Thursday, 26 November 2009


It's amazing how many dogs won't respond to the word 'No'. Why not? Is it because:

a) they hate me
b) they enjoy making me look like I can't handle a small number of friendly mammals?
c) they think it means 'carry on what you're doing, but faster?'
d) they think it means 'stop doing that fun thing and do a boring thing instead'?
e) well, you get the idea.

So I make it my business to spend a few minutes with each dog, at the end of the walk, demonstating that 'No' really means 'stop what you're doing and do something else and I'll make it worth your while'.

Here's Smudge, 19 weeks old, getting a head start.

We're working on 'stop trying to take the food and do something else' and his 'something else' is a sit and stare. This also works with 'stop eating that boring dog biscuit that you found under the cupboard and have this tasty bit of chicken instead'.

So 'No' can be used for 'leave' and 'drop' as well.

With Smudge I'll be moving on to showing him that he won't always get a treat for responding appropriately to 'No'. Sometimes he'll get a game, a toy, sometimes nothing, but I'll save up all the nothings and he'll get something of equal value randomly.

It does mean at some point I'll have to give him a suckling pig.