While it may feel good to say yes, yes, yes instead of no, no, no, sometimes saying “No,” is the kindest thing you can do for your dog.  No, in any form, can save your dog’s life.  No can give your dog the kind of clarity and boundaries that make him feel sane and secure.  No, after all, though not in so many words, is what his mother sometimes said to him to keep him safe and no is what your older dog, if you have one, will say to him on occasion, to keep him from being too annoying and to teach him how to be respectful to other dogs.  Saying no – no to chocolate, no to going in and out of the house twenty times in a row, no to enough activity to make you need a pill when you are injured and healing, no to whining during dinner, no to hogging the bed when it’s time for humans to go to sleep, no for sitting in the front seat of the car where you might cause an accident, no to nipping and biting.  You get the point.  No means I love you enough to pay attention, to protect you, to keep you safe and sane, to keep me safe and sane.  No is harder than yes, but at times, it’s more important.

Does this mean all your dog hears all day long is no, no, no?  No, it doesn’t.  No is part of a life in balance, a life full of fun and work and rest and playmates and  healthy food that will make a dog live as long as possible.  No is reality.  It’s education.  It’s caring.  No is paying attention.  So, do you love your dog enough to say “No”?