NILIF “Nothing in Life is Free” Training for Dogs

This method is best used if you start out with a puppy. But most people do not get a dog as a puppy. It is harder to work with an adult dog on the program, but it is still possible to get perfect results with a little persistence. This is the most humane way to train your dog. It does not involve hitting or any inhumane behavior toward your dog. It is exactly what it sounds like, nothing in life is free.

This is a very handy training tool for larger dogs. When you purchase or adopt a large dog, you might be told by the breeder that you should gain dominance over your dog. However, dominance really isn’t the word that should be used. It is more about them recognizing you as the “alpha-dog” and showing them that you are the parent and they don’t control you. This is best done gradually and over time.

Commands that you should start with:


These commands are simple to follow with a little practice and they help establish a sense of order and lack of chaos in your home. Before you begin, you may want to take into consideration that things may get a little worse before they get better. For instance, if you answer your child every time they say mom, they are going to expect it. If you quit answering one day, they will repeat, get louder and start waving their hand in your face. Eventually they will give up and walk away. The same with your pet, they are going to try harder to establish that dominance once the rug is pulled out from under them.

Here is an example:

Your pup is playing with something they should not have. You tell him no and try to take the object. The pup growls and pulls back. What you should do is say “NO” in a deep growling voice and gently roll your pup onto his back. Rolling him on his back shows him that he is not top dog and that he was out of line. It also lets him know that just because you control the situation does not mean that you are going to hurt him and that you are showing him mercy.

If you use a high-pitched voice it shows that you are weak and submissive and that you do not have authority. It has the same effect as begging your child not to set the house on fire.

A common problem with dominant dogs is that they bark, growl or threaten people or other animals. Typically, by the time they are doing this, they are larger and harder to contain, control or handle. Many owners turn to sending their animal to the shelter and having them deemed vicious animals. However, even this type of behavior can be broken and your dog can return to the loving, caring animal that you once knew and did not fear.

If you have a larger dog, the alpha dog roll probably won’t work. However, there are other methods that you can use to show them that you are still in control of the situation. Here are the steps to regaining your home from a loving dog that has become aggressive.

-Do not put yourself or your dog in a situation that can cause an aggressive situation. You must first gain his cooperation

-Ignore the dog completely, other than basic needs. Dogs crave attention and affection, refusing this will let him know that he is in the wrong. Isolate him in a crate for a few weeks providing only the essentials, food, water, access to use the restroom on a normal schedule.

-After a few weeks, spend five minutes with your dog two to three times per day. Practice sits and downs for food. You will want to build speed in his response. Using food or treats that he prefers will help make this go a lot faster. Reward him/her for good behavior when you are in these sessions. Only make physical contact with your dog when he/she responds appropriately to a command.

-When you get your dog to respond immediately to the commands you are giving move onto the next step. Until you get immediate response, stay at this step.

-Now it is time to dive into the actual nothing in life is free part. Since the most submissive position for a dog is “down” start with this command. In order to get food, your dog must now do something for you. Command them “down” before giving them food. Pretty soon, when the dog sees food, it will automatically assume the down position. Showing you that it knows what it must do for you to get something from you.

-Make sure you have your dog earn everything. Food, play, water, treats, potty time, petting, and cuddling. They will then see that when you tell them “down” that they are about to get something that they want.

-When your dog tries to start playing with you, ignore them. Do not give into the urge to play until they stop. When the dog gives up, you initiate play. In the wild, only the alpha dog determines when the pack plays and when the pack doesn’t play.

-Refuse to be confrontational with your dog. If your dog growls at you, simply walk away. This is a non-confrontational training exercise.

-If you get through the steps and your dog begins to slip, back up a step or two to accommodate this change.

-The just of the training is that in order to get something from you, they have to do something for you first.

***Do not allow children to be part of the initial training with a dog that has not been removed from its dominant pedestal. Until your dog shows you that it is submissive and that you are dominant, your children should not be involved.

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