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Nothing in Life is Free

Nothing in Life is Free

by Beth Ostrowski-Parks, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA

Nothing in Life is Free!  (NLIF)
Also referred to as "Say Please!"

One of the questions that people ask in classes at It's PAWSible! is:  "How much time should I spend doing my homework?"

My answer:  "Infuse what you learn in class into your every day life."  
People don't often think this way, but our dogs are quite fortunate.  In a world where there are millions, maybe billions of dogs without homes, our beloved puppies and dogs get to share our home with us.  We don't really ask anything of them.   They give us unconditional love though!

For us, to ask our dogs to ask us permission to do the things they want, isn't really asking for much when you consider their end of the deal.

Do this soon:

Make a list of ALL the things your dog(s) enjoy.  
That could be as small a thing as being pet. It could also be a big thing like their food or the best treats!  

Next, rank them from highest priority (in your dog's opinion, not yours) down to the lowest priority of what your dog likes.

Here is my list ranking from the greatest thing that I believe my dogs love, down to things lower in priority (in their opinion!)

1) their food (my dogs love their food)
2) agility
3) any treat
4) going for walks
5) going in the "van"
6) cuddling or being pet (this could be higher if it's night time and we are all hangning out in the living room)
7) playing with each other
8) getting up on the couch with me and laying next to me
9) everything else ranks below this I believe.  

Your list could be different than my list.  But the key here is to make sure you are asking for your dog to do something before they get something they like or love.

Is it time for them to eat?    Ask him or her to “sit” or “down” or “come!”
Time for a treat?  Sit, down, stay, come or leave it…
Time to go for a walk?  Sit before they get their leash on, sit/down before they go out the door..
Time for them to get on the couch with you?  Sit.  down.  Stay.
Time to play with their best buddy!  Ask for a sit and a "watch me" before you let them free.

Hopefully this is something that you start thinking about daily with your puppy or adult dog.   Once you start doing this, it will come naturally to you.  

Have your dog earn his prizes!  Your puppy will begin to respect you in a different way.  He will start looking to you for permission!