I was walking behind a woman in the grocery store the other day. She had a very tired, very grumpy little girl in her arms. The little girl was crying and whining about something I couldn't understand. Apparently Mom couldn't understand either. She patiently and calmly said to her daughter: "Use words. I can't understand you." Instantly, the little girl switched from whining to speaking. She was able to communicate to Mom that her shoes were too tight, Mom remedied the situation, and both were happy.
I was so impressed! I wanted to stop and tell the woman what a great job she was doing, but thought that might be a bit unwelcome from a stranger. I wish more parents told their kids what they wanted them to do instead of telling them to quit it, or shape up, or act right.
How exactly do you shape up? Act right? And what exactly do you want the child to stop? How do THEY know what you want them to stop? And wouldn't it be so much easier if they instead were instructed what TO DO instead of what to stop doing?
These same principles apply to teaching your dogs, as well. If you want your dog to stop jumping, tell them to sit instead. They can't sit and jump at the same time. Teach them how to sit, reward them heavily for sitting, and then ask them to sit instead of jumping. Problem solved! No yelling, no reprimanding, no frustration. Done!
Does your dog pull on the leash? Quit wasting your time telling them to stop pulling or correcting them every time they get to the end of the leash. Start teaching them how to walk with a slack leash. Again, use lots of really good rewards when the leash is slack (think: grilled chicken or steak) and before you know it, you'll have a velcro dog – he'll be attached to your pant leg!
Next time you hear yourself saying no or stop, think about what you'd like the dog (kid, husband, co-worker, whatever) to do instead. Teach them how to do the new behavior if necessary, then be ready to ask for the new behavior and heavily reward it when you see it. In no time at all, you'll be living with less yelling, less complaining, less stress! Guaranteed!