Why You Should not Use “No” When Coaching Your Canine






As canine house owners, one of many first issues we are saying to our canine is “no” to speak with our furry associates when they’re doing one thing we don’t like – however ought to we? 


Generally you’ll hear canine trainers, or “consultants” say to inform your canine or pet “No!” in a agency voice, or stern tone, and that may treatment your canine’s habits when issues are going mistaken, or after they’re getting fundamental instructions incorrect, however I’m type of right here to let you know that it simply doesn’t enable you to get the place you’re going and, truly, might be massively counter productive!

I usually withdraw its use for many of my shoppers and suggest most pet mother and father keep away from it just like the plague! But, contradictory to this, I (as knowledgeable coach) use no in my coaching classes with my canine (I’ll clarify, I promise!) nevertheless it sounds hypocritical, proper? However bear with me, I promise it is smart.


Whereas it’d look like a pure technique to appropriate undesirable habits, utilizing “no” in canine coaching is never really useful. On this weblog submit, we’ll discover the the reason why “no” is normally not an efficient coaching software and recommend various approaches to assist your canine study the specified habits.

The Downside with “No”

Historically, pet house owners use the Stern “No!” and a waggy finger to rebuke their canine for inappropriate habits from biting, to peeing within the mistaken area. However there are a number of the reason why utilizing the phrase “no” in canine coaching will not be one thing I usually really useful for the typical pet mother or father. 


  1. No Has No That means: To start with, No has zero which means, so once we churn our this phrase when our new canine or pet reveals undesirable behaviors, they’re going to begin creating an affiliation, as a result of our canines study nicely, they usually don’t need us mad, so, they are going to soak up that phrase and construct a sample of once we use it… nevertheless it might imply something from Jellyfish to quantum concept to them.
  2. Confusion: There may be an excessive amount of variability in circumstances, timing, and habits, which might result in confusion for the canine. For instance, in the event you use “no” when your canine is chewing on a shoe, they may not perceive that it’s the chewing on the shoe that’s the issue, quite than the act of chewing itself.
  3. Could cause worry: we people are chronically unhealthy at managing our tone and frustration in terms of animals. And once we say “No” it usually comes out as “no.” then “No.” then “No!” and rapidly we escalate that tone and that turns into scary for our canines. They could not know what No means, however now it’s a scary phrase.
  4. Discovered Irrelevance: The phrase “no” can develop into topic to discovered irrelevance, which means the canine could lose its understanding of the phrase as it’s used too incessantly or with out specificity. In the event you continually say “no” for varied causes, your canine would possibly begin to ignore the command altogether.
  5. Frustration and Miscommunication: Utilizing “no” could point out that the canine’s wants will not be being met, which might result in frustration and miscommunication. For example, in case your canine is chewing on one thing as a result of they’re bored or anxious, merely saying “no” doesn’t deal with the basis explanation for the habits.
  6. Lack of Course: The command “no” is meaningless with out extra route, because it doesn’t train the canine what you need them to do as an alternative. In the event you say “no” when your canine jumps on the sofa, they don’t know what the specified habits is—ought to they sit, lie down, or transfer away?
  7. Counterproductivity: Overusing the phrase “no” might be counterproductive and should not successfully train the canine what you need them to do. Repeatedly saying “no” can create a unfavourable affiliation, which could make your canine anxious or fearful, hindering their studying course of even additional.
  8. Punishment Simply Isn’t Required: Trendy canine coaching (or animal coaching usually) simply doesn’t require punishment like No or bodily correction. We’re past that! And we all know that this coaching methodology? Is solely not as efficient in the long term.

No is usually a big downside, and certain, it’s onerous to know the fitting factor, particularly when the coaching course of is such a fluid and there are such a lot of trainers on the market telling you ways to do that, or that… However my greatest cause to cease my shoppers saying No of their coaching is…


The Dreaded “No” Cycle…

This is without doubt one of the worst issues that may occur, notably in puppyhood, however with any canine, and leans into our personal pessimistic nature typically. However a No Cycle, is one thing I discuss with as once I or my shoppers get into this obsession of claiming No. And the extra we are saying No, the much less good habits we discover. Which makes us come to the conclusion that we have now theworst canine on the planet. Which frequently isn’t the case, it’s simply that we’ve satisfied ourself they’re this manner as a result of we are saying No a lot. 

This can be a massive cause I ban using No with some shoppers and ask them as an alternative to deal with reward to interrupt the No Cycle, and also you’d be amazed, it’s one of the best ways to get our canines re-focused.

Options to “No”

As an alternative of utilizing “no,” I’ll at all times suggest we deal with constructive reinforcement and educating the canine what you need them to do, quite than what you don’t need them to do. Listed here are some various approaches:

  1. Redirect: In case your canine is participating in an undesired habits, redirect them to a extra acceptable exercise. For instance, in case your canine is chewing on a shoe, supply them a chew toy as an alternative. When it comes to a shoe, I’d in all probability suggest a pig’s ear or a cow hoof or one thing that’s bought that barely pliable, animal by-product vibe a this may meet the necessity that your canine has to chew!
  2. Train and Reward: Train your canine the specified habits or a mutually unique habits and reward them after they carry out it. For example, if you need your canine to sit down as an alternative of leaping on folks, use a verbal cue like “sit” and reward them with a deal with and reward after they comply. That is an instance of a mutually unique habits as a result of in the event you’re sitting you possibly can’t soar! 
  3. Give good rewards: It sounds easy, however in using constructive reinforcement, we at all times discuss rewards, and which may be a tasty deal with, it could be a tennis ball, it’d even be a real-life reward. However getting that motivator proper, will usually lower the quantity of No you are feeling you want in your life.
  4. Handle the Atmosphere: That is in all probability the most important part of ditching the “No”. Stop undesirable behaviors by managing your canine’s setting. For instance, in case your canine tends to chew on sneakers, maintain the sneakers out of attain or in a closed closet! It’s an effective way to be proactive about coaching.
  5. Tackle the Root Trigger: Determine and deal with the basis explanation for the undesired habits, akin to boredom, nervousness, overtiredness, or lack of train. Offering acceptable sleep psychological stimulation, common train, and addressing any underlying points would be the greatest step in direction of remedying any concern.

And don’t get me mistaken, you’re going to study alongside the way in which. You’re going to make errors, however if you do, you study one thing new for subsequent time, remembering that we actually need to spotlight constructive behaviors and train new abilities. 

Word: Clicker coaching is superb at getting you to deal with the great things, in the event you’re struggling and want a strict methodology to comply with.

Once I Use “No” – No Reward Markers

I truly didn’t use no for a very long time. I discovered it created that “no spiral” for me and added to my frustration. 

Now, I take advantage of “no” as what known as a no-reward marker (NRM) once we’re studying new methods notably with my Shepherd as a result of I ship it calmly! And in the event you ship it in a peaceful, even tone and pair it with constructive reinforcement for desired behaviours, then there’s no cause to not use No — however it is a very very human downside as lots of people will battle, and I did too! 

I truly began with “Nope” As a result of I might say that cheerily once we have been educating a brand new ability. However that may be troublesome for brand new pet mother and father, and I get that. So, while I don’t ban it, I encourage my canine mother and father to not use it.

But – I don’t use it with my hounds, as a result of they’re not as sensible within the conventional sense, and I don’t really feel prefer it’s going to realize something in on a regular basis conditions. The place as my Shepherd I really feel is wise sufficient to know the alternative ways I’m marking what he does (my hounds arent silly, they’re sensible another way to Indie). 

The purpose right here, I believe, is that it’s very a lot right down to you. It can ​be used, nevertheless it’s very a lot now not the strict, grouchy “No!” most individuals affiliate it with.

So keep in mind, if we’re utilizing No as a  no-reward marker, it’s basically a sign that lets your canine know that their present habits won’t end in a reward, however (importantly) it doesn’t carry any unfavourable penalties.

When utilizing “no” as a no-reward marker, it’s necessary to maintain the next in thoughts:

  1. Consistency: Be constant along with your use of the NRM. Use the identical tone and timing every time to keep away from complicated your canine.
  2. Timing: Ship the NRM instantly after the undesired habits happens to assist your canine perceive the connection between their motion and the dearth of a reward.
  3. Constructive reinforcement: Pair the NRM with constructive reinforcement for desired behaviors. For instance, in case your canine jumps on you and also you say “no” in an excellent tone, instantly reward them after they have all 4 paws on the bottom.
  4. Keep away from punishment: Be sure that the NRM will not be perceived as a punishment. Maintain your tone impartial and keep away from any unfavourable physique language or facial expressions.
  5. Clear expectations: Be sure that your canine understands what is anticipated of them by educating and reinforcing the specified habits earlier than utilizing the NRM.
  6. Look ahead to frustration: I discover that if I’m not being clear and indie’s not getting it (for no matter cause!) that rolling it again and making it easier is best and extra productive over all. I at all times search for frustration in his physique language, however sometimes when he’s carried out he’ll bark at me – and I’m wonderful with that! That’s his means of claiming he’s carried out and I didn’t make it work for him. I make a psychological word to make that train simpler. Sometimes although, we not often get to that any extra!

By utilizing “no” as a no-reward marker in a constant and constructive method, I discover it helps to successfully talk along with your canine and information them in direction of the specified habits with out creating unfavourable associations or confusion. 

It’s good to notice although, that the jury is out on NRM’s in canine coaching and there’s no scientific proof in its efficacy or lack of efficacy. 

To No Or Not To No…

Whether or not it’s with an older canine or youthful canines, No isn’t wanted to get your pet’s consideration, it’s not wanted in on a regular basis life. It’s necessary to do not forget that our canine’s emotional state  is simply as necessary as ours, and in the event you suppose you possibly can handle No as a no-reward marker, then by all means! Go forward. Simply be very, very cautious about that No Spiral.  Canine habits is advanced, however in day by day life we have to have a powerful methodology of speaking with our canine, and paramount to that is using constructive reinforcement. 

In the event you’re struggling on this, I can completely assist! Attain out and let’s get you working with a multi-award profitable canine coach! 

Writer, Ali Smith

Ali Smith is the Constructive Pet Professional, canine coach and is the founding father of Rebarkable. She is obsessed with serving to pet mother and father get issues proper, proper from the beginning. To assist create a pet able to being a assured and adaptable member of the family and maintain puppies out of shelters.

Ali has received a number of awards for her canine coaching, and has had her weblog (this weblog!) rated as 2021 & 2022 worlds’ greatest pet weblog!

Due to depositphotos.com for the pictures!

Share this


Nissan so as to add Tesla’s NACS connector to US-bound EVs from 2025

Nissan is the most recent of a number of automakers to announce plans to combine Tesla's charging connector, referred to as NACS (North...

Ashes 2023: Steve Smith takes a hilarious jibe at English media over haircut controversy; shares an image with Alex Carey

From Mitchell Starc’s catch to Jonny Bairstow’s controversial dismissal, the Ashes 2023 has been within the headlines for thus many causes....

Recent articles

More like this