NILIF--No instructions? - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 10:45 AM Thread Starter
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NILIF--No instructions?

NILIF seems to be widely recommended and used by members of this forum and a lot of dog owners in general. However, is it just me or does there seem to be little information available on this method of training? I've read all of the NILIF articles mentioned on this forum in previous threads. I've googled NILIF and read several articles. Most articles seem to say the same thing. I can't find anything more informative than this article:
Nothing in Life is Free

The problem is, all of these articles explain the theory behind NILIF and explain the desired outcome (your dog "sits/downs/rolls over/shakes" before getting any attention, or going for a walk, or getting a treat, etc.), but none seem to explain the actual "how to's" of the training. Much less do they explain what to do when your dog doesn't do what is desired. For example, the above article explains when you take your dog for a car ride, open the car door and make him sit (or any other cue) before getting in the car. Do the same when getting out of the car -- open the car door and make him wait for your command to get out of the car. However, it gives no recommendations or instructions as to what to do if you open the car door and the dog just jumps out or jumps in without your command.

Another thing: NILIF seems to be based on attention giving and getting. Our Duke really doesn't exhibit attention-seeking behaviors. The things we're trying to work with him on are (1) resource guarding, (2) sniffing of countertops, tabletops, and transhcans, (3) over-excitement with treats, (4) sniffing and nosing us if we sit down with food in the living room. Does NILIF even apply to these? Perhaps I'm wrong in not considering these "attention-seeking" behaviors.

I like the idea of NILIF, but I just don't quite get the "how to's."

~ Holly ~
Duke's Mom

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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 10:56 AM
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What I would do if the dog doesn't comply? Start over. If he jumps in the car without sitting first and waiting for the Ok, say "uh-uh" or "oops" or "no" (whatever you use to let him know he didn't do it right, take him out of the car. Close the car door and start again. If he gets it wrong multiple times, go back in the house, ignore him for a bit and start over. This obviously can only be done when you don't have to be somewhere. Apply the same logic to other areas.

If my dogs are being really pushy at the door to go for a walk. I put their leashes down and go sit on the couch until they calm down.

NILIF is a leadership program, a lifestyle. The point of it (more or less) is establish your leadership role in a fair and consistent manner so that the dog learns to defer to you for everything. Using NILIF for everything teaches the dog to look to you for permission before doing anything and reminds them that you control all that is good.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 10:58 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HobNob View Post
NILIF seems to be widely recommended and used by members of this forum and a lot of dog owners in general. However, is it just me or does there seem to be little information available on this method of training? I've read all of the NILIF articles mentioned on this forum in previous threads. I've googled NILIF and read several articles. Most articles seem to say the same thing. I can't find anything more informative than this article:
Nothing in Life is Free

The problem is, all of these articles explain the theory behind NILIF and explain the desired outcome (your dog "sits/downs/rolls over/shakes" before getting any attention, or going for a walk, or getting a treat, etc.), but none seem to explain the actual "how to's" of the training. Much less do they explain what to do when your dog doesn't do what is desired. For example, the above article explains when you take your dog for a car ride, open the car door and make him sit (or any other cue) before getting in the car. Do the same when getting out of the car -- open the car door and make him wait for your command to get out of the car. However, it gives no recommendations or instructions as to what to do if you open the car door and the dog just jumps out or jumps in without your command.

Another thing: NILIF seems to be based on attention giving and getting. Our Duke really doesn't exhibit attention-seeking behaviors. The things we're trying to work with him on are (1) resource guarding, (2) sniffing of countertops, tabletops, and transhcans, (3) over-excitement with treats, (4) sniffing and nosing us if we sit down with food in the living room. Does NILIF even apply to these? Perhaps I'm wrong in not considering these "attention-seeking" behaviors.

I like the idea of NILIF, but I just don't quite get the "how to's."
Your dog should know some basic commands and it will help a lot, I think you aren't finding a lot on it other than what you found because it is that simple......

Say you want to take your dog for a walk, he sits, then you leash up, he sits then you open the door, before you put him or her in the car make him sit, open the door then give him the command to get in the car or pick him up if need be and put him in.etc etc

If your dog is "nosing" you when you sit down in the living room as you are eating, place the dog in a down, eat your food then treat him when your done, it is easy but the dog needs to know the basics or it will at least make it easier.

Last edited by Denali Girl; 01-17-2011 at 11:00 AM.
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 11:30 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by gsdraven View Post
What I would do if the dog doesn't comply? Start over. If he jumps in the car without sitting first and waiting for the Ok, say "uh-uh" or "oops" or "no" (whatever you use to let him know he didn't do it right, take him out of the car. Close the car door and start again. If he gets it wrong multiple times, go back in the house, ignore him for a bit and start over. This obviously can only be done when you don't have to be somewhere. Apply the same logic to other areas.
Thank you. We will start doing this.

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Originally Posted by Denali Girl View Post
Your dog should know some basic commands and it will help a lot, I think you aren't finding a lot on it other than what you found because it is that simple......

Say you want to take your dog for a walk, he sits, then you leash up, he sits then you open the door, before you put him or her in the car make him sit, open the door then give him the command to get in the car or pick him up if need be and put him in.etc etc

If your dog is "nosing" you when you sit down in the living room as you are eating, place the dog in a down, eat your food then treat him when your done, it is easy but the dog needs to know the basics or it will at least make it easier.
Duke will sit on command (he has a harder time with this when we're outside though), shake on command, and most of the time will lay down on command. For "down" we have not gotten to the point where we can just say "down" and he downs. We still have to lower our hand to the ground and sometimes pat the floor for him to down.

He has gotten pretty good about sitting before we even tell him to when we put his leash on. Same thing for when we take it off. He will sit to go outside...though he doesn't wait for an "OK" command to walk out. I guess we need to start working on that.

When we are in the kitchen working with food or eating, we place him on his "spot" and he willingly lays down. He will stay for several minutes. Sometimes he gets up and walks slowly into the kitchen so we have to remind him and take him back to his spot. Several times, though, he has laid on his spot for 10-15 minutes at a time without getting up.

Does it sound like we are doing some of this NILIF stuff right? And maybe we just need to tweak some things such as repeating the exercise if he does something without our command and ignoring him if he tries to push something?

~ Holly ~
Duke's Mom

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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 11:40 AM
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It sounds to me like you are on the right track. Be persistent and consistent and he will get it. I think NILIF works for even non-attention seeking dogs because ultimately they get something they desire - whether that is getting in the car or outside or getting a treat etc. As far as things as getting into and out of the car without waiting - put a leash on him or hold his collar and simply don't allow him to do so without waiting. What sorts of things is he resource guarding?
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 11:41 AM
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When we are in the kitchen working with food or eating, we place him on his "spot" and he willingly lays down. He will stay for several minutes. Sometimes he gets up and walks slowly into the kitchen so we have to remind him and take him back to his spot. Several times, though, he has laid on his spot for 10-15 minutes at a time without getting up.
I would intermittenly treat him while he is laying there until you are sure he understands not to get up and has built up the amount of time he will lay there. A lot of people use "good" to let them know they are doing something right and then use a release word (can actually be the word release) to let the dog know they no longer need to be complying with the command.

So for the down while you are eating for example, tell him down and when he does say "good down" and treat to let him know that he did what you wanted. Every now and then treat and say good when he stays in the down. When he can get up say "release". You may need to physically get him up until he knows that release means he can move again.

If this seems to basic I apologize. Remember to constantly give positive feedback when he is doing things right and a gentle verbal correction when he is not doing it right and try again. I think a lot of us forget to tell our dogs when they are doing it right (it's human nature) but it could mean a world of difference to the dog.

It sounds like you have it down pretty good. Just remember that you can apply it to so many things. Making him sit before going up and down the stairs and even making him wait at the top or bottom before being released to use the stairs. That helps alot with not being tripped if your hands are full. Just one example.

I forget how old Duke is but don't forget to work on his basic (sit, down, paw, come) commands in a lot of different environments and with varying levels of distractions. This helps to make sure he really knows what it means since he seems to have trouble listening outside.
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 11:43 AM
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How old is your dog? If he's still pretty young you might be expecting too much out of him. It sounds like you are doing everything right, and the fact that he gets up from his place after a few minutes doesn't strike me as a huge deal as long as you can direct him back to his place. He is still learning.

Leah
Niko: American Showline GSD 5 years old
Rosa: American Muppet Dog (GSD/Border Collie mix) 5 years old
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 11:44 AM
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I think your doing a great job for sure! You can tweek away, it's your dog lol. For me, I like to make sure the command is carried out until I say it's ok to either move or get up. It's not a power trip by no means and it will help the dog find structure.

I like the fact that you will keep putting the dog in his "spot", that's a good thing and it will take some time, practice makes perfect.

You can use this theory for everything your dog wants to do and it will become a habit for everyone in the house sooner or later as long as everyone is on board with it, in short, make the dog do something or work for whatever it wants to do, good luck, Jeff
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 11:44 AM
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I'm a baaaaad dog owner. For my dog MTILAF; most things in life are free. She is well-behaved and learns quickly the few things I require.
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 01-17-2011, 11:47 AM
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I'm a baaaaad dog owner. For my dog MTILAF; most things in life are free. She is well-behaved and learns quickly the few things I require.
I don't think there's anything wrong with MTILAF as long as your dog is well behaved but for dogs that are struggling in some areas, NILIF is a great, fair way to assert your leadership.

Not every dog needs to be on NILIF but it certainly doesn't hurt anyone and helps many that need it.
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