No means no!

Ray has always had an independent side which he periodically shows us. Typically it surfaces when the route we take him is not going where he wants to go, so he just comes to a stop and we play a “waiting game”. There are times when he suddenly decides to cooperate, which often happens if we offer to cross the road and then there are times when he plants his rear firmly down on the sidewalk and looks at us.

“I weigh almost 80lbs so … are you going to bend over and try and pick me up?”

These psychological skirmishes have been more common since our weather went very hot and humid. We try and get him out for multiple short walks under these conditions, and we always take a collapsible water bowl and a bottle of water with us for him, so it’s not like he is being forced into an uncomfortable and demanding ritual!

Ray is spending a lot of time in his chair sleeping, so we call him when it is time to go for a walk. Historically he would come trotting into the kitchen to get his harness on but, in these extreme conditions, there are no sounds of any trotting … or any other movement! This is what we usually see now:

Ray’s severe separation anxiety is our weapon of choice at this time. We just have to open the back door and go outside, and he will come dashing through the house and into our kitchen where the backdoor is. In a few minutes we are on our walk.

Ray has learnedΒ  many words over his 5 years with us, but we have never come up with a word that addresses his attitude when our route is not of his choosing. We have tended to just talk to him – “C’mon Ray. We have to go to Fortinos.” “C’mon Ray, we’re going this way today.” “Ray … what is your problem?”

We have had varying degrees of success, probably from our tone rather than what we say, but we just recently found a potential gold mine with “NO!” We have never really exploited “No” because “Leave it!” and “Off” have served well for most circumstances, but neither gets his rear off the ground; nether gets him walking again. It would seem that he understands “No” to be “What you are doing is not desired/is unacceptable.”

We had a number of circumstances on a walk today where he put his brakes on and just stared at us. Some were resolved with simple coaxing but, on one particularly situation, nothing worked.Β  Then Carol said “Ray! No!” … and all was back to normal!

We’ll workout an effective communication vocabulary one day!

37 thoughts on “No means no!

    • It would be nice if they understood structured sentences, and it would also be nice if I was fluent in many languages however … neither is likely to happen! We’ll just have to focus on a variety of audibly different sounds, and do the best we can with them! πŸ™‚

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    • Hi … and welcome. Ray has come a long way in the 5 years that he has lived with us, and our lives most certainly changed! Much of that is covered in the Blog under the Dog Stories Category. Please feel free to drop by any time, make yourself comfortable, and browse. πŸ™‚


  1. Kali has always stopped along our walks too especially if it is in our neighborhood. In her case I think o she is bored ( no new smells) and I have to coax her along with a β€œcome” or β€œlet’s go”. If we go to a new spot or one less familiar she is not inclined to stop (until we turn around to go back).I think part of it now is we live on a hill so it feels like everything is uphill both ways and this does not agree with her hips. I have never tried β€œno” but she too understands that means what she is doing is not acceptable. But I wonder if she can understand what she is β€œnot” doing is not acceptable… we shall find out.

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  2. It sounds like you are doing OK. He obviously has a will and definite preferences. Can’t say that you would get me to cooperate for walks in this weather either. We did one (without dogs) yesterday late afternoon and I was a wet dishrag when I got home. The only difference between Ray and me is that I know I have to do this stuff for health reasons.

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  3. Glad you’re working this out with Ray. Since NO is just a sound, I bet it’s the tone we invariably use when saying it that does the trick. You can also try walking in a circle with him to get him going the right way like is done with a horse. Just a couple of thoughts.

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    • Good thought (re horse treatment) but we think that either he is smarter than a horse … or more stubborn than a horse! He will only cooperate on a turn as long as we follow him in his ultimate choice of direction. Turn him beyond that point and he is soon sitting again! Our current thoughts are 1. He simply does not want to be out in the humidity. 2. He has residual soft tissue damage from his heart-worm of years ago and finds it hard under these weather conditions. 3. He is trying to manipulate treats. 4. He is simply exercising some perceived leadership role, and we are just not getting it!!! πŸ™‚

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  4. Maggie didn’t want to go out in the heat either, but then she couldn’t find anywhere cool indoors! The coolest place appeared to be in the bedroom curled up between the wardrobe and bedside cabinet, which was the perfect size for her and out of any direct sunlight.
    As for her vocabulary, like most dogs, she’s pretty bright and will do her own thing. We’ve had the sitting down not going anywhere too, and when she was off lead would just say ‘Bye Maggie’ and walk off. She’d eventually follow us (we always checked), but now she’s on the lead most of the time. There have been a couple of instances when she didn’t want a long walk and would just stop, then turn and point towards home.

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