In a positive dog training technique workshop I recently attended, the instructor asked participants if we ever told our dogs "no." The class got very quiet and uncomfortable before the students began to mumble their answers. Everyone had to answer an honest, "yes." Even the most positive dog trainers say "no" to their dogs in multiple real life situations- "no" nose on the counter, "no" rushing the door when the bell rings, "no" tearing the stuffing out of that toy, etc. Even if you haven't really taught your dog what "no" means because you don't use it regularly as a command, you
Remembering to always praise your pets for a job well done, even if that "job" was to not stick their tongue in your cup on the coffee table, is one of the most important things you can do to build a bond of trust with your pet. Basically, if your pet listens to you at all, however briefly, you must remember to reward that attention. Sadly, each time you forget, your pet is less likely to listen to you. Praising your pet for doing what you want is as simple as giving a treat or a chin scratch to your dog for a loose leash or saying "good kitty" when you hear your cat using the litter box. However, the timing of congratulating and rewarding your pet can be difficult. You want to be sure you are rewarding the correct behavior and not the wrong one. With something as simple as telling your dog "no," even if they just turn their head to glance at you and away from what you would like them not to do, they have listened to you and deserve to be praised. Be careful though to mark* your dog giving you their attention before they turn back towards whatever it is that made you exclaim "no" in the first place.
For me, the hardest part of positive training with my pets is remembering to praise them for a job well done, even for the littlest of things, each and every time. The workshop instructor knew it too. When I told her that I do tell my dogs "no" but I always follow up with praise for listening to me, she pried "always?" I am, in fact, only human. All of my pets deserve to be commended very regularly. I know it. They know it. All I need to do is train myself to say "yes" after every "no."
Thank you for joining Cascadian Nomads, Dachshund Nola & Tenacious Little Terrier for the first Monday Positive Pet Training Blog Hop. Each month, bloggers and readers share and learn about positive pet training techniques, tools, frustrations and triumphs. Please join us next month, Monday, March 3rd, for a special training challenge: target training. We encourage posts about using positive training techniques to teach your pet a basic target command or a trick that uses target training as a foundation like closing a drawer or flipping a light switch (as demonstrated by Petal of Loved By A Collie.) However, any posts about positive based training with any pets are welcome in our blog hop this and every month.