World Renown Animal Behaviorist And
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Training - Gaining and Maintaining
Control of your dog or puppy Your dog learns 'Nothing in
Life is Free' (aka NILIF)
Dominance rolls, alpha rolls, harsh corrections in order to gain control
of your dog and
show him "who calls the shots" are a thing of the past. Instead of force,
humans can use
ignoring certain behaviors and having the dog work for privileges to teach
the dog that
humans are in charge.
not a substitution for behavioral work and should only be used on dogs in
health and of stable temperament with no major behavioral issues. If you
questions regarding your dog's behavior, seek professional advice before
NILIF program. But for the average dog, this program is valuable.
Do you get frustrated when
your dog jumps on you?
Do you do things like leave food down all day for your dog? Give in and
play when he
jumps on you and the get frustrated when he jumps on you just before you
go out for
dinner? Do you allow your dog to get away with undesired manners like
attention or acting up when it is time to go for walks? Does your dog run
you? Not good. It is time to get serious and begin NILIF'ing.
Behaviors Learned from
Many undesired behaviors are learned out of demanding attention. For
jumps on you, you pat him, dog is more likely to jump for attention the
next time he
wants it from you. Other dogs may poke, bark in your face, etc. The key is
the dog is in
control of the situation when he gets the attention he demands. Not good.
He is also
developing undesired behaviors, not because he is bad, but because you are
them. It is time to stop this. Since the dog is doing this for attention,
you are going to
deny him that attention. Walk away. Totally ignore the dog. You can give
him as much
attention as you want as long as it is by your rules and not his. Now,
encourage your dog
to come to you and sit. If all four feet remain on the floor, he can get
attention. If he
starts that undesired barking or jumping or mouthing, walk away. Be
consistent and be
fair. Maintain your composure and level of being in charge. Dogs that are
about who is in control are more likely to act out.
Hold your ground, don't give in
When first beginning a NILIF program the dog may get a bit confused. "Hey,
worked in the past!" Chances are he will now try in earnest to get your
attention. He will
burst, explode and the behavior will get worse – or as I call it – The
Storm Before the
Calm. Hold your ground and do not give in. Giving in at any time is going
the undesired behavior to continue. "See, I finally broke you down!"
Compare it to children throwing a
it as a toddler throwing tantrums and always getting what he wants. First
child sees something he wants and starts to fuss, mom gives in. She has
just started the
cycle of "If I fuss, I will get it." Next time mom ignored the fussing,
the child escalates a
bit. Mom gives in and child realizes "Gee, I got her to break down." The
next time, the
child will work even harder to get mom to give in if she does not crack
more mom breaks down, the more the child will throw that tantrum. If mom
puts her foot
down and ignores the tantrum, the child will escalate it trying to get his
own way again.
She may have to endure hours of screaming, kicking feet, tears, wailing,
even the child gagging and possibly even vomiting as he works up that
Eventually, the child will stop. The tantrum just does not work any more.
even pushing the child away is not what he is looking for, but it is
something and a sign
that mom is breaking. You need to totally turn off to the tantrum and
endure it. As long
as a child is not hurting himself, others, or breaking things, tantrums
can often be allowed
to run their course with children.
Dogs want attention - Negative or
is very similar with dogs. For some dogs, attention is attention - be it
positive or negative. Use the denial of any attention instead. Endure the
extinction period and things will improve if everyone in the house is
consistent. Again, you can give all the attention you want to the dog as
long as it is by YOUR RULES and not his!
have the power
You as the human have the power, but you are also empowering the dog to
Again, do you just give in to your dog? Does he get food and play for free
there is no "currency" he has to pay with to get it? Change that. You have
you are in control - not
Puppy do what is expected or it is
things like making him "work" or "pay" for things can help
is in charge. Insist the dog sits before he gets to eat. If he sits
automatically, regain control by having him down. If he takes a few bites
and walks away, dinner is over until the next meal (feed your dog two
meals a day). You control the food. He does not decide when mealtimes are
- you do. Does your dog get up on your bed or furniture when he feels like
it? Change. He has to now wait until he is given a
command to come up. Before play and during play, stop the dog and have him
work, teach him
tricks like "Shake" "Play Dead" "Take a Bow." If he does this, he can
continue to play with you. If not, the game is over.
The dog is given power if he does as
you ask. The balance of power has shifted.
is given power in his own right. If he does what you ask, he gets what he
wants. He is in control to an extent. But you are determining the outcome
and what has to be done in order for that to occur. Sort of like a
pay check. You do what you are supposed to and when you are supposed to,
your pay continues, your job continues. Failure to do this and your job
may very well end as does that pay check! With your dog no longer in
charge of the house, you will have to make more of an effort to engage in
play and socialize. But it is worth it. NILIF does not mean denial of
attention or play, it just means that the balance of power has shifted and
the human is back in