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Discussion Starter #1
I'm still working on training Caeda, as usual, but I'm having some theoretical issues with the principles of positive reinforcement and NILIF working together as I go along and ponder training particular things about the way we train.

So......purely positive reinforcement suggests that you basically ignore the bad and reward the good. Well....having all 4 feet on the ground is good, being calm is good, not chewing on shoes/furniture/remote controls/plants etc is good. Suggesting that all of these things be rewarded. Fine....got it.

NILIF in a nutshell suggests to not give rewards (attention, treats etc) freely. Teach basic commands first and make them do a basic command before they get these things. Um....does doing nothing bad count to give the dog a treat?

Anybody else seeing the issue here?

So, NILIF means don't reward the dog for just standing there innocently (ie: not counter-surfing, or jumping up pick a bad behavior) which under positive reinforcement training you would reward your dog for. If you make the dog sit first before the treat, the treat is for the sit, not for the lack of counter-surfing. If you treat for being innocent, something in life may seem free.....hmmmmm

Another thing with purely positive reinforcement, you want to treat for things such as "give" in this example. Ok, fine. My dog grabs a sock or whatever, I say give, a treat is necessary to reinforce the give (yep, we do this with non-restricted items, like toys, and give them back so she doesn't think the stuff like socks and remote controls area "prize" of some kind). Now my dog is going and grabbing socks, or whatever (and LOTS of other randomness) in the hope that I'll ask her to "give" and she gets a treat. At least this is in line with the NILIF, but it does seem to actually reinforce bad behaviour to a point. I can always reinforce her for chewing on her toys, but chewing on something yummy-stinky like a sock is self reinforcing AND if I get the sock from her and treat her for "give" she gets a treat, so either way she gets a rewarded, even more so for things that she LOVES but we don't want her to chew.

Anyway, I'm not having a particular training issue here, I'm using Caeda and some of the stuff around the house as examples. It is just that during my attempts at following particular "rules" of these particular schools of thought these things have cropped up in my mind. I occasionally wonder if they are causing confusion and problems, making training take longer. This is a bit of a rant I guess, although I am curious if anybody has anything to say about these things. Thoughts?
 

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I don't think you necessarily have to give your dog a command to follow the general principles of NILIF. When my dogs sit politely at the door instead of door dashing, I open the door and they get to go outside although I don't specifically instruct them to sit.
 

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This is a very good question. It shows you are thinking like a trainer.
NILIF is not meant to be a super strict protocol, I like to think of it as Say Please. Meaning, the dog wants something: a treat, your attention, the door to open to go outside, and you ask them to say please with a sit (or whatever you know the dog can do) and then reward them. Easy peasy. This does not preclude you rewarding them at other times when they are doing something you like that has just occurred naturally or when they have made that difficult decision to not bark at the dog next door or to not launch themselves onto the counter.
As for bad behaviours, management, redirection, giving them something else to to earn a reward and just generally being the thought police ( I see you looking at that thing you cant have! Do this instead!) is the way to go. Remember as well that there is no such animal as purely positive, positive based trainers use negative punishment (loss of rewards, time outs, leash settles etc). to punish when needed.
Regarding the bringing of items to you..this happens as part of the learning and is darn well better than them eating said items. I tell everyone with puppies to expect it and that it is not wrong. When you are getting an extremely consistent bring and drop you simply stop rewarding the behaviour with anything but a good dog and put the item away. You have already moved through the chewing stage, have extinguished the guarding/chase me game and you simply lose interest in the game and that behaviour will fade too. I would probably wait until the pup is way past their adolescent chewing phase before fading it though.
 

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NILIF in a nutshell suggests to not give rewards (attention, treats etc) freely. Teach basic commands first and make them do a basic command before they get these things. Um....does doing nothing bad count to give the dog a treat?
I use NILIF-type principles (such as Premacking) mostly when I want to connect an explicit direction to something. It's "sometimes I want it, sometimes I don't" sort of thing, so I'd rather let him know when I'm going to be okay with it.

Otherwise, I reward what I like, redirect what I don't. So if he's calm, mark/reward. He's greeting with four-on-the-floor? Mark/Reward. He's sitting for his food on his own? Mark/reward. He's playing? Mark/Reward. He brought me something? That's something I want to keep strong. Mark/Reward.


Now my dog is going and grabbing socks, or whatever (and LOTS of other randomness) in the hope that I'll ask her to "give" and she gets a treat. At least this is in line with the NILIF, but it does seem to actually reinforce bad behaviour to a point.
Huh? You want to teach her give, so if she holds an item, hoping that the chain will complete, it's "bad" behavior?

It's more...teach her what things she can use to "play the give game" and which things are off-limits.

Re-direct her from items you don't want to play "give" with. Perhaps even teach something of a retrieve as well so she knows "I can go get that and maybe we'll play "give" but this, this, and this I better leave alone."

Play "leave it" with things you want her to leave alone on her own. Then you can make it another game where she has to leave one item, but there's another item (like her toy) she's free to get. If she leaves the "leave it item", mark/reward. If she gets the toy and brings it, cue "Give" mark/reward.
I can always reinforce her for chewing on her toys, but chewing on something yummy-stinky like a sock is self reinforcing AND if I get the sock from her and treat her for "give" she gets a treat, so either way she gets a rewarded, even more so for things that she LOVES but we don't want her to chew.
If she got the sock and hasn't been fully taught that socks are off limits - that's my fault, not the dog's, imo. I would still reward the "Give" because she DID follow my cue. I cued "Give", she gave the sock. If she shouldn't have had the sock to begin with - I make a mental note to keep socks away until I can teach it further.

It's the principle usually saved for recall where you never ever punish the actually following of the cue, regardless of what happened before. I just extend it to everything I work with Wally on, especially in the learning phase.

It's not his fault if I set him up before something is fully learned. Incorrect management on my part (leaving an off-limits item "in play" before he's learned otherwise) is incorrect management, and I take the hit, not Wally.
 

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A couple of misconceptions I'm seeing. One is the idea of purely positive. Sometimes even trainers who are strongly based in positive motivation need to show the dog that something won't work, through negative punishment (removing the opportunity for reinforcement if the dog makes the wrong choice. Positive is not permissive. We are still looking for specific behaviors, and manipulating the situation so the things we want to happen actually happens. Nothing in Life is Free is not about giving treats. It is about giving real life rewards for behavior. Want your dinner? Gimme a down stay. Would you like to go for a walk? You have to sit politely while the leash goes on or it won't happen. I like to change things up so the dog doesn't get in a routine of offering a certain behavior for a certain real life reward. I don't consider trade as NILIF. And yes, sometimes it does create stealing for a while. But would you rather they bring it to you or you have to chase them?
 

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Training using reward based training doesn't mean to "ignore the bad" either. A lot of behaviour is self rewarding, and the dog does the behaviour because he's getting something out of it. So ignoring it just means letting the dog practice bad behaviour and self rewarding.

I have never ever used "ignoring" as a training method, except then the dog is being annoying because he wants attention. That's the only time ignoring the behaviour can stop it. When my dogs do something I don't like, I stop them, physically if I have to. Otherwise I call them over, tell them to leave it or drop it etc, and then remove it, so they can't get back to what they were doing. They get rewarded for coming away from what they were doing on cue.

I think this idea that reward based training means to ignore everything bad and reward the good is the reason a lot of people are failing to train their dogs, and so they conclude that you must use corrections in order to train a dog, and then they come on the forum and tell everyone reward based training doesn't work (not so much this forum, but there is a forum I know where this happens all the time). You cannot ignore bad behaviour and expect to train your dog.
 

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I think you've gotten a variety of good perspectives.
In practice, I was disciplined in training until my pup was 2 - 3yo. Now, I am fairly relaxed, b/c I'm dealing with an 11 yo dog who usually makes the right decisions. I walk him off leash in a large fenced playground. I do punish him for infractions by making him Sit, making him do doggie push-up (Sit, Down, Sit, Down ... also said to be a fun training exercise :) ), or I snap the leash back on, removing freedom. However, for the most part, he walks with me, with minimal distraction, and sits when I want, rather than every time I ask.... based on a kind of NILIF.

In theory, NILIF does not have to be pure behavioral. Ian Dunbar is working on standardizing a method for non-aversive punishment. It works, but doesn't yet fit into current theory... so he says do what works... and don't worry about theory.
I agree. But, after we do what works, we can discuss theory. In a sentence, if interested, expand your search for explanation, to cognitive psychology, educational psychology, and advisement feedback.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is a very good question. It shows you are thinking like a trainer.
NILIF is not meant to be a super strict protocol, I like to think of it as Say Please.
I consider that a compliment...thank you. We are trying to treat it as a "say please", we aren't necessarily as strict as we should be, but we're doing pretty good. We do treat when we get the chance to see her stop herself from doing something bad (like launching on the counter, or chasing the cats). We're quite happy actually with her bringing us stuff instead of chewing....its kind of cute (though occasionally I'll have a stash of "given" stuff next to me on the couch lol)

Training using reward based training doesn't mean to "ignore the bad" either. A lot of behaviour is self rewarding, and the dog does the behaviour because he's getting something out of it. So ignoring it just means letting the dog practice bad behaviour and self rewarding
I'm not just talking reward based, I'm talking pure positive reinforcement, and of course the theory of it. I've watched and read TONS of stuff, which all seemed to include good and bad. For instance Kikopup, I absolutely love her stuff, her logic in most of it is great, BUT, there is one where she mentions not using the words "No" or "ah ah". It seems to have worked incredibly well for her, but I'm positive it wouldn't work for our Caeda (and many other dogs I'm sure). It is the only point I've hugely disagreed with her methods. From what I understand she is purely positive reinforcement.
Turning away from purely positive reinforcement gets into the concept of punishment, of aversives, and what works for the dog as an aversive. Just to clarify, I do consider bitter apple aversive technically, it sucks, it adds a negative stimuli, its absolutely not a reward. There are tons of aversives out there that can be used. Removing attention, or possibility for a reward (which gets touchy when trying to wean off of treats and the dog considers a treat the only valid reward), prong collars, , e collars, saying NO in a mean voice (this doesn't work on Caeda a single bit lol). Physically removing the dog is one that is particularly interesting to me, because in our case, she is strong (physical removal is becoming less of an option!), and on top of it she seems to consider it wrestle play time, causing more bad behaviour.

Huh? You want to teach her give, so if she holds an item, hoping that the chain will complete, it's "bad" behavior?
I think you might have missed what I meant, I don't WANT to teach her to complete a bad behavior...unless I'm misunderstanding you....
It's more...teach her what things she can use to "play the give game" and which things are off-limits.
Thats the pesky thing.....it still requires getting that off limit item back, which is sometimes of higher value than a toy or food, and often instigates her wanting to play "keep away". The sock is just an example though. Its not that I'm having too much trouble training her on this stuff (she's not perfect, its just taking time), its just the principles I'm noticing don't necessarily line up right for me in their stricter interpretations. Taking them both a little more loosely, its working pretty good.
 

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I'm not just talking reward based, I'm talking pure positive reinforcement, and of course the theory of it. I've watched and read TONS of stuff, which all seemed to include good and bad. For instance Kikopup, I absolutely love her stuff, her logic in most of it is great, BUT, there is one where she mentions not using the words "No" or "ah ah". It seems to have worked incredibly well for her, but I'm positive it wouldn't work for our Caeda (and many other dogs I'm sure). It is the only point I've hugely disagreed with her methods. From what I understand she is purely positive reinforcement.
Turning away from purely positive reinforcement gets into the concept of punishment, of aversives, and what works for the dog as an aversive. Just to clarify, I do consider bitter apple aversive technically, it sucks, it adds a negative stimuli, its absolutely not a reward. There are tons of aversives out there that can be used. Removing attention, or possibility for a reward (which gets touchy when trying to wean off of treats and the dog considers a treat the only valid reward), prong collars, , e collars, saying NO in a mean voice (this doesn't work on Caeda a single bit lol). Physically removing the dog is one that is particularly interesting to me, because in our case, she is strong (physical removal is becoming less of an option!), and on top of it she seems to consider it wrestle play time, causing more bad behaviour.
No, you can't train a dog using nothing but positive reinforcement. It's impossible, and I don't know any trainer who recommends it or even uses it. That's why I said "reward based", and not "positive reinforcement".

Even if all you want to do is to reward the dog every time he does right, you still have to prevent him from doing wrong in order to train him. If you don't, you'll have an out of control dog. And it's not EITHER "positive reinforcement" OR "realm of aversives".

I think you need to read up on negative punishment and negative reinforcement. They are not harsh or evil. Negative punishment simply means to removal of privileges, such as time-out, or removal of something the dog wants, such as a toy when he gets too boisterous during a game. Negative reinforcement can be loads of things, from social pressure to pressure on the leash, or physical pressure on the dog.

If you were to train a dog using ONLY positive reinforcement, then you can't stop your dog from going in the rubbish bin. You could only reward him when he didn't have his head in the bin, and if he decided to put his head in it, you could do nothing except stand around and wait for him to remove his head from the bin and then reward him again, because his head was no longer in the bin. Does that sound right to you?

And when shaping behaviour, you would have to reward every attempt the dog made, because if you withhold the reward you are using negative punishment (or negative reinforcement IMO), and if the dog gets rewarded for every attempt, no matter how half hearted and terrible it was, you will not get a trained dog.

So I don't think you will find anyone who will tell you to train your dog using only positive reinforcement. "Reward based" methods include withholding rewards for half-arsed attempts and removing privileges for bad behaviour.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
So I don't think you will find anyone who will tell you to train your dog using only positive reinforcement. "Reward based" methods include withholding rewards for half-arsed attempts and removing privileges for bad behaviour.
The kikopup video that I watched (I can't remember which one) comes pretty close to the concept of your dog not knowing the word NO, and the only aversive I've seen in any of her stuff is being a tree when the dog is jumping, so just refusing attention. That works great if your dog is driven that way....I know mine normally isn't lol.

I think you need to read up on negative punishment and negative reinforcement. They are not harsh or evil.
I've read a bit on negatives, though the punishment/reinforcement terminology escapes me a little, it seems that sometimes they are used interchangeably sometimes they aren't. That's why I've been avoiding the P+/- terminology :p
I certainly don't think that they are harsh or evil (unless you move into the realm of hitting and kicking and such). I have personally read a great deal on e-collar training and have considered it (please don't blast me for this, I'm just sayin). It seems like a great tool if used intelligently (and along with rewards). Which falls somewhat into what you were mentioning that training isn't all just an either/or proposition when it comes to reward or punishment based methods. I strongly agree that balance is important if not essential.

Speaking of punishment and rewards and training. I'm not sure how to explain my neighbour's previous dog. It had the most incredible flawless recall ever, but it was very obviously hand shy and timid (I'm positive he hit it!). How on earth do people fluke into that kind of thing....Makes me wonder if I'm over thinking things (of course I am lol, its what I do).
 

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The kikopup video that I watched (I can't remember which one) comes pretty close to the concept of your dog not knowing the word NO, and the only aversive I've seen in any of her stuff is being a tree when the dog is jumping, so just refusing attention. That works great if your dog is driven that way....I know mine normally isn't lol.


I've read a bit on negatives, though the punishment/reinforcement terminology escapes me a little, it seems that sometimes they are used interchangeably sometimes they aren't. That's why I've been avoiding the P+/- terminology :p
I certainly don't think that they are harsh or evil (unless you move into the realm of hitting and kicking and such). I have personally read a great deal on e-collar training and have considered it (please don't blast me for this, I'm just sayin). It seems like a great tool if used intelligently (and along with rewards). Which falls somewhat into what you were mentioning that training isn't all just an either/or proposition when it comes to reward or punishment based methods. I strongly agree that balance is important if not essential.

Speaking of punishment and rewards and training. I'm not sure how to explain my neighbour's previous dog. It had the most incredible flawless recall ever, but it was very obviously hand shy and timid (I'm positive he hit it!). How on earth do people fluke into that kind of thing....Makes me wonder if I'm over thinking things (of course I am lol, its what I do).
You can't judge how she trains based on her instructional videos. We know she shapes her dogs using a clicker, and we also know her dogs performs to a very high standard, which means she must at times withhold an expected reward to inspire the dog to try harder. And withholding an expected reward when the dog doesn't give his best is technically punishment.

Kicking, hitting, yelling, e-collars and correction collars are all positive punishment. Some of the best trainers in the world now train without using any form of positive punishment. I don't use any positive punishment in my training either. It's very doable. But you can't train without ever withholding a reward.

Say you're training the dog to sit really fast and straight. If you used no punishment (= withholding a reward) then you would have to reward the dog every time he sat. Even if he half-sits, you would have to reward, because if you ever don't reward the dog when he expects it, then that's punishment. So EVERY attempt must be rewarded. And because dogs are selfish, lazy creatures, they would start offering half-sits, because that's all they have to do in order to get the reward. And that's where the "positive reinforcement only" falls apart, because the dog always chooses the easiest way out.

If you wanted fast, straight sits, you would never reward half-sits, and you would only reward the fastest, straightest sits. Anything slow and crooked doesn't earn a reward. Technically, this is punishment. But it's the only way to make the dog work a little harder to earn the reward.
 

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You can't judge how she trains based on her instructional videos. We know she shapes her dogs using a clicker, and we also know her dogs performs to a very high standard, which means she must at times withhold an expected reward to inspire the dog to try harder. And withholding an expected reward when the dog doesn't give his best is technically punishment.

Kicking, hitting, yelling, e-collars and correction collars are all positive punishment. Some of the best trainers in the world now train without using any form of positive punishment. I don't use any positive punishment in my training either. It's very doable. But you can't train without ever withholding a reward.

Say you're training the dog to sit really fast and straight. If you used no punishment (= withholding a reward) then you would have to reward the dog every time he sat. Even if he half-sits, you would have to reward, because if you ever don't reward the dog when he expects it, then that's punishment. So EVERY attempt must be rewarded. And because dogs are selfish, lazy creatures, they would start offering half-sits, because that's all they have to do in order to get the reward. And that's where the "positive reinforcement only" falls apart, because the dog always chooses the easiest way out.

If you wanted fast, straight sits, you would never reward half-sits, and you would only reward the fastest, straightest sits. Anything slow and crooked doesn't earn a reward. Technically, this is punishment. But it's the only way to make the dog work a little harder to earn the reward.
a pretty good description of Emily Larlham's (kikopup) philosophy http://www.dogmantics.com/Dogmantics/Progressive_Reinforcement_Manifesto.html
As to dogs being selfish, lazy creatures, I would suggest that if you consistently reinforce half sits, the dog has no way of knowing that you'd prefer something else. By the way. I might reinforce half sits (or half downs) when I am first trying to get the behavior. And then I will selectively reinforce better approximations when the dog has shown me he's able to give me better.
 

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And because dogs are selfish, lazy creatures
Wait...what?

Dogs might be selfish, though I consider it not that they are making a conscious effort to regard nothing but themselves as important, but because their minds are just not capable of going too far outside of what their own view is. To me, that's not selfishness - that's just a mental limitation imparted on them by Mother Nature.

As far as lazy - that's on the handler to allow it, not necessarily in the dog's innate nature to be lazy. Heck, a lot of times, it's said that dogs WANT to work, that it is in their instinctive nature to work on some level.

They aren't lazy - they will give you exactly what you tell them you want. So if you reward a half-effort, the dog will give you that. Not because the dog knows that's a half-effort, but because you've said "yes, that's good" and so the dog does it.

Definitions of lazy:
Unwilling to work or use energy
Characterized by lack of effort or activity
Showing a lack of effort or care

I don't think any of those fits the innate nature of dogs, more like what handlers allow, or what they may do if nothing is going on.

Plus, if dogs were unwilling to work, show effort, or use energy...how the heck does shaping work at all? That's almost all dog's effort, work, and mental energy. I'm the lazy one in shaping. I just click and throw food at him. :p
 

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I think you might have missed what I meant, I don't WANT to teach her to complete a bad behavior...unless I'm misunderstanding you....


Thats the pesky thing.....it still requires getting that off limit item back, which is sometimes of higher value than a toy or food, and often instigates her wanting to play "keep away". The sock is just an example though. Its not that I'm having too much trouble training her on this stuff (she's not perfect, its just taking time), its just the principles I'm noticing don't necessarily line up right for me in their stricter interpretations. Taking them both a little more loosely, its working pretty good.
From reading your OP, it seemed you were describing the fact she'd get a "bad" item in hopes of you giving the "Give" cue, and you were calling that "bad" behavior, even though you were teaching her "Give".

No, teaching her what she can play "Give" with involves preventing her from playing "Give" with the item to begin with.

Teaching "Leave it", teaching retrieve with "legal" items only, playing games where she has to leave the "bad" item and get the "good" one, etc.

None of those require her to get the "bad" items, in fact, the point of the games would be for her to, by her own choice, leave it alone, like in Doggy Zen and the like.
 

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Personally, I go for the 'reinforce the positive, ignore the negative if possible' approach, but I don't really like NILIF. I don't like feeling that I have to have my dog specifically do something before I'll so much as pet them. But, in a way I still do this. If my dogs greet me without jumping all over the place and pawing at me, I greet them warmly with a lot of affection. If they start to jump, I stand up and ignore them or walk away. A month or two of this had things running pretty smoothly at my place, and now they only have to perform if it's "training time". I get these treats that come in long sticks like some jerky treats, and cut them into small bits. Man, when I start cutting, every one of my dogs runs up to me and sits patiently, waiting for a command. I never actually taught them to do this, but the first thing they have to do to get a treat is sit calmly with good eye contact, so they offer this first when I pick up a treat. They also do it if they get too excited and I stand and stop petting them.

My thought is to reward anything you like them to do, including just standing calmly. Actually, a dog standing calmly is a blessed thing, so reward that a lot, I say.

I just saw that bit about dogs being selfish and lazy. Mostly this is true, with a lot in its interpretation. Of course, that also describes nearly every living thing on the planet. I actually like the term, 'opportunistic', because it's more accurate and doesn't sound so crappy. The fact is, if I can get more reward for doing less work, if it falls inline with my moral code, I'm probably going to go for it. Of course, just like humans that do heroic and selfless things, dogs can and will exhibit these traits sometimes.
 

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NILF teaches the dog how to cue your behavior. Fact.
That's true, and if you're consistent with what kind of reward you give for a particular behavior, your dog will know exactly which behaviors to offer for whatever reward they hope to gain. What I meant was more that I don't like the idea of NILIF, rather than its application. The concept that I won't show affection to my dogs without getting something first sounds too mercenary, but of course at a conceptual level, we do this anyway (or should). I know my wife wouldn't be nearly so keen to be good to me if I wasn't good to her.

So, I apologize for any NILIF practitioners I might have offended.
 

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That's true, and if you're consistent with what kind of reward you give for a particular behavior, your dog will know exactly which behaviors to offer for whatever reward they hope to gain. What I meant was more that I don't like the idea of NILIF, rather than its application. The concept that I won't show affection to my dogs without getting something first sounds too mercenary, but of course at a conceptual level, we do this anyway (or should). I know my wife wouldn't be nearly so keen to be good to me if I wasn't good to her.

So, I apologize for any NILIF practitioners I might have offended.
I think NILIF is useful for some situations (yes, indeedy, there are some rules here, and I get to make them). But if that's not an issue, the dog probably doesn't need it to any formal degree. I do think that asking a dog to give me something for real life rewards can help explain that behaviors aren't only necessary when you strap the treat bag on, and some dogs do have questions about that. So I am yes and no on it. I think it has a function, and for some dogs it is very important. But I don't use it a lot on my dogs simply because I don't have that issue. Besides, I have graduated from Obedience trainer to recovering control freak.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
From reading your OP, it seemed you were describing the fact she'd get a "bad" item in hopes of you giving the "Give" cue, and you were calling that "bad" behavior, even though you were teaching her "Give".

No, teaching her what she can play "Give" with involves preventing her from playing "Give" with the item to begin with.

Teaching "Leave it", teaching retrieve with "legal" items only, playing games where she has to leave the "bad" item and get the "good" one, etc.

None of those require her to get the "bad" items, in fact, the point of the games would be for her to, by her own choice, leave it alone, like in Doggy Zen and the like.
Well, if you want to talk in terms of our specific training for Caeda, we've been teaching her "give" and "leave it" from day one. She is doing pretty good. Occasionally exuberance/mischeviousness overtakes her and the things we've taught "leave it" with, she decides to play with or more often, tries to play "keep away". I only call what she is doing "bad behaviour" because she has been taught "leave it" with these items but she'll still occasionally go for them

The more time we give her out of her crate the more chance she has to access "forbidden items", but that's part of teaching her how to be out of her crate. We eventually intend on letting her roam the whole house when we are at work or sleeping, but we're definitely not there yet!

Her doggy zen can be amazing. I can put her into a down or sit stay, and the cat can run by, I can throw pieces of hotdog on the floor, or shine the laser, leave the door open and wander outside out of view and she won't move until I say go for a couple of minutes, which considering her 6 1/2 month attention span isn't bad!

The only places that she is lacking is the odd thing that she'll grab in exuberance/ mischeviousness or clumps of dirt (the whole not generalizing thing...yeah, every clump of dirt is different for her lol). I'm not looking for ways to change the training. It is going well, it takes time and we know that, and of course she'll have phases where she seems to "forget", but that's all part of it. She is a puppy heading into adolescence :) We have lapses too! The week of the wedding was pretty much training free because of the craziness, she backslid, our fault, but we're handling it.

We practice mostly positive reinforcement. We reward the positive, but we don't ignore the negative if it is something she really should know better. I think ignoring the negative is a bad idea. We always give her a chance though. We ask for a different behaviour first, if she keeps it up she gets a punishment based on the level of behaviour (nipping gets her a few more minutes of refused attention.

What I meant was more that I don't like the idea of NILIF, rather than its application. The concept that I won't show affection to my dogs without getting something first sounds too mercenary
This is actually where we use a modified version of NILIF. She get affection whenever she wants so long as she is appropriate. No nipping, no mouthing, no tripping us up. As soon as she does something inappropriate, it ends. The price of affection is just doing it appropriately. That is how we do NILIF though, but I do agree, the strict "rules" of it do sound a little militant.
 

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We practice mostly positive reinforcement. We reward the positive, but we don't ignore the negative if it is something she really should know better. I think ignoring the negative is a bad idea. We always give her a chance though. We ask for a different behaviour first, if she keeps it up she gets a punishment based on the level of behaviour (nipping gets her a few more minutes of refused attention.
(I read the whole response, just quoting the end to keep the length down)

That's the way to go - you've got the balance, a "yes" signal and a "no" signal.

Sounds like you're doing all the right things and making progress. I don't think you're having any issues with NILIF/+R principles at all :)


This is actually where we use a modified version of NILIF. She get affection whenever she wants so long as she is appropriate. No nipping, no mouthing, no tripping us up. As soon as she does something inappropriate, it ends. The price of affection is just doing it appropriately. That is how we do NILIF though, but I do agree, the strict "rules" of it do sound a little militant.
To me, it's still NILIF - not even modified. Just because you're not giving an explicit cue/command/direction, doesn't mean it's "free". You just mentioned some of the ground rules she has to stay within in order to continue getting attention/affection.

The situation/environment is dictating the rules, to so speak, so you don't explicitly have to say them. When she acts in an unwanted way in that situation - then the appropriate consequence is applied.
 
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