Dog training : The 3 words to banish

We know that each word is important because it allows us to be understood by dogs and humans. In dog training, over time, some of these words have become more and more pejorative. This is why it is sometimes preferable to use one word rather than another. This would allow being better understood by the dog or by the human in front of us. In this article, we will discover the influence that certain words can have.

Dog training : The 3 words to banish

The word: No!

We often hear that we should not use the word "no" to educate our dogs. Indeed, this indication is not really educational for the dog, because we simply tell him "no" without telling him what he can or must do instead. Furthermore, "no" is used excessively in all situations: "no" because the dog jumps, "no" because he wants to eat something on the ground, "no" because he wants to play, etc. Let's take the example of the dog that jumps on us; instead of "no", we can teach him the command "get down". In this way, we suggest to the dog the behavior we want, i.e., that it has all four paws on the ground.

Here are some other examples: When a dog barks, you can say "shut up" or "stop". You can also divert the dog's attention by offering to fetch a toy.

In the case of a rough dog, instead of yelling a firm "no" to get him to stop, it is better to teach him the word "gentle". Many more examples could be given. What you need to understand is that each situation can have a specific word that the dog can easily register, since an average dog is capable of retaining about 100 words. However, don't feel guilty if you often say "no" to your dog, it is very difficult to remove it from his vocabulary. Just try to use it less and less.

The word: Dominant

This word, which is often used to describe a dog's character, is probably the most pejorative of all. First of all, it is not one of the traits that can describe an animal. If you think your dog is "dominant", you should rather try to decipher the context and the behavior that makes you think of dominance and look for the cause. I suggest replacing the term "dominant" with another more descriptive word.

For example, my dog is "dominant" because he always wants to go in front of others, even if it means pushing them.

We can then replace the sentence with the following: My dog is very temperamental because he allows himself to pass and push everyone around to be first.

The conclusion that could be drawn from this situation is: that the dog is a little insecure, so in order to be sure not to be wronged, he always tries to be the first. Or he has not learned to respect others and therefore he pushes them around.

In this example, we can see that the term "dominant" is too generalized and does not allow us to go deeper into the real situation. By breaking down the dog's behaviors, we are more attentive to his emotions, which allows us to better understand him, and perhaps find a solution.

The word: Leader of the pack

We still hear too often that we must be the "leader of the pack" towards our dog. This way of seeing the relationship is wrong. We take the risk of building a bond that will be more in fear than in collaboration. This relationship is therefore likely to be conflictual, whereas we want more mutual harmony. Moreover, the term "pack" was used to refer to the life that wolves can have. Today, we understand that wolves live in families, while our dogs, once again wild, live in groups according to their affinities. On the other hand, a hierarchy cannot exist between two different species. This can be explained by the fact that we do not have the same needs, nor the same desires between dogs and humans for example. This is why we could also choose to replace the word "pack leader" with I am my dog's guardian/collaborator/teacher/etc.


The words we use have an influence on our ideas and on the reaction of the person in front of us. It is, therefore, preferable to pay attention to the words we use in order to make ourselves understood. Moreover, the vision that humans have of dogs has evolved a lot. Changing certain words in our vocabulary will help to keep things moving forward.

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