NILIF stands for “Nothing in Life is Free.”
This is the approach we recommend to all dog owners and when followed,it has many benefits.Your dog receives many good things from you such as food, shelter, play and affection. By teaching your dog that he must work to receive all things from you, this shows him that you are the leader. It will also keep your dog’s mind working throughout the day without having to have a formal training session.
Living with the NILIF program need not be difficult or time consuming. Simply set a small task for your dog before he receives something from you. For example, your dog bounds up to you and demands a pat by nudging you. Instead of giving him what he wants, tell him to sit. Once he sits, give him his pats. In no time, your dog will be sitting as soon as he arrives at your side, instead of jumping on you! He has learnt that to get what he wants he must perform the sit first.
Here are some other examples of how to use the NILIF program effectively:
- When letting your dog through the door, give the sit command. Your dog must stay in the sit position until released with his release command. This will strengthen your dog’s sit, stay and release word!
- When feeding your dog, have him perform a few basic obedience commands before you put the bowl down. Have your dog hold a position while the bowl is placed down. Teach your dog an “ok” command that means he can eat. If your dog tries to eat before given his ok command, lift the bowl back up until he holds his position and waits. You will find it won’t take long for your dog to learn that it is in his best interest to wait until the bowl is placed down and he is given his “ok” command. (You can choose any word for the ok command, be creative! But make sure everyone in the house uses the same word)
- Before being invited onto the furniture, have your dog lay down until invited.
Using NILIF does not mean that you have to give less affection to your dog. It simply means that you are in charge of when your dog receives it, not the dog! Keep in mind that for the program to work effectively, all members of the family must use the same rules with the dog. Consistency is the key!