The FIRST most important rule to teach is the word "NO". Understanding and respecting that command will keep your dog in touch with you during every other thing you try to teach him. It's important for his safety, his manners and his obedience.
Cooper started learning the word 'no' the first day I had him. Remember that leash he dragged? (It's mentioned in the post entitled "A Little White Puppy in his Ever Expanding World". If you haven't read it, you should go back and read it and then read this post.) That leash was so valuable in teaching him the word 'no'. How do you get a puppy to understand that 'no' means to stop doing, thinking or moving? Well, I'll tell you.
|Cooper and Gabrielle. |
He really wants to play but is being told 'No'
This game is NOT fun for Gabrielle.
A dog will indicate what he is thinking by his attention. If he is about to do something undesirable or dangerous, you'll want to correct him at the 'don't even think about it' stage. For example: dog sees cat... thinks chase! indicated by his posture becoming more alert and his attention intently focused. THIS is when you say, 'no'. NOT after he has taken off running. If he doesn't break his concentration, sideways tug on the leash he wears all day every day. "No" in a calm quiet tone. (don't bark a command) Still not break in concentration? Tug, "no". Still no result? Tug, "no". Never get any louder with your voice. STILL not going to listen? Well, now you have to pick him up and turn him around. Don't allow him to look. Repeat 'no' when he struggles to see. Remove him or the cat if you have to. Seldom does it get this bad, but the first few times, you may have to remove him. That's ok. He'll learn the outcome is 'no', and your corrections will become less and less drastic as he begins to learn the lesson. The point I'm trying to make here is, 'no' means 'no' without exception. You have to decide what is acceptable and teach that right across the board while NEVER becoming upset with the dog. NEVER BECOME UPSET. (I wish I could follow that rule better)
| This picture was taken when he left the cat and came to seek approval.|
What a good puppy!
In teaching the dog what is acceptable in his daily life, he will hear the word 'no' multiple times every day. Teach 'no' in the same way if he's chewing, barking, digging, jumping, begging, won't sit still... everything. If he's doing something, object to it till he stops or you have to remove him. Use that leash so you don't have to put your hands on him. Always gently tug sideways. Remember, the leash is used as a 'tap on the shoulder'. Be consistant, he will learn not to do that thing you're objecting to.
As of now, Cooper knows the quiet command of 'no'. I don't have to yell at him because I never did. It's a joy to know that I can just say, "No Coop." and he obeys. He knows I'm talking to him, and he also knows I won't just let it go. If I say 'no', it's 'no'. No hard feelings and no debate. Just as it should be.