There is one word in dog training, that if your dog understood it, would solve a large percentage of the problems that people have with their dogs.

Does your dog understand the word ‘no’?  (You can say ‘no’, you can say ‘uh-uh’, ‘chi-chi’, etc., doesn’t matter.  The point is, does your dog have a word for ‘no’?)

When asked this question most people would say their dog DOES understand what no means.  The question is, though, if your dog gets that word, truly understands it….then why do you have to say it so much?

My findings are that very few dogs REALLY understand the word ‘no’.  When it comes to this word I sound like a broken record.  The reason why is that if your dog gets this word then:

  • You can get your dog to stop jumping on people, including yourself and guests.
  • You can get your dog to stop nipping and mouthing.
  • You can stop unwanted or nuisance barking.
  • You can rid yourself of most manners problems.

So ask yourself, if your dog does any of the above and you find yourself constantly yelling ‘no’, does your dog really understand the word?  I think you know the answer.

The solution comes down to associations.  The only association that most dog owners have formed with the command ‘no’ is that they’ve yelled it a lot.

Dogs aren’t verbal learners.  They don’t learn very well by being told.  They learn by being shown.  Dogs are physical learners.  If you want them to understand a command, any command for that matter, then there needs to be something physical that goes with that word.

This is true if you want the dog to understand what ‘good boy’ means, what ‘come’ means, or what ‘heel’ means.  If you are simply saying these words and hoping your dog does them then you’ve already lost the battle.

So how do you associate something with the word ‘no’?  There are a variety of ways.  These are some of my favorites:

  • Leash correction.  When starting out training a dog I always have them on a leash.  With a leash connected you can give a simple correction as you tell the dog ‘no’.
  • Spray bottle.  This is one that I use with a lot of puppies.  When puppies are barking in the crate or nipping I’m likely to bust out my spray bottle and give a quick couple sprays while I say ‘no’.
  • E-Collar training.  Done right, an electric dog training collar can be a great and humane way to train.  We’ve got a video program on how to use an electric collar to train a dog.

Folks, just saying ‘no’ isn’t going to cut it.  Put something with it, however, and you may just solve some of your dog problems.