Life would be a lot easier for pet parents if dogs understand human language. If only dogs know when to stop when you tell them to, training them would be a lot easier. But is it even possible to teach your puppy to obey you when you say “no”?
This blog post will share some easy tips on teaching your dog to understand the “no” command.
Is it OK to tell a Puppy no?
The “No” command is one of the essential canine obedience cues and commands your dog needs to learn. When your dogs understand this word, he usually stays out of trouble, and life is easier for you both. And, training them at home would be much easier by then.
Just as humans need to know what is appropriate behavior and what is not, it is important that dogs are taught house rules too. The moment you bring a pup home, you should teach him what is acceptable and what is not. And, the earlier you start teaching them, the earlier correction can be applied when necessary.
How to Teach a Puppy No
First things first. Teaching your dog requires that you stay patient, committed, and dedicated.
Although younger dogs are more inclined to be easily trainable, older dogs can still be trained as long as you are willing to dedicate your time and effort to teach them.
And, do not yell at your dogs if, at first, they do not get what you want them to do. Remember as well that punishment never works and may only cause more dog behavior problems.
Teach your dog the no command
Before you teach your dogs the “No” command, prepare a handful of treats. This will serve as a positive reinforcement besides being necessary props to training itself.
Make sure you teach your pup in a room with little distractions, so you have his full attention and concentration on the lesson. Also, ensure that your dog is hungry enough to get him interested. It is best that this training is done before mealtime or before your dog has gotten any food.
With a treat in your hand, hold your open palm out around 6 inches away from your dog’s mouth.
The natural tendency is for your dog to grab the treat with his mouth. When he does, close your hand in a fist and say the word “No.” Remember not to yell while saying the word. Rather, use a firm voice. When your dog keeps trying to get you to open your fist and get the treat, gently pull your hand away and get your dog to calm down.
Repeat the process
Once your dog has calmed down, repeat the process of showing him the treats in your open palm. Again, when he tries to grab the treat, say “No” and close your fist. Repeat this process up to 5 more times or earlier when you notice your dog losing interest in the activity. Then, it’s time to give your dog a break.
After a short break, get your dog’s attention once again and hover the treat in front of him. Again, repeat the process a few more times and take a break when you find it necessary. As a pet owner, you would have an inkling of when your dog needs a break from any training session.
Dog trainers and pet experts have always advised limiting any dog training method and session to 3 times per day and not to exceed 30 consecutive minutes of training.
So if your pup does not get the cue and needs more sessions, that is completely ok. Continue with the sessions the following day. Keep in mind to take breaks in between sessions and take a break when your dog’s attention is waning.
Take every learning one day at a time and enjoy the process!
Test your dog
When you notice your pup has a good grasp of the meaning of the word, there’s one more step you need to do. It’s time to test your dog.
Place a treat at the center of your hand and open it up to your dog. Once he starts to move towards the treat to take it, simply say the word “No” in a firm voice. When your dog moves to eat the treat, it means that he still has not gotten what the word “No” really means. Repeat the first step above by closing your fist and pulling your hand away.
When your pup does not move towards the treat, it means he knows the meaning of the word “No.” If such is the case, praise and give him the treat or a toy as positive reinforcement.
Now that your pup understands what “No” means use the word “No” in teaching your dog what unwanted behavior is. Praise your dog and give him treats every time he exhibits positive behavior but never use punishment when your dog does not show the behavior you want him to.
Applying “No” to other Dog Training Sessions
Now that your dog gets what “No” means, you can now use this cue in teaching your puppy other tricks and behavior correction sessions.
Since every trick you want your pup to learn requires obedience, teaching him to obey you is much easier now. You can easily let him know that something is not what you wanted by saying “No.”
Imagine, for example, you doing an activity where you want him to lie down. Instead of doing so, he just sits. By saying “No,” he will get the notion that sitting is not what you wanted him to do.
How long does it take a Puppy to learn No?
Quite frankly, there is no definite answer to this question on how long it would take for your pup to learn “No” or any other skill for that matter.
The amount of time for your puppies to learn the “no” command varies. Depending on the ways you employ to teach your pup, your persistence, self-control, and dedication, it could take a few weeks or a few months. Sometimes, it is also affected by the age of your puppies and the dog breed.
For dog trainers, training a dog the “No” command may take a shorter period than when dog owners do it themselves. Certain dog behaviors affect how a dog trainer makes progress on dog training. And with the experience they have, they surely accomplish things faster and better when working with our dogs.
“Why doesn’t my puppy understand no?”
What if you’ve been teaching your dog the “No” command for some time but do not see any improvement?
As with every training method, some lessons may be harder to impart to your dogs, while others may be a bit easier.
But if you’re really having a hard time teaching your dog a thing or two, consulting a dog trainer, pet behavior consultant, or a veterinarian would help. Talking with other people and dog owners may also give you some clues on other ways to make things easier for you.
So, in cases like this, consult an expert!