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Do you have the power of "no" when you train your dog?

What is the power of "no"? It is the most important yet often overlooked or misunderstood aspect of anxiety rehab.

It is the difference between an anxious dog who will respect - and hence trust - you or merely looking at you as a "buddy".

The power of "no" is what makes an anxious dog think before he acts. It is what will make him put you in the centre of his decision making process even when he is surrounded by threatening triggers.

An anxious dog is not anxious because he is in lack of love. No, he has had lots of love. Sleeping in bed, getting tummy rubs, lots of soft human talks, lots of toys and snacks...

But what an anxious dog really craves yet is not getting, is someone who can show him clearly how to navigate this world with a peaceful mind.

He won't listen to just anyone because he is very anxious. It takes a lot for him to trust anyone. It takes a lot for him to say, "okay, l will leave my safety in your hand. Please just tell me what to do and l will do it without question."

It is hard because an anxious dog, by definition, is usually very doubtful and tends to worry about everything.

Can l trust this person to keep me safe? Does this person really have control of the situation?

He will only trust someone whom he considers as being strong and powerful, which is not about how big or loud that person is - but whether this person has the power of "no".

When this person says "no", is it believable?

When this person does not approve of a behaviour, can this person actually stop the dog from doing it promptly? When this person asks the dog to do something but the dog objects, can this person follow through effectively? When someone unexpectedly gets too close, can this person tell the offending party "no" and stop it?

The power of "no" is the golden ticket to being connected to your anxious dog on a very intimate level even when the dog is surrounded by lots of scary triggers. It is the key to being included in the anxious dog's inner circle so instead of acting like an injured animal fighting for his survival all alone, the dog will lean on you for direction and protection and trust you to handle the situation for him.

Those who are against aversive will not understand this. They will often struggle with anxiety rehabilitation, and keep struggling for many years. They need to use lots of managements to avoid facing the situation because they do not know how to solve the puzzle properly.

But those of us who have seen the power of "no" know that a very tense and anxious dog will become much softer and relaxed; a very "suspicious" dog will become a lot more trusting.

With the power of "no", they will become convinced that their human is a powerful being with control of them and their surroundings, as a result of this new perception and hence a much more healthy relationship between the dog and the human, a new world will open up for them!

With anxiety rehab, it will often look messy before it gets better. You need to be prepared.

Don't be afraid of saying "no"; instead, learn how to say it properly.

A "no" can be verbal or non verbal; but either way, it should be able to stop the behavior or at least make it happen much less frequently.

If you keep having to repeat yourself, you don't have the power of "no" and you should learn how to do it properly.

It is important because it is how you can earn the trust and respect of your anxious dog so your dog can finally step out of his shell and enjoy life to its fullness.

Hope this makes sense.

Thank you.

Training a dog in a store.


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