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Nothing in Life is Free

Undesirable behavior can be caused by many things, including undetected illness. No behavior modification program should begin without first taking the dog to a veterinarian for a complete physical examination. While you're there, give your vet a printed copy of this page and ask if it would be an appropriate technique for you to try. The NILIF program is an accepted standard in dog training/behavior but it is not, and is not intended to be, a substitute for an in-person, professional evaluation of your dog's behavior. This technique is intended for dogs in good health and of sound mind and stable temperament.


The NILIF program is remarkable because it's effective for such a wide variety of problems. A shy, timid dog becomes more relaxed knowing that he has nothing to worry about, his owner is in charge of all things. A dog that's pushing too hard to become "top dog" learns that the position is not available and that his life is far more enjoyable without the title.

It is equally successful with dogs that fall anywhere between those two extremes. The program is not difficult to put into effect and it's not time consuming if the dog already knows a few basic obedience commands. I've never seen this technique fail to bring about a positive change in behavior, however, the change can be more profound in some dogs than others. Most owners use this program in conjunction with other behavior modification techniques such as coping with fear or treatment for aggression. It is a perfectly suitable technique for the dog with no major behavior problems that just needs some fine tuning.

ATTENTION ON DEMAND
The program begins by eliminating attention on demand. When your dog comes to you and nudges your hand, saying "pet me! pet me!" ignore him. Don't tell him "no", don't push him away. Simply pretend you don't notice him. This has worked for him before, so don't be surprised if he tries harder to get your attention. When he figures out that this no longer works, he'll stop. In a pack situation, the top ranking dogs can demand attention from the lower ranking ones, not the other way around. When you give your dog attention on demand you're telling him that he has more status in the pack than you do. Timid dogs become stressed by having this power and may become clingy. They're never sure when you'll be in charge so they can't relax. What if something scary happens, like a stranger coming in the house? Who will handle that? The timid dog that is demanding of attention can be on edge a lot of the time because he has more responsibility than he can handle.

Some dogs see their ability to demand attention as confirmation that they are the "alpha", then become difficult to handle when told to "sit" or "down" or some other demand is placed on them. It is not their leadership status that stresses them out, it's the lack of consistency. They may or may not actually be alpha material, but having no one in the pack that is clearly the leader is a bigger problem than having the dog assume that role full time. Dogs are happiest when the pack order is stable. Tension is created by a constant fluctuation of pack leadership.

EXTINCTION BURSTS
Your dog already knows that he can demand your attention and he knows what works to get that to happen. As of today, it no longer works, but he doesn't know that yet. We all try harder at something we know works when it stops working. If I gave you a twenty dollar bill every time you clapped your hands together, you'd clap a lot. But, if I suddenly stopped handing you money, even though you were still clapping, you'd clap more and clap louder. You might even get closer to me to make sure I was noticing that you were clapping. You might even shout at me "Hey! I'm clapping like crazy over here, where's the money?". If I didn't respond at all, in any way, you'd stop. It wasn't working anymore. That last try -- that loud, frequent clapping is an extinction burst. If, however, during that extinction burst, I gave you another twenty dollar bill you'd be right back in it. It would take a lot longer to get you to stop clapping because you just learned that if you try hard enough, it will work.

When your dog learns that the behaviors that used to get him your attention don't work any more he's going to try harder and he's going to have an extinction burst. If you give him attention during that time you will have to work that much harder to get him turned around again. Telling him "no" or pushing him away is not the kind of attention he's after, but it's still attention. Completely ignoring him will work faster and better.

YOU HAVE THE POWER
As the human and as his owner you have control of all things that are wonderful in his life. This is the backbone of the NILIF program. You control all of the resources. Playing, attention, food, walks, going in and out of the door, going for a ride in the car, going to the dog park. Anything and everything that your dog wants comes from you. If he's been getting most of these things for free there is no real reason for him to respect your leadership or your ownership of these things. Again, a timid dog is going to be stressed by this situation, a pushy dog is going to be difficult to handle. Both of them would prefer to have you in charge.

To implement the NILIF program you simply have to have your dog earn his use of your resources. He's hungry? No problem, he simply has to sit before his bowl is put down. He wants to play fetch? Great! He has to "down" before you throw the ball. Want to go for a walk or a ride? He has to sit to get his lead snapped on and has to sit while the front door is opened. He has to sit and wait while the car door is opened and listen for the word (I use "OK") that means "get into the car". When you return he has to wait for the word that means "get out of the car" even if the door is wide open. Don't be too hard on him. He's already learned that he can make all of these decisions on his own. He has a strong history of being in control of when he gets these resources. Enforce the new rules, but keep in mind that he's only doing what he's been taught to do and he's going to need some time to get the hang of it all.

You're going to have to pay attention to things that you probably haven't noticed before. If you feed your dog from your plate do you just toss him a green bean? No more. He has to earn it. You don't have to use standard obedience commands, any kind of action will do. If your dog knows "shake" or "spin around" or "speak" use those commands. Does your dog sleep on your bed? Teach him that he has to wait for you to say "OK" to get on the bed and he has to get down when you say "off". Teach him to go to his bed, or other designated spot, on command. When he goes to his spot and lays down tell him "stay" and then release him with a treat reward. Having a particular spot where he stays is very helpful for when you have guests or otherwise need him out of the way for a while. It also teaches him that free run of the house is a resource that you control. There are probably many things that your dog sees as valuable resources that I haven't mentioned here.

The NILIF program should not be a long, drawn out process. All you need to do is enforce a simple command before allowing him access to what he wants. Dinner, for example, should be a two or three second encounter that consists of nothing more than saying "sit", then "good dog!", then putting the bowl down and walking away.

ATTENTION AND PLAY
Now that your dog is no longer calling the shots you will have to make an extra effort to provide him with attention and play time. Call him to you, have him "sit" and then lavish him with as much attention as you want. Have him go get his favorite toy and play as long as you both have the energy. The difference is that now you will be the one initiating the attention and beginning the play time. He's going to depend on you now, a lot more than before, to see that he gets what he needs. What he needs most is quality time with you. This would be a good time to enroll in a group obedience class. If his basic obedience is top notch, see about joining an agility class or fly ball team.

NILIF DOES *NOT* MEAN THAT YOU HAVE TO RESTRICT THE AMOUNT OF ATTENTION YOU GIVE TO YOUR DOG. The NILIF concept speaks to who initiates the attention (you!), not the amount of attention. Go ahead and call your dog to you 100 times a day for hugs and kisses!! You can demand his attention, he can no longer demand yours!

Within a day or two your dog will see you in a whole new light and will be eager to learn more. Use this time to teach new things, such as 'roll over' or learn the specific names of different toys.

If you have a shy dog, you'll see a more relaxed dog. There is no longer any reason to worry about much of anything. He now has complete faith in you as his protector and guide. If you have a pushy dog he'll be glad that the fight for leadership is over and his new role is that of devoted and adored pet.



�1999 Deb McKean


http://www.k9deb.com/nilif.htm
 

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Great sticky.
I really try to live by that...i do give in to him when he comes over to
me for attention and looks at me with his big sad eyes and puts his head on my leg or puts his paw on me. Dam those bully eyes!! :lol:
Gonna really try to ignore him after reading that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks! It's been coming up a lot lately, and I've gotten a few PM's about it. I decided to find a good article about it. Please feel free to add to this.
 

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This is good stuff. Canine Psychology. :idea:
 

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April's fool ? :shock:

Who did come up with this ? and how did the person find out these things ?

In a pack situation, the top ranking dogs can demand attention from the lower ranking ones, not the other way around. When you give your dog attention on demand you're telling him that he has more status in the pack than you do. Timid dogs become stressed by having this power and may become clingy. They're never sure when you'll be in charge so they can't relax. What if something scary happens, like a stranger coming in the house? Who will handle that? The timid dog that is demanding of attention can be on edge a lot of the time because he has more responsibility than he can handle.

Some dogs see their ability to demand attention as confirmation that they are the "alpha", then become difficult to handle when told to "sit" or "down" or some other demand is placed on them. It is not their leadership status that stresses them out, it's the lack of consistency. They may or may not actually be alpha material, but having no one in the pack that is clearly the leader is a bigger problem than having the dog assume that role full time. Dogs are happiest when the pack order is stable. Tension is created by a constant fluctuation of pack leadership..
 

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When you give your dog attention on demand you're telling him that he has more status in the pack than you do.
I dont give Orson attention on demand because it would get annoying.
I dont want to "train" him into thinking everytime he comes to me and paws at me that i will play. I want to eat my dinner in peace! :lol:
 

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This is extremely helpful

My big guy is extremely stubborn and its obvious that he was abused a bit before I adopted him at just under 1 1/2 yrs old. (he just turned 2) I had a falling out with him a couple of months ago. Basically I was trying to protect my friends puppy chihuahua from getting mauled by my 22lb cat and as the chi was pouncing on my cat, the cat raised up his sharp claws (and he can be a dangerous feline, Otis respects him 100%) while at the same time Otis (my bully) came charging into the mix. So I kicked open my bedroom door (my hands were full) and shoved the cat and chi apart while blocking Otis from getting involved but when I kicked the door, (my intention was to get Otis in the room but I panicked a bit) Otis suddenly got threatened and locked onto my foot. THANK GOD I had a pair of timbs on (and he didnt go for my leg) cuz he bit down pretty hard to the point that my toe was sore the next day. Though I could see that he wasnt really trying to hurt me, he was threatened and defending himself but at the same time he held back on his bite. In any event after the smoke cleared I debated if I should keep him. He's a big strong guy and can do serious damage in seconds. I was worried whether or not he had a vicious side to him. (any dog that was abused could be unstable if it feels its life is threatened) I was a bit weary of him for the rest of that night but I finally called him over to me, we played got over it and I started to research dog training, temperments and such. So far everything ive researched has worked extremely well but this NILIF really puts it all together for me. Don't get me wrong OT is extremely smart and loyal, for instance his late night walk before bedtime is the only walk he gets off his leash and he listens to me so well now that I don't even have to say "wait" when he bolts towards the curb (no traffic at all) He runs towards the street and stops at the edge waiting for my ok to cross. I'm glad I gave him a second chance. One of his previous 2 owners must have hurt him in some way (his first owners daughter is disabled so perhaps a few crutches or something were tossed or swung at him) but one of them also worked on his training a bit but were probably not consistant. It just seems that the things I taught him were way too easy. In any event OT has become my shadow, very protective yet very welcoming and great with other animals. The chi is his best friend, its the cat they both have to respect. :lol:

BTW one of the obvious reasons I feel he was abused is how fearful he can be at times when you move a large object like a chair or chuck something with a little weight in the garbage. He doesnt just get startled, he runs a couple of feet away.

Meet Otis here on his mspace page http://www.myspace.com/originaltanksta
 

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BTW one of the obvious reasons I feel he was abused is how fearful he can be at times when you move a large object like a chair or chuck something with a little weight in the garbage. He doesnt just get startled, he runs a couple of feet away.
If that is only reason you think abuse, he prob. wasnt abused then.
Lots of unstable dogs react that way towards loud noises or large moving things...he's just a scaredy cat.
Orson will run from vaccum and he wont hardly go near the baby gate (cause it crashed to floor once and made loud sound). And Orson is far from abused! :lol:

As long as he recovers fast after being spooked and doesnt hide in the corner, he's ok.
 

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I was getting to know him at that time

I should have went into more detail on that, he is a sissy at times when it comes to that but he will actually growl and attack the object in a very vicious manner at times ( depending on what it is and how close he is). My main concern is him thinking i'm trying to hurt him. But I guess your right hes probably just a scaredy cat. Guess its just me, this is the first dog I ever had that I didn't raise as a pup. Who knows what he's been through. After that night I wondered why he had been moved around a bit and so I finally caught up with the last owner and I questened her. She said to me that she told me he may have been abused a little bit (she never told me that) but what I think now that I have gotten to know him so well is that she was too easy on him and he took advantage. ( you gotta be firm with this guy but not in a way that sounds threatening and never raise a hand to him. My friend learned that the hard way but thats another story) She gave in to his stubborness. She had problems with him jumping up at the table and aggresively trying to take her dinner, she couldn't get him off the couch to the point that she just let him be. She was scared of his growl when she wanted him to get down. When she walked him he dragged her everywhere. She didnt realize she adopted a dog that was way too strong for her. With that said I worked on those issues since day one and now he doesn't even beg at the table anymore. He comes to the couch and waits for me to invite him up. Next thing I wanna do is to get him over that fear of these objects. I mean what if oneday I have company and he feels threatened when someone moves a chair and he's nearby. I'm making progress though, when I walk him he stays along side me (he walked me when I first got him lol) and when entering and exiting the house he waits for me to go first. Someone had to have trained him a bit cuz this has been too easy aside from the slight problems I mentioned and the fact that if hes ignored for too long he gets destructive and rips apart anything he can get his teeth on especially when I have company. I'm glad I got him though. He's the first bully I ever had and though hes more than a handful of challenge at times its great to know he's loyal and very protective of me and my house. I lucked out finding him. I got him for free or i'd probably never have a bulldog considering theyre so expensive. See that! Some things in life are free. :lol:

I was intimidated by him at first mainly cuz he wasnt a pup when I got him, I didn't know him that well. His growl is a VERY scary sounding growl, he's a powerful dog and he knows it and I was worried about my cat but as it turns out he respects the cat as a higher rank. Amazingly he allows the cat to eat some of his dog food while he's eating it.
 

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I just printed this and plan to execute it to the fullest. I will be giving it to my wife when I get home also. Thanks!!
 

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I wish I could believe this...

Bonnie, my 2 1/2 month old EB is a VERY stubborn, VERY "play-agressive " dog.

IGNORING her completely while she's trying to Rip the pants from my legs is something that is EXTREMELY hard to do.

She's going through a very aggressive phase, and doesn't really ask to get petted, all she wants is play biting.
And, natural to Bulldogs, she's a klutz and very rough when playing.

I just don't see how I can get her to just step it down a notch as the only thing that seems to calm her down is the smell of her food or dog treats.

the only time that she actually stays calm, is when the wife and I are having our breakfast or smoking a cigarette by the kitchen window... she knows that at that time, we dont pay her no mind...

It seems sometimes though, she does things to provoque a response... like, if I walk out of the kitchen, and close the door on her, she'll cry for a little, and then, as if mad at me, will attack the water bowl or start ripping the newspapers to shreds, obviously, I think, to get me to come over to her. mad or not, thats company, right?
 

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Hi,
I have just read the article NILIF. How do I get Kaiser to release a ball after retreaving rather than having to go into a tug of war battle with him.

Lilian
 

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2 balls

Kaiser said:
Hi,
I have just read the article NILIF. How do I get Kaiser to release a ball after retreaving rather than having to go into a tug of war battle with him.

Lilian
get 2 balls exactly the same and tempt him with the second ball and when he finally drops it praise him like he just was the first dog to walk on the moon. After he gets good at that, you can work on the drop it command and leave it.
 

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I think this will be a great technique to use for my VERY stubborn 10 week English - my question is...does everyone in my house need to follow this or just me. I live with my sister...and well, to put it as nicely as possible I can't see her being quite as dedicated or caring as much as I do. It's not her dog so she doesn't seem to care quite as much.
 

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everyone should follow NILIF.. this way the dog learns he cant get away with stuff from everyone..and how is your 10 week old pup stubborn? he is a PUPPY.. he has the attention span of a GNAT, and he cant retain any training for too long as he is a baby still.... let him be a pup and enjoy him
 

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I love the NILF program but I am having a bit of trouble with my new pup (Husky, 3 months old) with biting, she will not stop biting me no matter what I do? I redirect her to her ball but this only takes her attention away from my body for 5 seconds if I am lucky lol. I have marks all over my arms and she made my Husband bleed the other night :?


Anyway here is a picture.
 
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