. He received a smack on the nose for his trouble, was shouted at and was made to stay in his kennel for a couple of hours. I later reinforced with positive training with the gate open training him to stay put. He now knows the boundary and will not cross the threshold unless told to do so.
Max now sits, lies down and comes on command even when distracted by other people and/or dogs. Most importantly, he underdstands that a loud NO means he must stop doing what he is doing. In the last month little taps on the nose are infrequent as he now understands my displeased voice. The negative is backed up with lots of positive training.

Member 1117177 answered on 6/23/12. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer