Dogs learn best when we tell them what to do rather than just reprimanding or saying “no.” A simple analogy of this is to think about when you are learning something new if someone says “no” you have no idea what they want you to do instead. You would understand better what was wanted of you if the person told you what they wanted you to do. For example saying “Please put the dishes in the dishwasher rather than the sink” is much more clear than just saying “no.”
As a professional dog trainer, I have done much dog training. Salt Lake City has many of clients of mine that have wanted to teach their dogs to understand the word “no.” I always tell them what I stated above.
So the best thing to do is to teach commands that have meaning such as leave it, stay, drop, come, go to your bed, watch me, sit, down, etc. If you want to grab your dog’s attention to interrupt a bad behavior and a command isn’t working I recommend clapping your hands or making a kissing noise with your mouth. I do this often when puppies are chewing on something that they are not suppose to chew on. The noise grabs their attention. Then I redirect them to chew on their own toy. Of course the long term goal is for the puppies to understand a command like “leave it,” so an interrupter is no longer needed.
Your dog will understand you better if you teach him the meaning of commands through dog training. Salt Lake City has obedience classes that you can take if you need support in training your dog. We highly recommend that you use a reward-based dog trainer.
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Johanna Teresi, Professional Dog Trainer and Owner of Four Legged Scholars LLC, Dog Training, Salt Lake City, Utah