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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. :confused:

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

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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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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. :confused:

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.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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.

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?
 

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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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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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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.
 

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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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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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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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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.

Great Advice!

another example of building up as you go is Frank started with just sitting while I removed his leash, now at 8 months he must waite till I take my coat off and walk into the next room before he gets his release command.
All my dogs know that the words "all done" in a nice excited voice means You did it! Good job! you're free to do what you want.
NILIF is in constant 24/7 use around here on top of our regular training sessions, I also never give a command unless I intend to follow it through.
 

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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.
Absolutely. It's especially easy to forget to acknowledge when they're behaving and doing things right when so often they're NOT, and you're constantly frustrated with the dog. But it's really important to reinforce good behavior - make that work for them to get what they want.

If I wanted my dogs to lay down nearby while I was cooking or eating (do you have a special mat to use as his "spot"?) I would praise often, and either walk over and drop a treat between his paws from time to time, or toss them if you can aim it well enough that he doesn't have to break his stay to get it. Start small, with shorter duration, reward often, and then release him off. Work up to being able to stay long enough for you to eat a meal. If you have trouble with him getting up and wandering off, leave a leash on him draped along the floor towards you so you can quickly step on it. And take a step back in training to where he could succeed and continue to work at that level before increasing difficulty again.
 

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Good advice above.

I think that the reason that you aren't finding ways to "train" it is because it's not really a "training method" per say in the sense that there is "positive training", "clicker training", "alpha method", "compulsion training", etc. It is more a lifestyle to adhere to with your dog. It doesn't really matter if you are getting your dog to sit, down, stand, or roll over before he goes through the door. It's just that you're making him do what is expected of him before he gets the "reward" of doing so. Nor does it matter how you are training him to do what you want--just that it's done.

All the things you listed are classic examples of how NILIF can help:
(1) resource guarding -- this one can be tricky as certain things can make it worse...but esentially by NOT resource guarding an object, something better will come out of it.
(2) sniffing of countertops, tabletops, and transhcans -- a correction and something like a down when in the kitchen or by the table will help
(3) over-excitement with treats -- he doesn't get treats/gets ignored until he has mentally reached an acceptable level when getting food
(4) sniffing and nosing us if we sit down with food in the living room -- has to lay on a "target" (ie something like a bed) until you are done eating...then can come get affection or a treat
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks everyone for the encouragement and advice! Forgot to mention...Duke is 5 years old (he's a rescue) and has been in our house for 8 full days. I've been known to be impatient and expect results too soon. :eek:

I'm glad to know we are on the right track. I think the NILIF approach is making more sense. I will talk to my husband today about us working more on a release command. "OK" comes naturally to me...would that be fine to use?

His "spot" isn't marked by anything like a mat or a bed. There is a walkway from our living room into the kitchen. The living room is carpeted and the kitchen is tile. I think Duke sort of picked the spot himself by laying there a few times and we decided it was a good place for him to still be able to see us in the kitchen but not be "in our business". It is about a 4 foot space right where the carpet meets the tile. Should we still put something there to mark the spot or do you think this suffices?
 

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I will talk to my husband today about us working more on a release command. "OK" comes naturally to me...would that be fine to use?
Some people don't to use "OK" because it is so natural and comes up regularly in every day conversation. So you may accidentally release him when talking to someone else or he could start to tune out the word because he hears it so often.
 

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"Okay" as a release word can be tricky. That's what we use, and one time my husband was getting ready to unclip Niko from his harness in the back of the truck so he could jump out and he said "Okay" kind of under his breath to himself (no idea why) and Niko jumped out while he was still clipped in! An 80 lb dog dangling and freaking out is a very bad thing.

If Duke already knows his place is a certain spot, then I don't see why you need to put something there. People use a mat or pillow when training that behavior, so the dog knows where you want him to be. It's kind of handy to use a mat because if you go to someone else's house (or anywhere) and you need Duke to settle down, you can bring the mat and then he has a portable place to settle, and he knows the behavior you are asking of him.
 

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Hm...ok, so we will discuss using another word as his release that is comfortable but not so common. For some reason "release" just doesn't feel very natural to us. We'll see what we can come up with.

I hadn't thought about the portability of the "spot." That is a really good thought. Perhaps we will get an easily rollable mat and only get it out when we want him on his "spot." His spot is not in a place where I would want to have any kind of decorative mat or permanent mat, so it may just have to be something we put down when we want him there and put up when he is free to roam. I'd love to have something he knows to lay down on when we travel with him.

Man, what would I do without this place and you people?! :D
 

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I hadn't thought about the portability of the "spot."
Yes, good for you for figuring out why it's advantageous to use a mat for place training! :thumbup: Totally portable, so he learns his spot isn't just over there somewhere, it's wherever you put the mat. You can use a cheap bath mat if you like, it doesn't have to be anything fancy. I do put mine away unless I'm using it. Here are the mats I use, I got them at a pet supply store for around $30 or $35:



BTW, it only took me about 10 minutes to teach her (Halo) at 5 months old to run to that mat that she'd never seen before, spin around, and do an automatic "down" on it using a clicker and treats. That picture is from the second day of training mat work, I practiced in a different room of the house every day. She actually got so attached to that thing that I sometimes had a hard time releasing her off it. She knew good things happened on that mat, lol!

I do use "okay", and have since 1986. I know all the reasons why it's not a good idea, but even if I decided to change it my hubby would still be saying okay, so I never bothered. I've found that my dogs seem to get the context, and know when I'm talking to them vs just talking around them, so I've never had a problem with them accidentally releasing. I have heard of other people who've had a problem with that though. Other than "release" there's "free" or "break" as options, or really anything you want to use. As long as everyone in the house is consistent it doesn't matter what words you use.
 

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We will probably get a cheap mat this week or weekend to use for his "spot." I'm sure it will only help. We haven't gotten to the point where we can point and say "Go to your spot" and he will go. Gosh I hope we can get there! He gets up from his spot and comes into the kitchen while he's supposed to be staying there...so we're trying to treat him intermittently throughout the time he's supposed to stay.

As far as the "release" command, we have started using "let's go!" I think it will work. He's slowly picking it up.
 

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You can use the word free for the release word. Free isn't used that often and 'lets go' seems to be a common phrase around my house!
 
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