Your dog has to learn how to know he is doing the wrong thing. Training a dog to respond to “no” teaches precisely that.
How to teach “No”
Most training succeeds by rewarding good behaviour and ignoring unwanted responses. Essentially, your dog wants your approval. However, sometimes it’s necessary to tell your dog that his behaviour is not on.
But rather then yelling or constantly saying “No”, fast progress can also be made through first teaching your dog a ‘no’ signal – one that tells him to stop whatever he is doing whenever he hears it.
Ideally, unless your dog has a nervous disposition and is easily frightened by sudden noises, you need some dog-training discs. These are five metal discs rather like mini-cymbals that are joined together on a key fob. They can be held silently, and, at the precise moment that you need to indicate “No!”, they can be dropped, to make a unique sound that is unlike any other the dog is likely to encounter.
- To teach “No!”, first get some treats. In the same way that you would teach the dog to associate a click with a treat, you now need to teach him that the sound of the discs means no treat.
- Place a treat on the floor. As your dog goes to eat it, rattle the discs in your hand. Remove the treat as you rattle the discs but say nothing – let the sound do the work.
- Over a few repetitions, your dog should stop being startled by the sound and will begin to associate the sound with not getting a reward. Eventually, he won’t even attempt to take the treat, anticipating the discs, and give up, looking disappointed.
- Now get him to perform another action, such as a ‘sit’, for which he will be given a treat, thus relieving his previous disappointment and frustration.
- Soon your dog will associate the actions where he has encountered the disc with ones that fail, and will cease trying without you having to use the discs.
Check out all the basic commands to get your dog up to speed on what you mean.
About the Purina PetCare Advice Centre
The Purina PetCare Advice Centre brings together a team with in-depth knowledge, experience and special interests with the skills to advise about health and nutrition, behaviour, training, socialisation, as well as basic first aid for your cat or dog. Our team of dedicated pet lovers can also provide information about Purina products and services to help you give your pet the best possible care. If you've got a question about any aspect of pet care, then ask the Purina PetCare Advice team.