There are not too many tangible things in life that could be considered “free.” Most of us are familiar with the phrase ”No Free Lunch” or “No Free Ride.” For Abby & Zoey, they are now living the life of NILIF.
What in the heck is NILIF you ponder…? Read on
Nothing In Life is Free (NILIF) is a program that is used to help teach dogs how to be better prepared to live in a human society. NILIF will help improve your dog’s behavior and teach him to learn to trust and accept people as his leaders.
The advantages of using NILIF are that it is a technique that all people can do; it is non-confrontational, therefore it never puts the people or dogs involved at any risk; and it helps build a dog’s confidence by providing clear rules and enjoyable outcomes for good behavior. Having your dog work for what he desires by consistently follow your commands at home, in low stress situations, makes it easier for him to follow commands when he is distracted, anxious or may be aggressive. NILIF uses only positive, reward based training to teach these valuable lessons.
Situations where NILIF is recommended:
Aggression to family members – NILIF requires that your dog works for everything he wants. This is a safe and non-confrontational way for the people in the household to establish control over the valuable resources in the house (food, toys, attention from favorite people). Whoever controls the resources is automatically the leader.
Aggression to other people or dogs – NILIF helps establish that you are the leader by requiring your dog to always be prepared to follow your commands to get something he wants.
Fearful dogs – NILIF makes your dog’s life more predictable and offers him lots of chances to earn good things; this can help lower anxiety. It also teaches him to trust you as a leader, which can help build his confidence and provide a sense of security.
Pushy or rude dogs – NILIF teaches good manners. Many dogs learn how to get things they want (petting, food, playtime, treats) by being affectionate but pushy. They paw at people, jump up, whine or even bark to get attention. NILIF is like teaching a child to say “please” and “thank you”.
Don’t forget to keep with the program when you leave the house. NILIF is a 24/7 behavioral philosophy. Practicing in different settings with distractions will only help enforce the commands you want your dog to follow, and the ongoing behavior you want from him.
Well, we are now hard-core NILIFers. Before the dogs can get out of their kennels, they need to execute one or two commands (look, touch). Before they can have the privilege of tummy rubs or scratches, they need to execute more commands. Even eye contact is attention and therefore requires work to get it.
The touch command is coming in handy. When the dogs are in the other room and starting to sound like they may rumble, we can call Zo with the touch command and she comes running.
Soon their repertoire of commands will increase, but for now we are working with the touch and look, in addition to sit. This is all supposed to make them realize that their every livelihood is dependent on us.
Time will tell, but so far so good…