8 Power Words That Will Protect Your Dog

8 Power Words That Will Protect Your Dog

Are there really 8 words which can protect your dog? YES! There are 8 power words you can use which will get unknown dog owners to quickly leash their dogs and leave you alone. And I am going to share these eight words for you to use.

I mentioned in yesterday’s post to send me an email if you’d like to know the eight words and… my inbox was flooded. So much so I decided to give them to everyone on my email list. One great email came in from Jenna, a dog trainer in New Jersey. She makes a great point. Here is her email:

“I’m wondering what those eight words are to have other owners back away with their dogs? I love your recent article as I’m a dog trainer myself and many of my clients come to me with reactive dogs. I completely tell them they have to advocate for their dog and control the space and situation. As you probably know, the owners sometimes don’t even realize they can say NO to an approaching owner. I’m always looking for good ways to ease the pressure off my clients and put them into a more calm confidence energy 🙂 ”

Thanks! Jenna

Jenna’s comment about advocating for the dog is excellent. You must make sure some strange dog or person doesn’t get up in your dog’s grill every time you walk down the street. Funny thing is when you ask, plead, or even demand strangers to stay away from your dog it has the opposite effect.

YOU: “Could you please keep your dog away from my dog?”

STRANGER: My dog is fine. He loves other dogs. They’ll be okay.”


An important concept in dog training is opposition reflex. You apply pressure on the dog and the dog applies counter pressure. You pull on the leash and the dog pulls harder. Opposition reflex doesn’t just happen with dogs. Humans also have opposition reflex and it works physically and mentally. You ask a person to do something and they automatically resist and do the very behavior you asked them to NOT do.

So my question for you is: How do you stop a behavior with dogs? The answer is punishment. You apply an unpleasant consequence to stop a behavior. How do you stop a behavior with a human? You punish them. You apply an unpleasant consequence to stop their behavior. (Which is why you must steer clear of any dog trainer who claims to be all positive or force free, they refuse to accept the principles of behavior. See my book The Deadly Dog Training Myth for complete details).


Punishment also does NOT have to be physical. If you think I would threaten or physically assault a person trying to pet my dog you are crazy. I simply conjure up an unpleasant consequence for the human by saying:


Or you could say:




You get the point. The person will come to a stop and magically leave you and your dog alone. The thought of their dog getting fleas or a terrible, life threatening disease is way more powerful than demanding they leave you alone.

And peaceful. No arguing, no screaming, no high blood pressure. A simple statement which resolves the problem. Think of that. Punishment peacefully solving a problem. Force free punishment. Maybe I should contact the Pet Professional Guild.

When you tell a dog owner your dog has a bad case of fleas, the thought of their dog and house getting infested is going to stop them from coming towards you.

Humans are no different than our canine friends. We are always thinking “What’s in this for me?” If “What’s in this for me” is negative or not to my advantage we will avoid. Try it out and see for yourself how this works.

1 thought on “8 Power Words That Will Protect Your Dog”

  1. Hi Eric, I appreciate your time sending out great information to the public. I wish there were better trainers here in OH that’s more high drive dog savvy (GSD) and balanced trainers. I do feel lost at times where I’ve been SO up in the air on how should we properly socialize our new puppies and dogs around other dogs????! I feel I know better and do try but not helping with our 5th GSD now and dealing with leash reactivity still. 8/

    Thanks for any advice that you can share on what we as dog owners should or should not be doing with our puppies or dogs to help them not be reactive at other dogs.

    Thank you!

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