Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

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RobinS
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Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby RobinS » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:50 am

I got this book the moment it came out, did a quick glance, and then put it in the stack. Since I have been home a week with the flu, it made it to the top of the pile. I'd love to discuss it with others who have read it.

UpwardDog
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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby UpwardDog » Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:02 am

I've read it and loved it. It's been quite a while though-- the details might be a bit sketchy for me. The only thing I remember that really wasn't a fit for me was the bits of god/religion analogy.

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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby Moemer » Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:45 am

^ exactly that. I'm not a fan of NILIFing everything. I think that type of structure has it's place for some people and some dogs, but not as often as I see it prescribed. Also been a while so I'm sketchy on details, also loved most of it but the religion stuff didn't resonate with my experience (but I can appreciate her story and experience all the same)
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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby RobinS » Sat Mar 02, 2013 12:18 pm

Yea, the religious part was a put off for me and I did lots of NILIF with KaeJae in the beginning. He clearly came from the idea that he could do whatever the h*ll he wanted and so while I didn't make him earn every single thing in life, he had to earn bed and furniture privileges and learn good manners for bowls, treats and toys. I look at it more of me parenting him and he gets lots of things for free. I am half way through the book now.

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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby UpwardDog » Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:29 pm

I've seen way too many people blaming the dog for being stubborn or a jerk (or whatever word they want to use but blaming the dog) and "but HE KNOW!" when there were really some people problems causing the problem ie. the treat has inadvertently become the salient cue - dog is confused but the people think he's stubborn, saying "only if you pay up." People who's mechanical skills and grasp of contingencies were just a mess - again really confusing and sometimes quite stressful for the dog and yet it's blamed on the dog when he doesn't perform as expected.
Or the dog simply is uneducated, has no idea about where he should and shouldn't go and what to do so he earns all sorts of labels when he's a DOG doing what dogs do. His people talk and nag and scold and ah! ah! ah! and are ineffective,inconsistent, become white noise---still it's the dog who needs fixing.
NILF shifts the blame to the dog where it really never rests and sets up the wrong attitude in my experience. I want a bond and connection with my dog. I want to motivate him and set things up so he really wants to work and play with me ,not an adversarial type "nothing for you til you perform some random behavior on cue" attitude. I also don't have any desire to be constantly cuing my dogs.
I teach a lot of defaults and I find it's just a more pleasant existence for us both. How does anyone feel about someone who is constantly telling them do this, do that if the other person is just saying "oh hi" or "I'd like to go out and pee" or whatever. It doesn't really make sense. If you want "polite" teach it. Your dog doesn't know what "polite" means.

Not to mention some really weird behavior chains can come out of it too--"misbehavior" followed by a cue then reinforcement. wtf

So yeah, I hate it and am so sick of hearing it thrown out as the cure all. Figure out what behaviors your dog needs to know. Make a plan. Teach your dog to fluency. Manage things you don't have down yet. Meet your dogs needs.

Training that comes from the point of view of "fixing what's wrong with the dog" just turns me off at this point. I find it's usually relatively poor training that really doesn't take the dog's needs, instinctive behaviors or the weaknesses of the teacher into consideration.

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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby UpwardDog » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:07 pm

I can't tell you how many times I've though hmmm or wtf or "why aren't you/are you doing that?" and then gone to the video of a session and been able to clearly see what the dogs saw and why they reacted the way they did which I couldn't see while working them.

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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby whiteboxerboy » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:11 pm


Not to mention some really weird behavior chains can come out of it too--"misbehavior" followed by a cue then reinforcement. wtf
exactly! at least i think this is what i saw more than once a while back. i'd taken Gringo for a walk downtown and we happened upon some kind of event with some rescue groups and their adoptable dogs. as usual i was being hyper-vigiliant about other dogs & how close i let Gringo get to them. of course most of the humans on the other ends of the leash were oblivious to what their dog was doing as they visited with the other humans. more than once a dog lunged at Gringo and got pretty close and all of the dogs were all on 6' leashes. oy. and more than once the next thing their human did was 1) yelled NO! 2) yelled SIT! and after dog sat they got all baby talk voice with the dog and gave them a cookie.

i was confused by that chain of events & it seemed wrong to me, at least the treat did anyway.

and, IMO, the humans and the dogs are lucky that Gringo's response to a dog isn't to lunge/show teeth back at them. and i was very lucky that i was paying such close attention to our surroundings. there were zillions of toddlers and little kids running & screaming thru the area, too. we didn't even walk thru the whole area, we cut thru this one booth so we could leave.

and i dunno, NILIF was, i thought and still think, a good thing for me & Brinca to learn. i was clueless and Brinca was out of control. i think it helped both of us get on the road to figuring things out. but, i also didn't have to actually 'ask' for her to sit after doing it for a little while. and, well, honestly, she was always a little 'out of control' so maybe it didn't really help us all that much as far as her wanting to eat other dogs was concerned BUT i do believe it helped me see how our relationship was going to work. and i don't think she ever resented having to sit before going thru a door or getting a cookie or bone. (after all, she still got to ignore me when it was convenient for her. :lol: )

so yeah, like Heather said:
I find it's usually relatively poor training that really doesn't take the dog's needs, instinctive behaviors or the weaknesses of the teacher into consideration.

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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby UpwardDog » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:20 pm

It might seem like semantics, but there's a big difference to me between cueing and reinforcing your dog for behaviors you want and asking for them at specific times consistently, teaching a default sit behavior etc and Nothing In Life Is Free. I'm sure how people put it into practice is widely varied and can be something i find distasteful all the way to "hey, nice finding ways to fit training into your day to day life." Kathy Sdao articulated how I feel about it really well. I was all YES! and EXACTLY! lol

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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby Moemer » Sat Mar 02, 2013 7:45 pm

All that, yes. (ESPECIALLY the chaining bit!) The value I see in a NILIF *type* (NILIF-lite?) program for some situations would be structuring a person's day. Add training in to their daily activities rather than having only a set time for training.
The thing I mostly don't like about most NILIF programs is how there is such a focus on "rank reduction" and "deference", etc. And when a program gets to the point that the dog is deprived - whether it be physically (food access) or emotionally (no social contact without performing).
I think NILIF can go to an extreme that is on par with dominance theory, and that's unfortunately where it often leads. So, despite not physically injuring the dog as a corrective trainer would, it doesn't foster a healthy relationship. It frames the relationship as inherently adversarial, that the dog is out to take over if not kept in check by the owner. I think an effective NILIF type program would focus on understanding contingencies and reinforcement, not control of the dog, and simply act as a vessel to include training in daily activities.
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Re: Kathy Sdao, Plenty in Life is Free

Postby whiteboxerboy » Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:12 pm

YES, exactly: contingencies & reinforcement. THAT is what I took from it & why I liked it.

Thanks, Emily. Well said!


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