I have found that saying ‘no’ does little to teach our dogs. It may stop your dog in that moment because they fear the tone or you startle them but I’ve found that teaching your dog what you do want is a lot more successful, especially when this is positively reinforced.
What do we need to do?
Change our mindset- instead of focusing on what we don’t want (e.g. I don’t like it when Bob jumps up at the kitchen table) we decide what we do want (e.g. I want four feet on the ground or I want Bob on his bed when we are eating). When you begin to focus on what you want, you can then put a plan of action into place. Commence training journey!
Catch your dog doing something right and reward this! This may be the smallest or quickest form of the end behaviour but when it’s rewarded the dog will start to perform it more. For example, if your dog cries in their crate, before they do start to cry or if they show more settled behaviours in there reward them with either a calm marker “niiiice” or place their kibble in their crate.
Think about the situations you are putting your dog in. Can they cope with people? The amount of people? Other dogs? Ambiguous situations? Unexpected noises? Distracting environments? If not, don’t put them in that situation. You are setting both your dog and you up to fail. It will only take value from your relationship bank account. So if your dog can’t recall in a wood yet, take them to a less distracting environment such as a field or if your dog jumps up at visitors coming into the house, pop them in a separate room.
If you have become angry and impatient with your dog, stop what you are doing, pop your dog in a safe place (e.g. puppy pen, quiet room, crate, on their bed) and go and have a cuppa and a ‘time out’. Once you have calmed down, don’t go and try and train the same concept or take them back to the same place- again, you are setting both of you up to fail. Have a quieter day, train some calmness, do a puzzle or enrichment activity together to top up the relationship bank account.
You are your dog’s guardian- protect their confidence and optimism. Build that relationship bank account so you become sexier than the squirrel in the woods, the dog in the park and the cow in the field.
Pro Dog Trainer- Absolute Dogs