Saying 'No'

This is a place to gain some understanding of dog behavior and to assist people in training their dogs and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. This can cover the spectrum from non-aversive to traditional methods of dog training. There are many ways to train a dog. Please avoid aggressive responses, and counter ideas and opinions with which you don't agree with friendly and helpful advice. Please refrain from submitting posts that promote off-topic discussions. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other dog owners and lovers... not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!

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Sarah, CWSR,- CWG1, CGC

Million Dollar- Mutt
Barked: Sun Nov 25, '12 8:35pm PST 
Oh Jackson, so sad frown. There's a trainer like that near me, but he does not use a clicker, just voice, or no warnings at all. frown Very sad.

I think for me the whole "don't say no" thing isn't because I think my dog is so fragile she will shatter if I say "no". It's more about the idea that (just like small children) is is kinder, easier, and more effective to give the dog something -to do- instead of constantly telling them what NOT to do. So, instead of yelling at my foster dog every time they start to chew on a shoe or a coffee table, I give them something they -can- chew. I still say "no", and I confess I will yell too! red face But I always make sure that I "help" them make the correct choice.

Avoiding constantly saying "no" also helps inexperienced dog owners pick up on -why- their dog is doing what they are doing and to help them understand the dog's needs or how to change their communication.
~ Why does my dog keep blowing her stays? Why won't she down immediately on cue?
~ Why is she skipping the jump in the agility course?, Why the heck does she spin in a circle when I try to get her to back up???

I know that by encouraging me to avoid simply saying no and being more aware of myself/my body language, my trainer helped me understand how my body language was confusing Sarah and causing her to skirt around jumps. It's been really really interesting and beneficial for me to learn how to change and improve MY communication!
Augusta,- CGC, RN

Such a Good Dog!
Barked: Sun Nov 25, '12 8:44pm PST 
I know with Onion, a game of "where is that thing?!" and he would go BANANAS! No matter what he was so tanked about, he'd drop it in a split second as we stormed to look under beds, in closets for "that thing."

That sounds like an awesome game, Tiller! laugh out loudway to go

Was any "thing" ever found? How does the game finally end?
Tiller- (Skansen's- Ira in the M

I DO Exist...To- Drive You Batty
Barked: Sun Nov 25, '12 8:59pm PST 
I'd just invent it at the moment! Wait until I was pretty sure he was so invested in the game that he'd forgotten about whatever jerky behavior he was doing just before, and the next thing we found was "THAT thing"....the only requirement being that it could withstand being pounced upon with unbridled vigor wink


"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
Barked: Sun Nov 25, '12 10:52pm PST 
"Lobo, I do very similar. I usually use the dog's name as an interrupter, but it has been classically and operantly conditioned, so it works well."

I WOULD use Lobo's name, but the majority of the house I live in use his name in a low-tone voice when he does something "bad." (Psh, please, like Lobo ever does anything naughty... wink )

Even I admit to getting frustrated and using his name in a harsher tone than I intended. So, yeah, using his name isn't always the best thing for us.

Adding on to my earlier post, I think I'm going to start bringing my clicker everywhere I go. I'm learning that Lobo does really unexpectedly awesome things, and because I don't bring it out anymore, I don't have the opportunity to click and treat. "Yes" and a pat just feels so... low-quality when it's for ignoring a dog that's staring him down and growl-barking at him...

But *anyways*. It's really interesting to see all the different "No"s used.

I am the Sock- Bandit!!!
Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 1:33pm PST 
I redirect puppies, 'no' or 'stop' I can use once the dog understands what an opposite behavior is, similar to what Tiller was explaining, it depends on what the dog understands. "No" is cautioned against right now because it is overused before a dog can grasp its meaning, and all too often coupled with punishment, again often before the dog even grasps what it is doing that is undesirable. With puppies it is sadly used way too young and just winds up being a source of confusion. I certainly prefer to teach a dog what to do, much better to put my energy towards that. But once I know the dog is solid with a particular cue, behavior etc. I will let them know vocally when they've strayed and it varies a lot by the dog. Lu doesn't usually get a simple no, she gets a phrase or sound that suits (NRM) the situation.

My voice is my best training tool, it's classically trained and I've always relied on it heavily. I tend to use it differently with each dog I work with, I use many sounds that cut through background noise. Over time it's easy for most dogs to associate certain sounds with a sort of 'hot' or 'cold' game, they pick up quickly if they're on the right track or not. I watch all the time to see what effects it has and change things to suit the dog. When I started handling decades ago none of us kennel handlers or trainers had ever heard of a clicker. Most of the time I made sounds sotto voce to the dog I was handling or I'd get hassled for it, but it just worked so beautifully. It still does. My hands were always way too full of dogs for hand signals. I've been able to do more of those with Lu, better for distance work.

I also tend not to use 'no' with fosters and dogs who I don't know because it can be a very loaded word and can bring with it unnecessary baggage.

High-flyin' Pup!
Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 1:42pm PST 
Funny, I've always been in the habit of usig "Stop!" followed by redirection. Not because I had any particular qualms about the word 'no', it's just what comes out of my mouth if Jasper is, say, sneaking over to the shelf where the cats are fed. "Stop! Get your bone!" stops him effectively and gives him something else to think about. Now if I could only get it to work when he's bouncing around at walk time...

Edited by author Mon Nov 26, '12 1:43pm PST


Let's play tug!!
Barked: Mon Nov 26, '12 10:00pm PST 
Stop does make more sense, and could probably be taught as a freeze command. I'll try to use that.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 8:35am PST 
Lobo, have you tried the Stuff-A-Dog games? Really, you create a dog that reacts to their name with the came classically conditioned response that they display towards a click. It's great. And it does not need to be the name, it can be any word you want to mean look at me (including "no" but I have never met anyone who spent time classically conditioning a no to something good.

If I can say "Angel" and she whips her head around to see what I want, I have pretty much eliminated the need for the word "no" as an interrupter. And since I have been working to eliminate NRM's from my repertoire, I find I need them less and less shh. it really is about me, not my dog.

"Stubborn" dogs- don't need- corrections
Barked: Tue Nov 27, '12 9:13pm PST 
Actually, Asher, no, I haven't. How would I go about doing that with his name?

Would I just say his name AS I'm giving him a handful of treats, and then stop when I'm not saying his name?

I have been working on it more with crackers, though(I don't know; Lobo LOVES crackers). I say his name, and if he looks at me, he gets a click and a cracker. I haven't tried it anywhere but in the house, though. And, because he shouldn't be getting wheat at all, we really only do it a couple of times a day.

we will dance in- the ring without- words
Barked: Wed Nov 28, '12 6:04am PST 
Pick a very high value reward. 10 reps with 10 tiny treats. offer Lobo the treat. As he takes it, say his name. Do this once saying his name nicely, once saying it loud, once saying it like he is running for the road, once saying it like you want him to know you love him, once like he has been bad etc etc. Use this exercise to say his name every way you may say it in real life. This does fall outside the unconditioned stimuli - conditioned stimuli that we normally use for CC for a reason. You are sometimes saying his name in a way he may not respond to happily and we want the food IN his mouth when you do that so he does not jerk back and get the food.

it is a really strong association. We tell out students to shoot for 5000 reps every locations or distraction level you can create, but I STILL do this with my dogs because when I say my dog's name, I want a response.

Include nicknames. And if Lobo MAY have a poisoned response to his name for any reason, pick another word.

Separately, do some focus exercises till Lobo is good at them, THEN add the name/word as you cue for focus.

Honestly, when I introduce new dogs to food bowl exercises, my students don't even need to use leave it's. They use the dogs name, happy, happy, and it is all good.
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