This goes for horses, too.
A friend and I were recently walking out my front door while my dog, Kona, was close at our heels. She turned around and told him “no”. I told her that word means nothing to him and asked him to “back up” instead (a behavior he knows well). This sparked the conversation of “you’re a dog trainer, how does your dog not understand the word ‘no’?” My simple answer is “because he’s never been taught what that means”.
Dogs are not born with an inherent knowledge of the human language or culture. Can they learn a word by the context in which it is delivered? You bet! But it’s up to us to attach some useful information to that word to help them navigate our world where we expect them to live within our expectations. If I yelled “no!” at Kona in a stern tone would he immediately stop what he…
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