Do dogs understand the word NO?
Lets ask them:
Blue’s Answer (Ridgeback): NO is a word that my mom uses when she is very upset. I feel sad when she says NO because she is very troubled. The problem is I cannot figure out what she is troubled about. I am sure it is something horrible. I think it has to do with the flies in the kitchen.
Flint (Aussie, Bordercollie Mix): Oh, I know what that means. NO means that my mom is going to run at me really fast and grab me by the collar. It is not a good word. It means run and hide as fast as you can.
Sunny (Lab): It only has meaning when I have my choke collar on. It means I am going to get strangled by my collar. I hate that word. It doesn’t have a meaning when my collar is not on. People say it all the time.
King (Aussie): NO means that I am doing something very wrong and I should change my behavior fast. It means I am naughty and I should figure out what is good.
Bear (Rottie): NO means that people are going to stand around me and yell. They are going to become very loud and make me go outside or in my kennel.
Jane (Maltese): It has different meanings. It depends on who is saying it. When my dad says NO it means he is going to pick me up and talk to me. When my walker says NO, it is very scary. It means he is going to lift me off the ground with my choke chain. I hate it when he says NO because I cannot breathe. But I love it when dad says NO. I like being hugged by him.
Fire (Wolf Hybrid): NO means I was very bad. It means my mom is going to give me the evil eye. It means she is very mad at me and I better do a down stay fast.
JR (Hound Mix): NO means I am going to get something thrown at me or I am going to be hit. It means I better start showing my teeth and barking or else people are going to hurt me.
Pam (Corgi): NO means that my mom and dad are going to a point a finger at me and talk to me for a long time. I think they are funny when they do that. I love it. Then the say OK and pet me for a long time.
I ask you, “How have you been using the word NO?” Does your animals know it is a marker for bad behavior? Have you been redirecting their actions and praising for appropriate behavior? Or are your animals confused as some of the ones above?”