The No command is one of the first words we humans learn and it also makes sense that it is one of the words that our dogs need to know. This is important because while dogs fit quite nicely into our lifestyle, they still need to be taught a few things. This includes what they can and cannot chew (shoes become a quick favourite for most pups and dogs until they are taught “no” they cannot have those). If a dog invades another animal or persons space, you want to be able to use the no command to tell them, they cannot do that. Just in general being able to stop a behaviour is convenient.
Learning this command is probably the most important one of all, and usually doesn’t take much for a dog to learn, because we end up using it so much. They typically learn quite quickly that “no” means no. However if you take the time to practice this in your training regime, you’ll know they get it and feel extra confident using the command.
How to Teach your dog the No Command
1. Using a small treat that your dog likes, show it to them in your hand, issue the command “NO” sternly, and close your fist around it. Do not use an angry or a praising voice, but use a stern tone to trigger the command.
2. Allow them to sniff and lick at your hand, but do not give them the treat.
3. As soon as your dog stops, turns away, or sits back in a relaxed position, you can praise them and give them a treat, but do not use the treat in your hand, give a treat with your other hand.
4. Practice this a few times until your dog starts to get it, or try a few times and then again the next day, to avoid you or your pup getting frustrated.
It also will make sense to use the word in “real life” situations, like when your dog starts chewing on a shoe. Do not get angry, but ask your dog to give up the shoe to you with a stern “no”. Then putting your hand over the shoe and waiting for them to turn away or walk away, then you can take the shoe away. You want to wait for your dog to submit the item they shouldn’t have to you, not take it way through pulling or trying to snatch it away. This is how you can teach them the no command while also establishing yourself as the pack leader.
It makes sense that when you first get a new dog, puppy or not, you want to establish a training schedule for teaching commands. Especially with young pups, it can take some time and practice for your dog to learn what you are trying to teach. If you don’t use a command very often, then sometimes your dog might just need a refresher. Using the steps we outline can be a helpful place to establish or re-establish obedience.
Training should be fun for you and pup though, because the more fun you have, the easier it will be. When you feel tense or angry, it is not a good time to have a training session. Dogs are so in-tune with how we feel that our emotions are often experienced by our dogs as well. So if you are already frustrated, this can lead to an even more frustrating training session as your dog feels and acts with that energy. Take the time to get in a happy, confident, mood and then work on training and you’ll find that your dog responds to that energy nicely.