Dog TrainingAn Introduction to Nothing in Life is Free

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Dog TrainingAn Introduction to Nothing in Life is Free

by Lynn Reynolds

As humans, we all know there is no such thing as a free lunch. In fact, nothing in life is free. But have you ever tried to tell your dog that? Chances are, your dog is able to get what he wants, when he wants it, and he knows it. Nothing in Life is Free (NILIF) is part dog training and part behavior modification.

Dogs are pack animals. Every animal in the pack has a place in the hierarchy. At the top, of course, is the leader of the pack, or the alpha. This should be you, the human. But often, you are not. When your dog whines at you when it is supper time, do you go and feed your dog? When your dog jumps up on you for attention, do you bend down and pet your dog? If you do either of these, your dog is training you. When the dog learns that certain actions (crying or jumping) lead to certain behaviors (feeding or attention) your dog is being put in control. In the pack hierarchy, your dog is now above you.

Fortunately, your dog can unlearn this and you can reassert your dominance. It involves no yelling, no scolding, and no force but it does require you to rethink how you do things and change those habits that are reinforcing your dog?s superiority.

With Nothing in Life is Free, your dog has to work to gain the things (such as food or attention) that he wants. When you feed your dog, have him sit before putting down his food bowl. When he walks away, remove the feeding bowl until the next feeding time. Do not free feed your dogs, but instead feed them twice a day. Having them sit before meal times tells them that you?not they?control the food.

If your dog jumps on you for attention, ignore your dog. Petting her or yelling at her rewards her for jumping by giving her the attention she is looking for. Instead, pet her when she is being good and not asking for your attention.

Make a list of the ways your dog takes control of a situation and think of ways to change your behavior so that you are always in charge. It might get worse before it will get better, but eventually your dog will learn to respect you and you will both be happier for it.

Lynn loves all dogs, especially well-behaved ones. To learn more about dog training, visit her site at

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