We’ve all been there! We go to do some training and our animal/learner clearly says NO (via their behaviour)! So what do you do next? & could having a well thought out ‘NO plan/option’ mean your learner might be more likely to say YES in the future?
Below is an offering about how I manage this, with an example from some recent training I’ve been doing with my dog FIbi.
Firstly though, I was SUPER excited that on the 07th of October – & for the first time ever – we used the ‘read deal’ dremel on Fibi’s nails! See video below
I actually had no initial intention to do this on that day (i.e. the 07th Oct)! It just came over me that we were ready & I trusted that feeling! Last time we attempted doing this was roughly 2 months earlier (& @ this point Fibi very clearly voted NO-WAY)! – However all of the approximations – with the human nail files (see HERE) and human baby dremel (see HERE) – in the interim had seemingly paid off! & the trust Fibi showed with me using the the ‘Real-Deal’ dremel on her nails … meant the world to me!
Two days later though in a similar session – Fibi said NO! However, this was completely fine – as this time we had a solid plan in place!
Fibi’s recent learning history is that – in this context, i.e. sitting down on the mat (when the dremel and/or other nail care equipment is present); is followed by me asking her if we can do some manipulation/’care’ of her nails.
However of course – she has the option to say “No I don’t want to do this right now” (i.e. by not sitting down on the mat but doing something else instead) at absolutely any point in these sessions! And often she will choose this option! See video ⬇️
Saying NO is TOTALLY cool! And I feel having options for her to access food anyway (in this case via a chin rest and/or nose target) is super important, so that – to the best of my ability – training remains fun for her & motivation stays high!
The extra cool thing about this is that historically with Fibi & I … I feel that this has lead to Fibi being more likely to say YES in the future! My understanding being that the control she has to say NO @ any time gives her the ‘confidence & trust’ to say YES more!
Note: After I folded up the mat – we then went outside & worked on some stationing behaviour with lots more access to food!
Also when Fibi & I have done similar training in the past – she might do a session of saying YES ten times in a row, followed by a session of saying NO right from the start, followed by another session of then saying YES again.
Fibi continued on with what she has historically done and after this, she did said yes more… A lot more! – here is another session from 14th oct… ⬇️
What about you? What do you do when your learner says NO? You can let us know by leaving a comment below – We would absolutely love to know!
Animal Training Academy
P.s want to see more from our (Fibi & my) journey training this behaviour? You can do so in previous blog posts below >>>