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The Word "No"

This is a discussion on The Word "No" within the Dog Training and Behavior forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Dogs category; Originally Posted by leashedForLife . "Oops" is one i use with dogs who are training-savvy; they've trained with me & understand it as 'try again ...

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Old 01-20-2018, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by leashedForLife View Post
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"Oops" is one i use with dogs who are training-savvy; they've trained with me & understand it as 'try again - wrong answer'.


It's a difference in style, i think, as much as anything.

- terry

.
I think I am starting to understand the difference now. " No" is a hard concept and word for a dog to understand whereas "oops" is a word and concept that a dog does understand.

Yes, a difference in style as well as one's lexicon.
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Old 01-20-2018, 02:13 PM
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My dog's, horses, cats all understand and understood no just fine. Maybe it's a tone of voice thing. I use it as a stop what you're doing right now!!! They usually do. One feisty cat will freeze and argue with me. He'll meow loudly and stay where he is. Basically telling ME no lol.
I always follow it with a clear command of what they should do instead so they're not wondering. Then praise the behavior. Works for me.
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Old 01-20-2018, 08:12 PM
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OK, @leashedForLife, whatever.
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Old 01-21-2018, 08:06 PM
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I think I am starting to understand the difference now. " No" is a hard concept and word for a dog to understand whereas "oops" is a word and concept that a dog does understand.

Yes, a difference in style as well as one's lexicon.
Dogs do not speak english, or any other human language. Dogs learn the meaning we give sounds whether it's No, Yes, Oops, Sshh, Yes, or the sound of a clicker.

I can get really creative if I want and teach my dog that No means he got something right, all I have to do is give him a treat every time I say No and he'll start getting very happy when I say No. I can do the same with oops, I can use it to mean Yes, you got it right, here's the treat, rather then You got it wrong, try again.

If you use No as a positive interrupter then that's what the dog will learn that it means, if you want to use it like LFL uses Oops then you are free to do so, BUT you have to teach him what No or Oops means, and be consistent to keep the word meaning that all the time, otherwise your dog will become confused.

The real problem with No is that we use it a lot, and we vary the meaning. We use it in every day conversation with other people, "No, I don't want to go there." We use it to ask a dog to stop something, dog pulls on leash "No!", and what we are saying no to is not clear is it pulling on the leash, or looking at the object. We use it when they are bad, "NO!!!! BAD DOG!", again what are we saying no to. Remember they do not speak any human language, so when the meaning of a word isn't crystal clear, and no very often isn't, then the dog gets confused.

For me the reverse is Good Dog, I do not use it as a marker word because I say it way too much. Oh good boy! You're a good good dog! etc. and I'll do so throughout the day. I use Yes instead because I do not say it often. For my boy Yes means he got something right and I'm going to give him a treat.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:08 PM
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Dogs do not speak english, or any other human language. Dogs learn the meaning we give sounds whether it's No, Yes, Oops, Sshh, Yes, or the sound of a clicker.

I can get really creative if I want and teach my dog that No means he got something right, all I have to do is give him a treat every time I say No and he'll start getting very happy when I say No. I can do the same with oops, I can use it to mean Yes, you got it right, here's the treat, rather then You got it wrong, try again.

If you use No as a positive interrupter then that's what the dog will learn that it means, if you want to use it like LFL uses Oops then you are free to do so, BUT you have to teach him what No or Oops means, and be consistent to keep the word meaning that all the time, otherwise your dog will become confused.

The real problem with No is that we use it a lot, and we vary the meaning. We use it in every day conversation with other people, "No, I don't want to go there." We use it to ask a dog to stop something, dog pulls on leash "No!", and what we are saying no to is not clear is it pulling on the leash, or looking at the object. We use it when they are bad, "NO!!!! BAD DOG!", again what are we saying no to. Remember they do not speak any human language, so when the meaning of a word isn't crystal clear, and no very often isn't, then the dog gets confused.

For me the reverse is Good Dog, I do not use it as a marker word because I say it way too much. Oh good boy! You're a good good dog! etc. and I'll do so throughout the day. I use Yes instead because I do not say it often. For my boy Yes means he got something right and I'm going to give him a treat.
I'm thinking you missed the crux of my post with intended sarcasm.

FWIW, I use "yes" as my positive verbal marker and "no" as my negative verbal marker. I am fairly certain my dogs have clearly understood the intent, meaning and direction of both utterances as it has guided all of them brightly in the absence of a clicker on their journey of wonderfully demonstrated obedience skills and communication with me.

I apologize for my misinterpreted sarcasm but I thought it was appropriate for the post I was replying to. Markers are markers as you well know and timing with consistency is all that matters even if my verbal makers were rutabaga and Timbuktu.
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Old 01-21-2018, 09:55 PM
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I'm thinking you missed the crux of my post with intended sarcasm.

FWIW, I use "yes" as my positive verbal marker and "no" as my negative verbal marker. I am fairly certain my dogs have clearly understood the intent, meaning and direction of both utterances as it has guided all of them brightly in the absence of a clicker on their journey of wonderfully demonstrated obedience skills and communication with me.

I apologize for my misinterpreted sarcasm but I thought it was appropriate for the post I was replying to. Markers are markers as you well know and timing with consistency is all that matters even if my verbal makers were rutabaga and Timbuktu.
Given that no one's invented the sarcasm font yet, and you are new to this forum and I have no way of knowing if you are a serious person, one who loves sarcasm, or someone who has no real concept of dog training, no I did not know that you intended your comment as sarcasm. I've met more then one person who seems to think that dogs are fluent in human language whatever that human language may be, so I've learned the hard way to never simply assume.

The flip side of the coin is that we have a lot of people that lurk on the forum and never post, I also write my reply with them in mind, hopefully they will learn something.

Stick around long enough and, if you haven't already, you'll learn to not assume with a new poster. We once had a PMR feeder on here who insisted that skin counted as organ meat since skin was an organ, she was not being sarcastic, she was very serious in her statement.
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Old 01-21-2018, 11:23 PM
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Dogs learn words and can have the same vocabularies as children. I speak four languages to one degree or another and my last dog quickly learned how to do all his commands in all four languages. It took a few tries and associating a hand gesture helped him understand the connection between sit and paw for example in different languages.
My current dog knows a couple of basic commands in two languages but we haven't gotten to all commands in all four yet. He can differentiate heavy accents from different parts of the world and still follow commands. As could my last dog.

I can casually mention going to the park or stable not as a pointed command or question to him but he'll pick up the words from my conversation and get excited.
I think dogs can speak languages to a degree and they can generalize also.
Just my opinion from my personal experience. Others are free to disagree.
Maybe I've had exceptionally intelligent dogs. Not saying others haven't.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:32 AM
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Dogs learn words and can have the same vocabularies as children. I speak four languages to one degree or another and my last dog quickly learned how to do all his commands in all four languages. It took a few tries and associating a hand gesture helped him understand the connection between sit and paw for example in different languages.
My current dog knows a couple of basic commands in two languages but we haven't gotten to all commands in all four yet. He can differentiate heavy accents from different parts of the world and still follow commands. As could my last dog.

Okay, but the question is, is "no" a command or an interrupter?

I fully believe it can be used as either, but in most situations people use it as an interrupter - shouting it loudly to get the dog to stop doing what he's doing. They could sub any word in for the word "no" in the same tone of voice, without any prior conditioning, and it would work the same.

If something is a command, tone of voice means very little. Can you say the word "no" softly and get the same response? For example, I can tell my dog to sit at any volume, with any infliction, and he sits. He knows what the word means.

Tone of course is important in some instances as they read your mood from it and dogs can even understand inflection in terms of when you are asking them a question.

But if you don't have a solid behavior pattern - ie you say "no" and the dog does a specific task in response to that word - that you can say at any volume level, it's an interrupter, not a command.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:52 AM
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Okay, but the question is, is "no" a command or an interrupter?
Or a verbal marker, which it is in my situation.
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Old 01-22-2018, 05:22 PM
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Arrow poorly-defined terms, or same term / multiple meanings

.

"No" isn't a CUE - as a cue directs the hearer to do something specific, where 'no' as most ppl use it, means DON'T DO THAT - whatever that might be, ATM.
The dog has no idea which particular action is 'No', this time - as s/he might be doing several things, at any moment.

I think i mentioned it elsewhere on the Forum, & likely others have heard previously of the 'Dead Dog Rule':
'Anything a dead dog can do, is not a teachable behavior'.

Back when i did a lot of basic training, i'd often ask an owner what things they wanted their dog to do - & more often than not, i'd get back a list of things they DID NOT want their dog to do, such as jump-up, bark excessively, beg, snatch food from counters, get into the trash, destroy personal items, & so on.

So i began asking owners, particularly novice owners, for 2 written lists - 1 of things they wanted the dog TO DO, & one of those they didn't want.
I'd teach the dog - & the owner to train - the desired things for about a month, typically meeting weekly, or for some owners, twice weekly; then i'd pull out their lists, & we'd see how far we'd come. // Over 90% of the time we never bothered with the Don't list, & none of the behaviors came up as issues, other than in households where the dog was poorly managed [e-g, a household with small children who left food on low surfaces, such as coffee tables & stools, where - OF COURSE! - the dog would find & eat it.]
The behaviors that were taught, such as 'sit to meet friends', made the unwanted behavior [jumping-up] impossible.

The 'dead dog rule' is very handy in winnowing unteachable goals from the sum total of possible behavior; dead dogs do not bark, chew, scratch at the door, jump-up, & so on.

But it's simplest to determine what U want the dog to do, in any given circs - then, teach that.
"In the presence of other dogs, i want my dog to be civil & tolerant." - Very clear goal behavior.
"In the presence of other dogs, i want my dog to pay attn to me." - excellent goal!
"When we're traveling, i want my dog to settle near me, & be occupied with a chew-toy." - Very do-able.

the mutability & generalized nature of 'No' is part & parcel of the problems it presents for dogs - just when the dog thinks they've got it figured out, the owner uses it in a different way.
I also have had problems with owners, usually novices, who want ONE WORD to have TWO [or more] MEANINGS -
e-g, "down" for lie down or drop, AND "down" for 'stop jumping-up', or 'get off the sofa'. // That doesn't work; if 'down' is lie down, then "get off the sofa" cannot be 'down'.

I even had an owner tell me that her dog, a very compliant Golden, was "being dominant".
Mystified, i went to her house, & the dog greeted me happily at the door, got a little excited when i came in, & jumped onto the sofa to greet me at a more convenient height, wagging & smiling. Her owner shouted, 'DOWN!', & the dog dropped like a rock into a down, grimacing apologetically at her angry tone.
"See!... what did i tell U?... DOWN, dammit!..." & the dog practically groveled into the cushions. "No! - Come here, DOWN!", & the poor dog crawled over to her, belly-down on the sofa, in a GI-crawl - head & tail down, abjectly apologetic.
The dog cannot "come" AND "lie down" simultaneously any other way - i thot the poor animal had solved this paradox brilliantly, but it took me half-an-hour to convince the owner to ask the dog to get OFF, & only 10-minutes to teach the dog 'up' & 'off' the sofa, with a lure & a clicker - empty-handed by the 5th iteration, & responding only to the hand-signal within 2 or 3 minutes.

Humans are definitely harder to train. And they won't work for kibble.

- terry

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