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Thread: NILF - discussion

  1. #1
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    Default NILF - discussion

    This blog post drew my attention today: Is NILIF Nasty? | Dog Star Daily

    I've just posted the link so you can also read the comments. Could make for some interesting discussions! I am not enough of an expert nor have I thought it through enough to have a strong opinion at this stage. So over to you guys...

  2. #2
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    Interesting...i only use it for short periods, usually when we first get the new Rescues or if dogs are difficult and very untrained. I have some friends who use it always, but they are very much into Obedience, they train every day a few times a day and have really good trial dogs. I am much more into just social obedience, not so much strict Obedience. They are heavily into prey drive training and such. I prefer to train calmness and behave in every environment training. I like my dogs to be friendly to everyone and get on well with all other dogs onlead...totally different expectations, therefore different training methods

    I just like to reward for good behaviour and still have a normal feeding time for my dogs
    Pets are forever

  3. #3
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    I like the principle behind it - that everything wonderful in the world comes from You.
    I think it is a handy thing to keep in the back of your mind, and enforce strictly if you
    find control slipping away (we had some issues here with foster dogs).
    Going back and re-reading the NILIF helped me to sort it.

  4. #4
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    Having sighthounds it's not something that I need to use, but I do incorporate it in some of my training, I'd term it STILANF - Some Things In Life Are Not Free - the things that are important to me.

    I've seen some dog trainers/competitors use it to quite an extent, normally on their highly intelligent and highly driven dog that thrives on it.

  5. #5
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    I like that term that MAC used. I would find it exhausting to use NILIF 24/7.

    I don't see what's wrong with it though, i mean growing up as a child that's exactly how i was raised. You want that? then you work for it. Not saying that a dog and a child are in the same boat, just saying that if you can use it on your kids, surely it's not nasty to use on your dog.

  6. #6
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    I don't think we should entirely confuse NILIF with the premack principle. As a kid - I got the basics without having to do much for them, but if I wanted something extra like a lift to school or a bike (hmm those are related), I'd have to find a way to "earn" it.

    NILIF is where the dog gets nothing except maybe a clean kennel and run and food and water and that's it. In some cases, not the food or water either. They have to earn that too. And with that comes responsibility to make sure the dog gets sufficient exercise, and training to not go crazy like a zoo animal in a cage too small.

    You really don't want to take it to zoo crazy...

    I'm with MAC, I use it occasionally. I have been making evil hound work for all the dry portion of her dinner, because she was pestering me so much for attention. I thought - well you work for it... and at least that would wear her mind out a bit trying to figure out what she needs to do to get the food... And then she'd sleep and I could come and surf here.

    And she spends a bit of time in the crate at competition, hockey or agility, and she's always a bit more focussed on me for the first 5 minutes out, and then it's oooh possuumm... ooh treat lady..... argh.

    The main thing I use Premack for is to remind her not to take anything (especially me) for granted.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hyacinth View Post
    I don't think we should entirely confuse NILIF with the premack principle. As a kid - I got the basics without having to do much for them, but if I wanted something extra like a lift to school or a bike (hmm those are related), I'd have to find a way to "earn" it.

    NILIF is where the dog gets nothing except maybe a clean kennel and run and food and water and that's it. In some cases, not the food or water either. They have to earn that too. And with that comes responsibility to make sure the dog gets sufficient exercise, and training to not go crazy like a zoo animal in a cage too small.

    You really don't want to take it to zoo crazy...

    I'm with MAC, I use it occasionally. I have been making evil hound work for all the dry portion of her dinner, because she was pestering me so much for attention. I thought - well you work for it... and at least that would wear her mind out a bit trying to figure out what she needs to do to get the food... And then she'd sleep and I could come and surf here.

    And she spends a bit of time in the crate at competition, hockey or agility, and she's always a bit more focussed on me for the first 5 minutes out, and then it's oooh possuumm... ooh treat lady..... argh.

    The main thing I use Premack for is to remind her not to take anything (especially me) for granted.
    I don't know much on the subject and therefore didn't realize that they don't even get water for nothing! - probably should have clicked with the 'NOTHING' part of NILIF.

    I think that something such as 'water' should be available at all times - so yes i think it's nasty. MAC's rephrasing is much better.

  8. #8
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    That's exactly what the article appears to be about, Hya. That often people say they implement it when they just mean they are using the premack principle and using life rewards for desired behaviours.

    And that strict implementation of NILF - not allowing the dog to do any self-rewarding in any way - does put an enormous responsibility on the owner to ensure that all their needs are met. He also calls it lazy training - not because it is not much work because it is way more involved than most training methods - but because it is so easy to get the dog to do what you want them to when they basically have nothing else in life going for them. Their trainer/owner is their only source of satisfaction. So it is a highly successful training method, but way too dangerous to let someone without the appropriate level of understanding and knowledge use it.

    I had a chuckle at the quote: "Others believe it’s effective because it creates a canine Stockholm syndrome that treats the dog as a prisoner."

    I had a trainer from one of those Bark Buster type companies try to get me to implement NILF with my dog years ago. Or at least I think that is what he was trying to do anyway. But my dog was way more well behaved than his usual clients I suspect - I really only needed some help with recall with high distractions. He told me: "Normally we tell people that they are only allowed to pat their dogs when they are lying down calmly at home. But because your dog is already so calm and well behaved, you will only be allowed to give her attention as a reward for coming when called when you go out for a walk". And he also instructed me to make her sit down for her dinner while I acted like I was eating out of her bowl and to put the bowl away if she got up before I put it down (my dog was NEVER impatient around food and could've happily sat there all day waiting for her bowl). And that was it!!! So totally stripped of any context and no explanation of the idea behind it. And definitely no regard for my responsibility to meet my dog's needs, in my opinion. I did try it for a week and felt so cruel because following his instructions allowed for so little interaction with the dog and I did not have the understanding of what was involved to be creative with it. So I quit and went back to my old, less than perfect training methods, but at least my dog and I were a lot happier that way. (Her recall did improve that week, but I doubt it would've lasted if I had persisted that way anyway)

    So I think it can be a dangerous tool indeed if someone who doesn't understand it at all tries to use it.

  9. #9
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    NILF.
    When i got my working GSD. I started schutzhund training him. This is using drugs within the neurotransmitters in the brain to train your dog. The dog is habituated to adrenalin release for satisfaction, not drive satisfaction. NILF is teeny tiny part of that training. Literally, say 1%. With 99% other strategies used.

    I have read a LOT about NILF, Training in drive, TOT etc. I have NEVER read that you prevent the dog from having free access to water Hyacinth, never. Food is certainly used in TOT and for high drive dogs, using food reward is a less intense drive, and one that is easier to work your dog in than say - prey drive. As they can hit peak drive too easily, and in early days, you have little control, whereas food drive its is easier to remain in drive activation phase and train. Shame mine doesn't have food drive!

    With problem rescued rotties, i have used NILF with good success. But that is not all i have used. And i cant think of any training method that uses NILF only. Its an augmented tool for using WITH other methods. Such as clicker, schutzhund etc.
    Dont know about others, but generally NILF is used temporarily, not always. For pet dogs.

    The above is about pet dogs.

    Below is for working dogs.
    NILF is utilised in police working dogs. Along with the dog gets all its needs addressed by the trainer/handler. This dogs life is NOT a pet. It is a machine, a very well trained machine. It is kept in a kennel, released by handler very frequently, to work. You use crate to contain dog, for about an hour before training. You dont feed it before training. You do this to work your dog up, its eager to see the handler, looks to the handler for satisfaction. Toys are kept away and given as the reward, they are your toys, not the dogs. You think this is cruel, so was living in sectarianism in 70's and 80's in uk, and the bomb squad dogs are there to save lives, not visit dogs parks, or play with other dogs. It is employed 24/7.

    I know of no member on this site that has a working dog for police. This is not a pet, this is a tool for scenting drugs, tracking, bomb disposal etc. In this scenario, permanent NILF is fine with me. In fact, id say this is the status quo. It is not referred to as NILF. It is part of a evidence based training program, that is at a level of neurochemistry of the dogs brain. Not your average pet new pup to train.

    Thats my tuppence worth. A thumbs up for temp use of NILF for pet owners.

  10. #10
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    Police working dogs aren't completely kept locked up in a kennel and only let out to work. The dogs are actually taken home and treated as part of the family BUT you are correct, they are highly trained but they know the difference when it's home time & when it is work time.

    I watch K9 cops quite often (i hope to become one in the future & have currently sat my JEP exams and have passed, i am awaiting my application to be processed) and they show you what happens when the dog finishes work - they show footage of them at home playing fetch!

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