"plenty In Life Is Free" By Kathy Sdao, Acaab

Discussion in 'Off-Topic & Chit Chat' started by jackienmutts, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. jackienmutts Honored Member

    I just finished reading "Plenty In Life Is Free" by Kathy Sdao, ACAAB . Can't say enough about this book - it was excellent!! Not sure where I should begin or how much anyone really wants to know - but she totally takes on and refutes the whole NILIF concept. I have been a Kathy Sdao fan for several years, and this has made me even more of one.

    She uses her own dogs and the lessons she's learned from them and other paths she's traveled and lessons she's learned in her life, to help explain her training philosophy which has moved way beyond leadership, and is focused on developing partnerships in which humans and dogs can exchange reinforcements and also fluidly cede the upper-hand role to each other. It's a book I'm sure would make old-school trainers gasp.

    She promotes a concept of SMART (See, Mark, and Reward Training) x 50 - she encourages you to cut up 50 tiny training bits/day, and See, Mark, and Reward all good behavior. She said envision the dog you want, and reward anything throughout the day that you see, that you like - til your baggie of 50 treats is empty (this is done daily). Dog laying quietly on the dog bed while you watch tv? Click (or mark with a YES or whatever)/treat. Dog sitting patiently while you make it's breakfast? Click/treat. Dog just pottied outside? Click/treat. You get the idea. She said if you adopt a "trying" dog, or are having a particularly bad day or some trying times, then just "ok" behavior (meaning, not horrible) is ok too. Sometimes you gotta take the best you can get, even if it's not up to par, or not nearly what you want ... you'll get there. If you read the book, you'd clearly understand where she's coming from.

    I love her ideas and concepts, and am loaning the book to a friend who is having some 'issues' with her one yr old puppy (we all know how that age can be). Overall, the pup is wonderful, just a few issues here and there that come and go. I've been telling her about this book and encouraging her to try the SMART x 50 and I think she'll have a winne. I think the "growing pains" will just go away, and the good behavior will take over.

    She stresses how she's always been against the withholding of life's necessities from dogs until they perform as required - meaning, some trainers have owners withhold food, water, affection, etc - if dog won't (fill in whatever), then they don't get "it", period. I'm so thankful that when I used NILIF years ago, it was so watered down and soft, I guess it almost didn't qualify (compared to what she referred to). I now see how I would handle it differently if I ever adopt another very large, pushy, demanding dog in the future :rolleyes: but I did the best I could at the time - and I certainly didn't withhold any life necessities, affection, etc. EVER.

    Anyway - I told you all I'd give you a review when I finished it. If anyone is looking for an excellent book to read, I absolutely recommend it. It's not long and overwhelming, and it's an easy read. Great book. It will def by on my list of fav training books. I give this one 2 thumbs and 4 paws up!! (y) :LOL:
    Dogster and tigerlily46514 like this.

  2. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    THANKS for sharing your thoughts on this book, it sounds great!!
    I love the 50x smart idea very much!! I think i might check if our library has this book.

    this idea sounds like might be a cousin to what i do with my gangsta dog around unknown dogs, always trying to capture and reward any correct behaviors,
    (as well as proactively trying to induce calm behavior as well, and reward that.)

    and sometimes, like you describe, sometimes i reward just something that is not "bad" but not quite exactly my final goal, but, still, it was bettter than a reaction, for my dog, for that situation, it was decent,
    so it gets a prize, i am always trying to find ways to make seeing unknown dogs have some positive angle for Buddy, and like you said, some days we have to find smaller amounts of good here or there to reward!!;)
    sometimes, even seeing prizes coming out, sometimes seems to help Buddy get more into a "oh yeah, that's right, there ARE prizes for being calm" mentality, too.

    I so agree, that dogs DO notice, remember and repeat behaviors they get rewarded for....
  3. jackienmutts Honored Member

    Reading that book and all the all the references to NILIF made me soooo thankful I found the trainer I did all those years ago - when very aversive trainers were still the rage, esp for GSDs. I had never heard of clicker training back then (had any of us if we weren't training whales or dolphins?). But - when I called (he came highly recommended after I called 3 others - they all pointed me to him, no one wanted to touch my girl, she was too dangerous), he interviewd ME, asking a zillion questions about my GS (Heidi), saying he'd only take me if I agreed to work hard, no hitting or punishing EVER, no this, no that, blah blah blah. Many rules. I liked him immed. His NILIF was 'soft' compared to what I'v heard from others - she was big, unruly, pushy, demanding, and had announced herself to be the dominant dog as far as my other was concerned, the minute she stepped foot in the house. (My boy didn't care - but still). Sad that at 18 mos old - she had not one manner, but this was not her fault, rather her previous owners who had tossed her in the pen in the back yard cuz she grew too large for the house, got into stuff, and dug. (Who knew puppies did that?) One of the trainers biggest rules was "catch her doing things right and praise her til it makes you nauseated". He wasn't huge on food rewards (altho she got plenty of that snuck in) but she thrived on praise so it all worked. It took lots of work, patience and time, but we turned that obnoxious (bordering on dangerous - no lie) dog around into an incredible, well-mannered, socially acceptable represtative of the breed who made visits to a convalescent home.

    Another thing Kathy mentioned in the book which I had forgotten about, I had remembered this from a couple years ago. Someone on another forum had heard her talk about this at a seminar or ??. We were discussing recalls on the forum and she posted about this - and she mentioned this in the book, again, discussing unexpected rewards. She walks the same path in the mornings with her dogs. She got plain hamburgers (from someplace like McD's or wherever -- and she said she didn't usually feed this to her dogs, but as an unexpected reward?? perfect!!) and stashed them ahead of time in a tree they always passed. Then there they go, walking along. The dogs got a little off-leash sniffing/play time, then got called back -- and presto, when they came, they got HAMBURGERS!!! :LOL: Talk about inspiration to come back again next time!!! I love her ideas!!
    tigerlily46514 likes this.
  4. tigerlily46514 Honored Member

    :ROFLMAO: LOVE IT!!! Yeah, hamburgers do provide inspiration indeed, to a dog!! LOVE IT!!

    lol, there is a McDonald's right by Buddy favorite park, and i do stop in sometimes, when we go there unexpectedly with no treats on hand, and i order a plain burger with no bun,
    and they all look at me weird! rofl!

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