NILIF (Nothing in Life is Free) is not a training program, but a system to establish pack hierarchy.  It is especially good for dogs that are on the top of the assertive list or those who lack confidence, though any dog in the middle would do well by it.  NILIF gives dogs security with rules of the pack to follow, so he knows his place and yours.

These are the rules of NILIF:

  • The leader of the pack is the one with two legs.
  • Everything good comes from the pack leader.
  • To get something good, the dog must oblige to the pack leader’s wishes – every time.
  • Pack leader is consistent and fair.

Luigi Takes A TreatOne big time good thing in a dog’s life is a food treat. Some dogs are so enthusiastic when taking treats, they inadvertently hurt the hand that’s feeding them.

Taking food gently is a behavior that must be taught early on as it will be used throughout the NILIF program, and in teaching your dog other behaviors.

  • When teaching a dog to take a treat gently, teach only that. Do not combine it with another behavior.
  • Chose a word to associate with taking the treat. Easy, gentle, nice are some examples. We’ll use Easy.

Use a treat with a strong smell about it, especially when starting out with this exercise. Smelly cheese or hot dog pieces would do nicely.

  • Put the treat in your hand.
  • Close your hand and let the dog sniff it.
  • If the dog paws, bites, or is rough with your hand, pull it away. Say “No,” as you do.
  • If your dog is so intent on your hand, get him to look you in the eye. Bring your hand to your face if need be.
  • Say “Easy,” when you make eye contact, and return your hand to him. Repeat, “Easy,” and if the dog obliges by sniffing, licking, or touching your hand nicely, say, “Easy,” and open your palm to let him have his treat and praise him.
  • If the dog lunges at your hand instead, repeat the directions above by pulling the treat away, until your dog reacts appropriately.
  • Some dogs understand quickly, others need more time. Be consistent and persistent.

Remember, many dogs will revert back to grabbing next time, so you may have to remind them time and time again to take the treat “Easy.” Enthusiastic chow hounds are a breed onto themselves and need a little more coaxing in the long run.  If you feed your dog kibble, you may also take the time to feed him piece by piece as above at supper until he understands the gist of being cooperative with each piece.  Before then, there is always the option to drop the treat on the ground, but don’t rely on that as a long-term fix.

Dogs must respect their human handlers and with a little work, he will understand and obid by the “Easy” command when taking a treat from your hand.

Comments are closed.