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Thread: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

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    Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    Taken from the Human Society website:

    What is "Nothing in Life is Free"?

    You have resources—food, treats, toys, and attention. Your dog wants those resources. Make him earn them. That's the basis of "Nothing in Life is Free." When your dog does what you want, he gets rewarded with the thing he wants.
    You may also hear this aspect of training called "No Free Lunch" or "Say Please." Those are just other names for "Nothing in Life is Free."

    How to practice "Nothing in Life is Free"

    1. First, use positive reinforcement methods to teach your dog a few commands and/or tricks. "Sit," "Down," "Come," and "Stay" are useful commands. "Shake," "Speak," and "Roll over" are fun tricks to teach your dog.

    2. Stop giving away resources. Do you mindlessly pet your dog for no reason? Stop. Your attention is a valuable resource to your dog. Don't give it away. Make him earn it.

    3. Once your dog has mastered a few commands, you can begin to practice "Nothing In Life Is Free."
    Before you give your dog anything (food, a treat, a walk, etc.) he must first perform one of the commands he has learned. For example:

    •In order for you to put your dog's leash on to go for a walk, he must sit until you've put the leash on.
    •When you feed your dog, he must sit and stay until you've put the bowl on the floor.
    •Play a game of fetch after work and make your dog sit and "shake hands" each time you throw the toy.
    •Rub your dog's belly while watching TV, but make him lie down and roll over before being petted.


    4. Once you've given the command, don't give your dog what he wants until he does what you want. If he refuses to perform
    the command, don't give in. Be patient and remember that eventually he will have to obey your command to get what he wants.

    5. Make sure your dog knows the command well and understands what you want before you begin practicing "Nothing in Life is Free."

    The benefits of this technique

    Requiring your dog to work for everything he wants is a safe, positive, non-confrontational way to establish your leadership position.
    Even if your dog never displays aggressive behavior such as growling, snarling, or snapping, he can still manipulate you. He may be affectionate to the point of being "pushy," such as nudging your hand to be petted or "worming" his way onto the furniture to be close to you. This technique gently reminds the dog that he must abide by your rules.
    Fearful dogs may become more confident by obeying commands. As they succeed in learning more tricks, their continued success will increase confidence and ultimately lead them to feeling more comfortable and less stressed.

    Why this technique works

    Dogs want good stuff. If the only way to get it is to do what you ask, they'll do it.
    Good leadership encourages good behavior by providing the guidance and boundaries dogs need.
    Practicing "Nothing in Life is Free" gently and effectively communicates to your dog that you are the leader because you control all the resources.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Become a 4 Paw Member Kris Thomas LaBounty's Avatar
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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique


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    Senior Member Become a 4 Paw Member trishkidd24's Avatar
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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    Ha great article.... Marg works for nothing and we really should stop babying her like that.... Might have to try making her sit and wait more!
    -- Trish and the Kidd's, Marge, Mac, and Murph

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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    Great post, Christine. I need to make my boys work for attention more!

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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    Good article! However, I really don't think I can stop mindlessly petting Jax...he's just too darn cute!

  6. #6
    Senior Member Become a 4 Paw Member trishkidd24's Avatar
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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    I tried searching for this book on amazon and couldnt find it... Can you send me a personal link, or put it on here if it can be found on amazon... We have been having some serious issues with Marge and I need to start researching....
    -- Trish and the Kidd's, Marge, Mac, and Murph

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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    This is exactly what I needed! I have been looking for a way to get Nacho to be more polite and this sounds like the perfect thing. Thank you!

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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by trishkidd24 View Post
    I tried searching for this book on amazon and couldnt find it... Can you send me a personal link, or put it on here if it can be found on amazon... We have been having some serious issues with Marge and I need to start researching....
    It is not a book, this is the technique... Dog gets nothing unless they do something to earn it .... Sounds simple, lots of patience and consistency required


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    Last edited by 2bullymama; 04-27-2014 at 08:06 AM.

    my sweet angel babies
    Nitschke 2004-2011 and Banks 2005-2014

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    Senior Member Become a 4 Paw Member trishkidd24's Avatar
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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    Oh OK! I will read the article that was posted on here then. For some reason I thought maybe it was a book or something?
    -- Trish and the Kidd's, Marge, Mac, and Murph

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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    This technique has been amazing! My husband and I recently started it with Nacho and we are already at the point where he will automatically sit for food,water, and to be taken out before we say anything! This has really helped our boy understand that we are in charge! Thank you so much!


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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    Quote Originally Posted by sah006 View Post
    This technique has been amazing! My husband and I recently started it with Nacho and we are already at the point where he will automatically sit for food,water, and to be taken out before we say anything! This has really helped our boy understand that we are in charge! Thank you so much!


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    FANTASTIC.... stay on it too. Makes sure he still does something based on your command at some point during the day - just to reinforce all you have done

  12. #12
    Member sah006's Avatar
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    Re: Nothing in Life is Free - Training Technique

    We definitely will. Thank you again!


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