Teaching Your Dog The “NO” Command

By Michael Albee

Teaching Your Dog The “NO” Command

Teaching Your Dog The NO Command is the bedrock of my training strategy.

As a dog owner keeping your dog safe is the top priority. The NO command is the single most important commands your dog will ever learn. 

The “NO” command provides you with a way to stop your dog from getting into something it shouldn’t get into. When taught correctly it can also open a line of communication between you and the dog. I have actually noticed something very interesting after teaching a dog the “NO” command. When the dog is in the same situation again it actually stops and looks at me before it takes any action. This is known as “Impulse  Control”.

The “NO” command is basically the same thing as the “Leave It” command. The big difference between them is that “Leave It” is used to keep the dog from ever touching something it should Never have.  


 To begin, take your dog into a quiet area of the house or yard where there will be no extra distractions.

Teaching You Dog The Leave It Command

In order to give yourself more control during the training sessions I suggest that you put your dog on a leash. This will give you better control over your dog’s movement.

Using a handful of your dog’s favorite treats, put your dog in a “Down-Stay.” Sit down in front of your dog just out of it’s reach. Then place a piece of treat on the floor in front of him. Say the command, “NO” in a very firm tone.

If your dog moves toward the treat or tries to take it, Say, “NO” in a loud, very firm (not frightening) voice and block access to the treat. Return your dog to it’s original “Down-Stay” position if your dog has moved or gotten up. If your dog stays in position, reward with calm verbal praise or a tactile reward. 

NOTE: Never give your dog the treat from the floor. You are trying to teach the dog that what is on the floor is NEVER to be taken. 


Another way to teach the “NO” command is to put your dog in a “Sit-Stay” next to you. 

Place a treat on your coffee table or on a chair. With the dog on a leash, move toward the table or chair. As the dog starts to reach for the item, give a small leash correction and say, “NO” in a firm tone of voice. As mentioned above, if the dog does not take the treat reward it with calm verbal praise or a tactile reward.

In later training sessions you will be allowing your dog to move freely around the house or yard. When you want the dog to ignore something, simply wait for the dog to begin to show interest in it and say, “NO”. Your timing is critical with this command. Do not allow your dog to touch the item or move away with it.


The goal is to reward him for paying attention to you instead of the item. When your dog obeys, it is important to give the verbal reward IMMEDIATELY for following your instructions. Any other reward should follow shortly thereafter.

You want your dog to learn that HIS action (ignoring the item and obeying you), got him a greater reward than he would have received from following through with his original quest. 

Over the course of a few weeks your dog should show no interest in any item you drop or leave out.  


After your dog becomes very reliable with this in your house or yard, you can begin training the command in the real world. (During Walks). When he goes to sniff or eat something in the street, give the command. Stop his progress with a  leash correction if necessary, then give lavish praise when he obeys. Do NOT let him have the item. Use your praise as a reward, then move on.

Rewards such as Verbal Praise, Treats or Tactile Rewards (Physical Petting) will help your dog learn that his action causes good things to occur. The reward you give must be something your dog wants more than the item he wants to chew on.


As with all training, keep your sessions short. Training sessions should be kept at about 2-5 minutes in length and repeat these sessions 2-5 times per day. Finish each session with your dog correctly doing a behavior.

Always do something that your dog likes to do when the session ends. Playing with the dog’s favorite toy or going for a walk will keep your dog interested in training. Because there is a “fun time” following the training, it will make the dog more willing to train well.


There are several variations of this training that will get the same results. If you need help teaching your dog the NO command or to “Leave It” you can contact us and we can give personal instruction. Contact Us.

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