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Guest Dynamite Tess

Hi Jilly,

In my humble opinion I would forget 'no'. We humans apply that word to so many situations, such as no:

leave the cat's food alone

get off the furniture

stop barking

stop biting

put that sock down.

Sit means sit. Tell a dog to go 'down' and he will know what to do. But if you say 'no'for him to stop barking when five minutes earlier you've told him 'no' to something else, I really can't see how, no matter how intelligent he is, he can work out what he's doing that's wrong. If you're telling him 'no' because you want him to leave something alone then use the word 'leave'. For every situation that requires the word 'no' try to find a difinite for use only for that situation. What you really could be doing now is working on come when called. Let your pup see now what great fun you are to come to. I started this with my girls the moment I brought them home. It didn't matter what I was doing or where I was in the house [and yes I do mean even in the toilet] if a pup started walking towards me just to say hello, I opened my arms and gave the command 'come'. When they reached me I gave them plenty of praise and a cuddle. When you take him out on walks and let him run off leash don't wait for a drama to happen before you call your dog. Every time he leaps and bounds towards you grab the opportunity to give the command 'come'. If you use it daily as many times as you can, this will soon become a way of life for your dog.

Forget the choke collar, train with kindness. I have seen, in the past, Barbara Woodhouse jerk a tiny dog so badly it was yanked out of it's owners arms and took a bad landing on the ground, so not even the experts can get it right. Good luck with your pup. Regards, Val

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Guest Dynamite Tess

Sorry I missed a word out above, and it is in fact the word 'word'. Please read as ' try to find a definite word for use......'


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I agree that "come' is a good one to really focus on now, but any of the commands are fair game even at 10 weeks. The key is the way you teach at this age (different from how you would teach a 9 month old, or adult). Everything should be fun and positive and not physical. Try to seize opportunities to associate commands and praise with behaviors the dog does naturally - get him to sit for his food bowl by holding it over his head, use come when he's already coming, tease him into a down with a treat, etc. rather than pulling and pushing him into positions. Check out clicker training for more ideas along these lines. I don't recall a web site address off-hand but if you do a search on clicker training or Gary Wilkes you'll find some stuff on the net. Even if you don't get into the full clicker approach you will see by reading the training tips how to shape a behavior with nothing but positive reinforcement. Later, when the dog is older, you can use a mix of correction (not the same as punishment) and reinforcement. But keep it all very positive and fun now!


I also agree with Val about using "no" as little as possible. I do use it, but only for the most extreme situations. It's so unusual for me to say it that my dogs pretty well freeze when they hear it (good for stopping that dash into the street, at least until you teach the drop on recall!). I favor "leave it" to redirect a dog's attention away from something I want him to leave alone, and a sort of neutral sounding "ah-ah-ah" as a way of saying "wrong behavior" or "don't do that". Both of my dogs seem to get the point without the cowering or stress or confusion that I see in dogs that hear "no" a lot.


I'm not a trainer, by the way. This is just stuff I've read in books and tried on my dogs. Besides clicker training, I like the Monks of New Skete books and have used some methods in Diane Bauman's books. This is getting long, I'd better shut up.


Have fun!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Im glad to hear i am not the only person who does not favour choke chains. We went to puppy classes and were advised to get one and the obedience classes we have started recommended them. I have never liked them and just put it down to a personal dislike. We prefer to encourage Kelso to come instead of choking her to our direction. What is the point in using positive reinforcement and then ruining all your hard work with a choker.

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