Instead of "No!", Try This!

Naughty Dog

One of the most common responses to misbehavior that I witness in pet owners is to say "No!". I will tell you right now, that while your pup may tuck his tail and pin his ears back, he probably doesn't know what "no" means. He can tell that you're upset, but the problem with "No!" is that it doesn't give your pup any productive information. Rather than saying "No!" when you dog is doing something that you don't like, try redirecting his actions, by offering a cue he does know. For example, if your dog is jumping on a guest, try saying "Sit". This provides the dog with information about what is acceptable and gives him an alternative to redirect his energy to. Make sure to reward your pup when he does sit though! This is much more productive for learning and training, and avoids conflict and misunderstanding that can damage your relationship with your four-legged best friend. 

Be careful to use cue's that your dog already knows and is fluent in. If your dog is still in training, don't give him the opportunity to make mistakes. If you know your pup has a tendency to jump on guests as the enter, keep him away from the door with baby gates, or in a separate room and only allow him to greet when he is calm. Management and redirection are excellent tools for turning misbehavior into better behavior. Give it a try!

Sara Richter, CPDT-KA

Sara Richter, CPDT-KA Founder of Simply Animal Training LLC, began her professional training career in 2008 after 11 years as a student in the equestrian world. Sara began as an assistant horse trainer and horseback riding instructor for JGarvey Horsemanship. During the following 4 years she learned the ins and outs of positive reinforcement training, behaviorism, and operant conditioning. In 2013 Sara formed an equine training business known as Equestrianism. In 2014 Sara became a leader with the Local 4H where she taught children to use clicker training with numerous other animals including pigs, sheep, chickens, and even small animals. In 2014 Sara Joined forces with Root Dog Training LLC as a dog trainer, where she learned to translate her knowledge of learning theory and behaviorism, to the unique behaviors of canines. Sara is proud to continue offering Animal-friendly Force-Free services to pets and owners of all kinds. Sara is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed from the Certification Council For Professional Dog Trainers, and a Canine Life and Social Skills Evaluator with the Association of Professional Dog Trainers. Sara is constantly advancing her education in animal training and behavior through continuing education, certification, and college courses.