Search Menu

Is your dog pushy? If he wants something, will he stop at nothing to get it? Then you may want to try the Nothing in Life Is Free (NILIF) protocol with your dog. This is a very simple protocol that essentially means your dog needs to work for things of value in his life. Through this protocol, which becomes part of your daily routine, your dog will learn to be polite and “ask” for things he wants. 

There are several times during a normal day that you can ask your dog to work for things of value. For example, require your dog to sit and wait until you release him to eat his meal. Ask your dog to sit and stay, reach for the bowl, and start to place it on the floor. If your dog breaks his sit/stay position before you give him his release word, simply stand back upright and place the food bowl back on the counter. Try again. This may take a few repetitions, but your dog will soon learn the fastest way to get his meal is to remain seated until you release him. 

Another example is going for a walk. Ask your dog to sit while you attach his leash. If he moves, simply put the leash back on the hook and walk away. Try again. Keep repeating this exercise until your dog remains seated the entire time you attach his leash, then his reward is getting to go for a walk!

What other times during the day could you require your dog to first “ask” for what he wants by showing polite behavior? 

Asking your dog to perform a simple act, like sit, down, or even a trick, before getting what he wants improves focus, attention, and impulse control – all good things for dogs to learn!

For more advice on dealing with issues with your dog, contact the AKC GoodDog! Helpline, a seven day a week telephone support service staffed by experienced dog trainers. Learn how to enroll at
Get Your Free AKC eBook

What’s he thinking?

Dogs exhibit all sorts of bewildering, funny, and sometimes worrisome, quirky behaviors. Ever wonder what he's thinking and where the behaviors come from? Download this e-book to find out.
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download
*Turn off pop-up blocker to download