Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pooches: Teaching our Pups a "No Word" without using the Word "No"

While we're always working with our pups to be responsible pooches in the city, we also know that everything is constantly a work-in-progress.
Our pups usually understand the structure we have set, but much like a sulky tween our Miss M can be quite demanding. Usually she is vocally complaining that the car is not being driven to her liking, or that she must be fed at this exact moment (anyone remember this infamous video?).
Sometimes there will be someone she really wants to meet on a walk, and if we don't let her meet them she will become frustrated making her "hungry-gremlin noise" and start playing tug-of-war with her leash. And we know she always wins.
After talking to our trainer, we realized we needed a word or signal to remind her that the behavior is unacceptable. We know all dogs and training philosophies are different, but this is what worked for us:

Finding a Word that Isn't "No"
It can be so easy to just yell "no" or "stop it" when dogs are doing things that we don't like. Not only do dogs not really understand word meaning , but a word like "no" is so easy to use that it really does lose all meaning. I found myself telling the dogs no for everything from licking my toes to not eating gyros off the sidewalk.
Our trainer recommended using a specific word, that we wouldn't normally say, to let the pups recognize its importance. The word we use is "Enough".  And it is said like we mean it.

Giving the Word Meaning
Miss M found that being vocal and playing with the leash worked because it gave her the attention she wanted. We needed to show her that these behaviors were not rewarding in this way. When she began complaining in the house we had to mark the bad behavior by yelling the word "Enough". Then we gave the word meaning by removing her from the fun situation, where she thought she was in charge, and isolating her to a not-fun situation. For us, we associated the word with putting her in a dark bathroom, with the door shut,  for 10 long seconds. Miss M quickly associated the word "Enough" as something not fun. She learned the complaining behaviors brought on the word "Enough".

Using it Sparingly
We know if we over-use the word it will lose its meaning so we only use the word for the most important situations.

This has worked well for Miss M, though it hasn't worked as well for Mr. B because he isn't as demanding and it's harder to catch him doing undesirable behaviors inside.

The dog-rules we never go back on
Don't forget this
Check our Facebook page for more photos, comments, and story lines beyond the blog.


kasia077 said...

We use the same trainer. Enough is a very powerful word.

domesticgoddesse said...

I like it! And I also loved the choice of warmer-weather photos :)

Two French Bulldogs said...

My either makes a funny noise, says No or Enuff

JustaGirl said...

We use "enough" as well! It does work wonders!

maddeelou said...

This post came at the perfect time. Baxter is going stir crazy in this cold weather and do all sorts of things to get attention. I like the bathroom as a ten second time out. Great idea. Thanks.

Maggie said...

I just started "enough" with Cooper - still a work in progress - so I'm glad to hear that it works for you!

Andrea Joy said...

I hear ya! We can't use "no" because it sounds too much like "Beau" so in our house it's "EH EH EH."

Rachel @ My Two Pitties said...

My parents taught their dog "oops" which they use after she ignores a command. It works most of the time and it's pretty funny but would probably drive me up the wall if I had to use it on my pups all the time. I tend to use "leave it" a lot which can control licking, sniffing or even looking at something.

Kolchak Puggle said...

We use enough too and when the dogs hear it then they know that I mean business. It's very effective.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...