I play a game with myself whenever I get a new puppy. How long can I go without having to tell the pup “NO”?
This game comes from some great advice I was given when I got my first Weim puppy: Don’t set your puppy up for failure. (Errr…. were you expecting some miracle advice? ;-)) Yes, it’s simple, but it’s important to keep this in mind at all times.
Scolding a Weimaraner puppy with “no’s” all the time is an inefficient way to teach; it gives too little information to your puppy. He has no idea what your expectations are of him, and has no clue what the rules are until you teach him.
At any given moment, your new Weim has thousands of behavior options. If peeing on the kitchen floor is a “no” then is it OK in the living room? Is it OK sometimes but not just now? Maybe your dog didn’t even realize that you were yelling “no” in response to peeing, maybe he made an incorrect association.
Or maybe he is deciding that you are just a scary person that seems to like to yell and get mad a lot.
“No” doesn’t help your Weimaraner understand what your rules are. Even if he does correctly associate your “no” with what was specifically displeasing you, what should he do instead? Making him GUESS what the correct response is confusing, stressful, and more than likely you are setting him up to fail AGAIN.
Instead, SHOW him what the right thing to do is by creating situations where he will have to do the right thing because you set up the situation and environment for him to succeed. Your puppy really wants to please you! Help him do this while he’s young, and always control his environment so that he can’t make mistakes.
And once he knows the rules and gets to that I-forgot-the-rules-and-furthermore-I-can’t-hear-you stage, THEN “NO!” is appropriate! I think I went 3 days without saying “no” to a new puppy. It was a potty accident that did me in (my fault of course). They are mischievous little imps; this exercise is tough, but a good one!