Dogs, and my favorites of course, are English Cream Golden Retrievers, are bundles of joy that thrive well under simple training encouragements. It’s a natural instinct with puppies, dogs and even children to yell “No” when we want them to stop performing some unacceptable behavior. It does get them to stop temporarily, but if you want better performance from your puppy, it works better if you tell him what you want in as few words as possible.

For example, you can break an excited puppy of the habit of jumping on your guests. If you say “NO” he has no clue what you really want, but if you say, “sit,” he gets it right away. We teach our dogs that in order to be petted, they first must sit. Knowing what behavior is required and is so much less confusing for the dog.

Dogs want to love you, protect you and please you and they live to achieve all three of these ideals. If your dog does something wrong, yelling “No” could crush a sensitive dog’s spirit because of his intrinsic desire to please, so make yourself aware of your tone of voice. Don’t sound mean; sound firm and direct. To keep the link between cause and effect meaningful, right at the time of the needed correction, use your firm, simple, direct command. If he performs well, immediately reward him.

For example, if another dog walks by, and you want your dog to stop and stay calm until the dog passes, when he performs the action correctly, give him a treat. He won’t understand what it’s for if you wait until you go home and take off his leash and then give him a treat. Quiet insistence on the “stay” command followed by a treat works so much better than yanking his leash and saying “No.”

It is important that you research the breed of your dog before you adopt. Understand how easy or hard it is to typically train. Some breeds are considered “working breeds” and are more independent without a high desire to please. The Golden Retriever is considered family dog with a great desire to please and therefore, with proper positive reinforcement training, should learn fairly easily.

The word “NO” is overused by humans and completely understood by dogs and it can end up doing more harm than good. You’ll be adding unnecessary stress to the dog’s life to say nothing of yours. When a dog hears “No,” he knows he’s done something wrong, but has no idea how to correct it unless you tell him specifically. We use the term Uh-Uh here at Wisteria Goldens and only utilize the word NO for situations that are dangerous and we need immediate attention.

Manage the situations your dog gets into and train him into appropriate behavior. Simple commands will help him know what you really do want from him, like: ‘Leave It’, ‘Off’, ‘Give’, ‘Down’, ‘Quiet’, saying Uh-Uh with a hand clap, if necessary to get him to stop.