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Brandon McMillan’s Guide to Teaching Dogs the “No” Command

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Aug 7, 2020 • 3 min read

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Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training

Obedience training is a necessary activity that keeps dogs sharp and well-behaved. When you teach a dog common commands, you can strengthen your bond and increase your understanding of one another. While hiring a professional animal trainer or consulting an expert behaviorist isn’t necessary for most dog training, there are many different factors that can influence the way a dog responds during training sessions. It’s important for dog owners to incorporate the best tools and techniques in order to make the most out of adult dog or new puppy training.



Brandon McMillan Teaches Dog TrainingBrandon McMillan Teaches Dog Training

Expert animal trainer Brandon McMillan teaches you his simple, effective training system to build trust and control with your dog.

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A Brief Introduction to Brandon McMillan

Brandon McMillan is a renowned animal trainer who has spent most of his life working with domesticated and wild animals. The Emmy Award-winning host of the critically acclaimed CBS series Lucky Dogs comes from a family of wild animal trainers—Brandon began helping raise tigers by the age of four. The animals he’s trained have appeared in countless television commercials and motion pictures, including the comedy blockbuster, The Hangover (2009). In 2016, the successful dog trainer released his first book, Lucky Dog Lessons: Train Your Dog in 7 Days. After spending a year training a service dog for an injured combat veteran, Brandon realized his calling was in training dogs to change people’s lives. To further his goals, Brandon co-founded the Argus Service Dog Foundation, an organization that trains service dogs to assist veterans with disabilities.

Brandon McMillan’s Guide to Teaching Your Dog the “No” Command

Training your dog can be easier once you know how to implement the right techniques. The “no” command is one of the basic commands in dog training. The “no” command can help stop your dog from engaging in unwanted behavior. To learn how to teach your dog the “no” command, check out this tutorial from successful dog trainer Brandon McMillan:

  1. Start on a pedestal. Just like the “down” command, you’ll want to start this command with your dog on some sort of pedestal. Attach a leash to their harness and anchor it behind him or her, preventing your dog from reaching you or the treats, which should be just outside your dog’s reach.
  2. Use the “no” command. As they reach for the treat, tell your dog “no.” Continue to say the command every time your dog reaches for the treat.
  3. Wait and release. Once your dog stops reaching for the treat, wait five to seven seconds, then reward them. Make sure to reward your dog from your hand, not from the pedestal. Say “okay” as you do. “Okay” is the release command.
  4. Add more treats and positive reinforcement. Once your dog gets the hang of it, place up to five treats out in front of them, saying “no” each time you place a treat on the pedestal. If they’re calm for five to seven seconds, pick up all five treats and reward your dog with a tasty treat from your hand.
  5. Move the treats closer. As your dog progresses, begin to place the treats within their reach.
  6. Use a verbal cue. If your dog goes for the treats, attempt to stop them with the voice command (don’t rely on the anchor leash). You can also use a hand signal by tapping your fingers on the pedestal as you say the command, which will break your dog’s focus on the treat.
  7. Up the ante. Continue to move treats progressively closer to your dog.
  8. Keep testing their restraint. Once your dog masters the technique on the pedestal, move them onto the ground with no restraint. Place treats around your dog and use the no command to restrain them. If your dog doesn’t respect the no command in this setting, move them back onto the pedestal and repeat the previous steps.
  9. Don’t move too fast. Give your dog as much time as he or she needs to really grasp the command.
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Want to Learn More About Training the Goodest Boy or Girl?

Your dream of having a dog who understands words like “sit,” “stay,” “down,” and—crucially—”no” is just a MasterClass All-Access Pass away. The only things you’ll need to train up a well-behaved pup are your laptop, a big bag of treats, and our exclusive instructional videos from superstar animal trainer Brandon McMillan.