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The Unknown No

The Unknown No

We recently had family visiting that consisted of parents and children. I noticed something interesting happening during the visit.

The parents attempt to control the children with threats and punishment. Even though they would deny it, that’s what I hear and see. Questions like, “Would you like to go to your room?” or taking away privileges until the child can “change his attitude” leave the children with an unclear course of action to avoid parental wrath. It also involves a lot of (often loud) conversation in the “need” for justification to punish or avoid punishment from both sides.

I didn’t realize how often the whole family used the word “no” with each other until they started trying to correct our dogs. It was actually kind of funny. A dog sniffed the air near a piece of food, one of the people said, “NO!” and the dog ignored them. I said, “leave it” and the dog walked away. A dog started to walk into the bedroom and, again, I heard “NO!” The dog looked at them to see what they wanted but didn’t leave the room. I called the dog and she came to me, happily.

It hadn’t occurred to me, until then, that I just don’t use “no” with my dogs. I tell them what I want them to do and reward them for doing it. If it’s something I haven’t asked before, of course, I teach them. I just don’t tell them “no.”

Interesting.

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