Will it confuse my puppy if I first say "NO!" when he's doing something bad and after that cheer him? Should positive motivation be used in such cases at all? What should be the delay between "NO!" and "Good boy!" ?


1 Answer 1


The important thing is that your puppy understands what he's being punished or rewarded for. The "Good boy!" should come after the puppy has clearly stopped whatever bad behaviour he was exhibiting, and before he starts doing something new - or he'll think the new thing is what he's being encouraged to do. With puppies, that can be a very short timespan!

You don't have to praise them after they stop doing something bad, but you'll want your young and impressionable puppy to know that you still love him. Consider talking to him gently ("that's better, now") rather than outright praise in these cases.

  • 3
    I think the magic word here is reasonable. Just don't do extremes regarding to reward and punishment. Also important to make sure you don't train some odd behavior like "If I do something bad and stop, I'll get something!".
    – Mario
    Jan 24, 2015 at 10:12
  • I think that when you tell your dog not to do something, you should offer an alternative that acceptable. If he's chewing a cord, don't just say "no" and you probably shouldn't just praise him for stopping. Instead, I'd say, "no" to stop the behavior, then ask him to come over and sit or some other behavior he's good at. When he didn't I'd praise him for that. He should have forgotten about the cord by the time you're through. If he doesn't then put the cord somewhere he can't get to it temporarily, even if you have to unplug it.
    – Dalton
    Feb 6, 2015 at 21:07

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