Dogs always do what works best for them. Their behavior gets directed by its consequences: The law of the effect.
These are the four consequences:
- something good starts (positive reinforcement)
- something good stops (negative punishment)
- something bad starts (positive punishment)
- something bad stops (negative reinforcement)
Every consequence must be applied immediately. Dogs are experts in reading us and know what consequences will likely be applied when showing certain behavior in a given situation. Eventually the good and the bad consequences get connected with other things and have influence on the behavior.
You are allowed to say “No” to your dog. If your dog is going to show unwanted behavior, you need to avoid it. If your dog is already showing unwanted behavior, you need to be able to interrupt it.
However, prefer working with positive reinforcement and negative punishment.