…your dog gets loose. He is running across the yard heading straight towards a busy street. In your mind’s eye you can see a very tragic event about to happen.
You have about three seconds to prevent a very bad outcome. What word would you yell to your dog?
Would you say your dog’s name?
Would you scream the command, “COME?”
Would you yell out, “STOP!”
I’ll share the word I would use in just a second but first let’s analyse this situation a little.
Your dog is running away from you. Your dog is doing a behavior you want to stop.
There is a lot of confusion about dog training. I’m sure you’ve read a lot about the subject. You have also probably read that you should always train using positive reinforcement and that to get a dog to come back to you, you have to reward the behavior.
That is correct advice. You should reward your dog when he comes back to you.
But the problem in the above situation is that your dog is running away from you. Often when a dog is loose and running around they could care less about what treat you are offering.
And a treat is used to reinforce a behavior. How do you use positive reinforcement to stop a dog from running away?
The correct answer is… you can’t.
So the word I would use if the dog was running away from me would be:
Obviously the dog would have to understand the word before the above incident.
The word NO has to be taught along with the word YES.
I share this with you because I have done this more times than I can count. A big problem for dog owner is getting their dog to come to them – even in the house.
I was at a house just last night and one of their biggest complaints?
They can’t leave the house. They can’t leave because it takes up to an hour to get their dog. He runs around the couch, under the coffee table, up the stairs, down the stairs.
They have offered treats, toys, walkies, you name it. The dog does not care!
I came over and taught the dog the word NO! I associated the word NO with an unpleasant, negative consequence. It took me two repetitions to teach the dog.
Now if the dog starts running away, a firm “NO!” is given and the dog stops in his tracks. He is then called over and a treat is given.
You see, it’s a rookie mistake to think that when a dog is running away from you to call the command come. If the dog is NOT distracted you may get your dog to come back to you.
BUT… if there are distractions, if your dog is in full on party mode, you better cut through the clutter and firmly use the word, “NO!” to stop him in his tracks.
I know you don’t hear advice like this too often. Most of what you hear is from people that live in a fantasy world where dog training is all sunshine and rainbows. It is sad because the advice they give to the unsuspecting public is getting a lot of dogs injured and killed.
Not me, I’ll give it you straight.
And if you’d like to see how I teach the word NO you can head over to the Dog Training Inner Circle and watch the videos I have about this subject.