Author Topic: Alternative to NILF  (Read 1611 times)

Christina

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Alternative to NILF
« on: November 28, 2012, 03:42:57 PM »
I'm reading a book by Kathy Sdao, it's called Plenty in Life is Free.  She gives an alternative to nothing in life is free and gives some reasons why it may not be the best training method. 

I've used NILF with my dogs, but I'm going to give this a shot, her reasoning makes sense.  If your dog is doing a bad behavior, and you tell him to "sit", or whatever the command may be for a treat, it's creating a chain of events leading to the treating, beginning with the bad one.  Also, where to draw the line with the nothing part, some people have taken it to the extreme. 

Here's a link to the book on Amazon, it's been a good read. 
http://www.amazon.com/Plenty-Life-Is-Free-Reflections/dp/1617810649/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1354135052&sr=8-1&keywords=plenty+in+life+is+free
Christina
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Rubidawg

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Re: Alternative to NILF
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2012, 04:16:27 PM »
I do believe there is a happy medium. I don't make my dogs do a "behavior" before getting on the bed or the couch. They don't always have to sit when they need/want to go out the door. And I don't always enforce the "sit behind the line" when making their dinner, etc. I do think it is important to know when those behaviors are warranted and they need to know that when I say/expect it, that they do it. I think that alot of people do take it to the extreme. Even down to not allowing the dogs to hang with the family, being crated, or not even allowed to play with toys - unless "you say so." That's ridiculous, IMO. Dogs are not robots and we shouldn't expect them to be. I do find that I have 3 opportunities to get a correct behavior and based on those, I adjust my needs, knowing what my dogs are capable of doing.

1) Restraint: They are so excited that treats, human interaction, etc., will not work. This is usually when they "lose their minds" and usually result in them being on leash or in their crates,  or held by their collars, typically away from the situation until I say it's ok.
2) Reward: They are excited, but not so much that they don't know I have a treat with me. They will do anything I want at this opportunity.
3) Human Interaction: Just my voice is enough to get their attention back and they are willing to adjust their behaviors.

I've found that in knowing what they are able to do, and what I am able/have to do, then we create a structure that they understand. In each case, they do not get a free-for-all and even in "restraint" they eventually get releas3ed to a calmer behavior. Bauer demonstrated it very nicely this week with the family in town. Even though he spent very little time in his crate, he knew what I wanted of him and would look to me for either a correction or reassurance. It works. Not everything in life is free, but some things you get just for being "cute." ;) lol

However, I will say that I don't think all dog-owners/trainers are able to understand that concept. I know too many people who go from one extreme to the other and don't understand the idea of balance. So usually, recommending NILF to the general public is easiest as it helps get them to understand how the dog's mind works. Behavior = Reward = Behavior.

I may get this book. Seems interesting. Thanks for sharing.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2012, 04:19:18 PM by Rubidawg »
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BoxerWB

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Re: Alternative to NILF
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2012, 05:36:45 PM »
I know for some people that I recommend NILF to, it is because they have a lack of structure and rules in their homes.  I haven't ever recommended or practiced the strict version of NILF... more like "The things you're being bratty about aren't free".   If I have a dog that is acting food possessive (with me, dog-to-dog is another story), I will practice a lot of taking/giving, leaving it, etc and treats and meals will have more structure to them.  For me, NILF is a simplified way to talk about balance,

That does look like an interesting book, I may have to pick it up if I ever get a chance to finish my current read "Inside of a Dog".  It has been very interesting so far, though I don't agree with all her assertions.
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Christina

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Re: Alternative to NILF
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2012, 07:28:10 PM »
In the book, she tells about one trainer who was working with a. service dog in training, he took NILF as far as the dog had to earn water.  There are definitely different degrees of NILF.

One of her recommendations is to randomly give the dog 50 treats a day for doing good things, pick things you want to encourage, like lying on the dog bed instead of the couch, greeting nicely, walking beside you. It's not things you command them to do, but good things they are doing naturally, those behaviors will then become more frequent. After a couple of weeks, once those behaviors are solid, you start treating others. 
Christina
Little Ann 2/14/96-4/6/10
Boomer 1996- 4/25/14
Lucky 4/24/04-8/27/14