Our family adopted an 11 month old Coonhound 2 weeks ago and have decided to use the Nothing In Life Is Free training approach. For basic things (such as making him sit before we let him out or ignoring his barking before giving him food) this program seems to be both intuitive and effective. For more complicated things, like when punishment is required for play biting or chewing, things in general that do demand our immediate attention, this program is not so intuitive.
One of the core tenets of this program, as I understand it, seems to be that you never allow your dog to demand attention from you. (For instance - this seems to be a common trend: "Attention seeking behaviors don’t work. Some dogs become quite pushy about attention, demanding that you pet him by pawing, nudging and/or barking. Ignore attention seeking behavior rather then pushing your dog away or scolding him. - http://www.aplaceforpaws.com/reference-articles/dog-training/nothing-in-life-is-free-rules-to-live-by.html". There's also specific mention that negative attention is still attention. (http://k9deb.com/nilif.htm - "Telling him "no" or pushing him away is not the kind of attention he's after, but it's still attention"). If our dog jumps up as soon as we let him out of the crate or gets up on the counter, is the correct thing really just to ignore him and let him do what he wants?
In a recent situation, we took him on an hour long walk, and as soon as we got home he started attacking the Christmas Tree. If we're not supposed to allow our dog to demand attention from us, what is the appropriate way to curb this behavior?
In another recent situation, he jumped on the couch without us inviting him up and tried to walk all over us. It seems like the NILIF program says that he can't be up on the couch unless he's invited, but it also says that we should ignore attention seeking behavior. It seems to me that there's a direct conflict here and I'm not entirely sure how to proceed.
Basically what I'm wondering is, it seems like there are inconsistencies in the guidelines for the NILIF program. What is the correct way to handle punishment for bad behavior, or is simply ignoring the bad behavior the actual solution?
Currently, for things such as biting or chewing, I have been following the advice I grew up with and either holding his mouth open or holding his mouth shut. I'm not entirely sure what the correct response is for other bad behaviors.
*On a side note, this dog is 11 months old and was crated for almost the first 9 months of his life. He understands Sit and Down - he will follow a verbal Sit command but not a verbal Down command (we have to use the hand motion). I believe this is a good program to follow, if it is not please let me know. From everything we've been told by the Vet and have read online, the positive-reinforcement only training is not good for him.