This dog training tip comes from a dream I had.
In the dream my Rottweiler Lola was reaching up to take something off a table. I said NO and she stopped immediately, turning to look at me. I said “Good girl! What a smart puppy!” (Even though she is six years old.) And I rubbed her chest. Then I turned to a couple who were with me, beginners at understanding how dogs think, and I said to them that in this case the word no wasn’t really negative in any way, as it was simply conveying information to the dog… that the object she was interested in was a people thing rather than a dog toy.
Well, I could probably stop this blog post right there and you’d get the point. But I will expand it a bit. I have known some people who don’t feel that they can tell their dogs NO. (Some of them have trouble, for the same reasons, telling their kids NO. Dog training principles fascinate me partly because they help me understand how human minds work as well.) But in fact, NO is a very useful word between you and your dog.
It succinctly conveys “Oh sweetheart, that is something of mine and I want you to leave it right there.” I’ve heard people tell their dogs things like that, but I prefer the short and simple NO. With no judgment, no scolding, just pure information. And followed up with positive reinforcement of praise and some petting or a treat.
By the way, that photo of Lola was taken when she was about a year old and we lived in Mexico. Lola learned to let herself into the house by pulling on that rope attached to the screen door and then going into the house before the door swung back. (We had a securely fenced yard so we could leave the door unlocked when we were home during the day.) LarryDog never did figure it out!
Now why did I dream about saying NO to my dog? Ah, that’s another topic altogether! The short answer is I dunno! But it did give me a subject to write about here.