Book Of The Month Club

One of the things I would like to do is teach dog owners to be critical readers in terms of an energy theory by exploring some of the popular and well received literature on dogs so that they can recognize a contradiction, anomaly and inconsistency when they find one. Often these are revealed immediately in the title: “Hidden Life of Dogs” when nothing about dogs is hidden; “The Dog Who Loved Too Much” — I thought love was supposed to be the answer?

I’m currently reading Jeffrey Masson’s book “The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving” and he is so readable and has a knack of putting his finger on the essence of what’s missing from the current discussion on animal behavior that this would prove a good place to start. He’s almost posing some of the questions I’ve been raising and then of course in my view he’s unable to find a resolution, but his writing and ideas are a perfect platform for taking an overview of the thinking on dogs and animals, the nature of emotion and love, and then the resulting conjectures and theories offered can serve to highlight where the intellectual heavyweights go wrong. My suggestion is that this book as well as other classics could become the subject of an online discussion group as this will make vivid many of the points and theses I’m striving to articulate. Once I’m through with reading the book, I will offer a brief summation and I would like to hear what others think of it. Then I suggest we go chapter by chapter, line by line in many cases to pinpoint what’s actually going on. I anticipate it will be a slow process so maybe it should be called “Book of the Months Discussion Club.”

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Published November 22, 2010 by Kevin Behan

28 responses to “Book Of The Month Club”

  1. Heather says:

    Fun. It sounds like the book should provide good food for thought.

  2. Chris says:

    Sounds great, a book on my shelf I have not read yet so I’ll get started.

  3. Phyllis says:

    Great idea. Count me in.

  4. Christine says:

    Yes…Book of the MonthS Club would be more apropos! lol Will there be similar discussions around other books? Could any of us suggest a title that might be worth the same scrutiny? NTIM….just curious

  5. Crystal says:

    Love this idea. I’m in. I will copy and paste into the West Coast NDT FB group. That’d be the WCNDTFBG.

  6. Crystal says:

    So, I have begun the book. Any date in mind for the first discussion and what we will discuss?

  7. kbehan says:

    I’m going to wait about a week or so to give whoever is reading it a chance to get into it, and then post an overview, or longer if you prefer, and then we’ll look at it in further depth thereafter.

  8. Crystal says:

    Do you want us to read the whole book before discussion? Or shall we take it chapter by chapter? My preference FWIW, is read it all and then go chapter by chapter in a discussion. If that is the case perhaps letting everyone read it over the holidays would be good and we could start discussion in Jan. ?

    If you like you can decide and I can again put the word out to NDT west. Though if you post it on the FB page all will see it there too.

    I am looking forward to this discussion group.

  9. kbehan says:

    That’s a good plan. We’ll read the whole book and then discuss it in early January, thanks.

  10. Christine says:

    Sounds like a plan…lookin’ forward to it, although I don’t have my copy yet… 🙁 My follow-through could use a little tweaking! lol @Crystal…hehehe re: WCNDTFBG well played!

  11. Crystal says:


  12. Trisha says:

    I’m half way into the book and he’s loosing me. I think I have to go back and take a bunch of notes. He’ll say one thing very insightful in one sentence, but then he follows it up with something that makes no sense. It’s starting to bug me. I guess that’s “critical reading”.

  13. Christine says:

    Shoot…and I thought it was just me! I was thinking the same thing about taking notes and/or using a highlighter. I’ve found the book a bit irritating so far.
    Good to know I’m not the only one!

  14. Christine says:

    So, I’m about 2/3rds of the way through the book (my 1st read). Planning on going through again with my highlighter and red pen! lol How’s everyone doing so far with the book? Just thought I’d check-in…
    Looking forward to Kevin’s summation although I hope he waits long enough for the rest of us to catch up first. 😀

  15. Chris says:

    I’m about 1/2 way through (1st read) but will also need to go through a second time.

  16. Crystal says:

    Ok, I read the first three chapters last night. I had read the intro weeks ago, but got caught up in “The Tiger” by John Vaillant and left “The Dog Who Couldn’t Stop Loving.” I am finding the latter difficult to read. I am trying very hard, but I find that Masson repeats himself so much and well quite honestly what I got from the first chapter is this dog loves people.

    I think perhaps after reading “The Tiger” which is stringently researched, gorgeously written and gives one so much to think about animal-wise (very much in keeping with NDT) I am finding Masson’s book a little wanting.

    I think, Kevin, you would find “The Tiger” an excellent read. I am in progress of trying to download a copy of “The Sheltering Desert” written by Henno Martin, a book that is referenced in “The Tiger”. It is a true story of two scientists who refused to kill anyone in the 2nd world war and so escape from Germany to the Namibi desert where they live for two years. They were anthropologists and so studied their own behavior as they found themselves entering the animals “umwelt”, the bubble of energy and life each sentient being has around them. Within a year they feel they are a part of the animal world. Something rather enchanting about this story is that they had a crank-up radio and listened to the war as they sank ever more deeply into the flow of desert life.

    Back to Masson. Have folks read the entire book? Kevin, is there something there for me that will further my knowledge of dogs that you have not already written about in so much more depth?

  17. Christine says:

    Crystal, I’m about 2/3rds of the way through and have had similar thoughts/feelings about the book. Masson makes many unsubstantiated comments, repeatedly, repeatedly. I’ve found it a bit annoying to read but plan on a 2nd read with a highlighter or red pen for noting/commenting. I thought it might be helpful to look at the book through the NDT lens and note commonalities and/or discrepancies, plus whatever else my little mind can concoct!

  18. Crystal says:

    Correction: Martin and Korn were geologists. They had their dog Otto with them too. The book is in the public domain and so I downloaded free!

  19. Heather says:

    I actually won’t be reading the book given my own backlog, but looking forward to others’ points of view.

  20. Ben says:

    How about “Your Dog Is Your Mirror” as the book of the month? 🙂

    I’m on part 3 right now (How Dogs Work), and it’s a challenging section! I will definitely need to go back and read over some more, especially regarding the emotional center of gravity as that’s one of the concepts I’m having a harder time grasping. I love how anecdotes from Kevin’s life are interspersed throughout.

    Can’t wait to get through the rest — it has been fantastic so far.

  21. Christine says:

    AGREED‼ I’ve had the same thought but haven’t gotten as far as you have yet. I’m sure most NDTers would welcome the discussion.

  22. Sang says:

    I concur. It would be great to take elements from the book, and then apply them to more concrete examples in people’s lives.

  23. Lacey says:

    Yes please let’s do that!

    Yesterday, I put Rudy through your Nicholas grooming treatment from the book, moderated a little bit for the old guy, and it worked beautifully! I’d love more discussion based on the book.

  24. Rosie says:

    Like the new website layout! And loved the book!

  25. Speaking of books, check out my website’s new home page, scroll down to the bottom…


  26. Christine says:

    I like it Lee

  27. kbehan says:

    Thanks Lee, appreciate it.

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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