No Stinkin' Leashes Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: SF Bay Area
The way I practice NILIF it's entirely force free. I never MAKE the dog do anything (not talking in general, this is specifically with regard to NILIF). Think of everything she values and all the skills that she knows. All you do is ask her to do something before she gets what she wants, every time. That can be a meal, a bully stick, bone, or other chewy, going outside, coming inside, a tug game, a ball thrown, getting in the car, getting out of the car, coming out of the crate (if you use one), everything you can think of. Cue whatever command you want to use and then wait for her to do it. If she doesn't, "oops!", turn around and walk away. Ignore her for a minute or two and try again.
I like to build strong default behaviors, mostly sit, down, and watch, and clicker training is perfect for that. Simply have your treat bag and clicker on you at all times (I can attach my clicker to the bag, and I also have a wrist strap), and every time you catch her doing something you like: click/treat. Make eye contact a requirement for EVERYTHING. Although I do like to have a "watch" command on cue, I also want them to look at me frequently without always having to ask for it, and the same with sits and downs, which is why I don't force compliance. They learn quickly that THEIR behavior affects MY behavior, and what works to "make" me give them what they want. I want it to be their idea, I want a thinking dog who is always trying to figure out what I want, not just doing what they're told.
Most of the time I don't even need to say a word anymore - holding their food bowls has become a cue for them to sit (or down) and make eye contact. Putting their bowls on the floor is a cue to remain in place until released. If they break, the bowl comes back up and I wait for the sit or down again. Walking to the door to go outside has become a cue to sit and look at me. If it's mealtime (they eat in the garage, which is also their access to the dog run for potties) and after they sit I fling the door open but just stand there, that's a cue that they are to remain in a sit because I haven't yet released them to go through it. If they break and run through the door anyway, I let it close behind them with me still in the house. I wait a few seconds then open the door and invite them back in for another try.
I like to start this with new puppies, but there's no reason not to start now, with an adult dog. She has the benefit of already knowing some OB commands, she just needs to learn the new rules. Remember that the more you reinforce something, the more the dog is going to offer it up in order to get the reward, so find ways to reinforce the behavior you want to encourage.
Keefer 8/25/05-4/24/19 ~ The sweetest boy
Halo 11/9/08-6/17/18 ~ You left pawprints on our hearts
Dena 9/12/04-10/4/08 ~ Forever would have been too short