Many owners of aggressive dogs have visited my farm and done “Trolley Work;” what I also call “Maple Sugaring” wherein we burn off the stress that makes two dogs want to fight each other by running them along parallel trolley lines and thereby get down to the sweet nectar of pure attraction whereafter the dogs are able to make social contact. Many owners find the initial phases with the gnashing of teeth and baring of fangs quite shocking only to be even more stunned when they next see their dog try to play with the other dog that they thought it was trying to hurt but a moment earlier. What they were witnessing was a state of blocked attraction (distress) becoming an open channel (flow).
But of course there’s nothing new under the sun, we’re merely tapping into a primordial, core dynamic, one that I’ve invested in every aspect of Natural Dog Training and in particular the Core Exercises. See what happens when dog meets deer below.
It is my theory that all behavior is a function of attraction and that therefore behavior can only be explained in terms of a physics, not by way of a human psychology. The “locomotive rhythm” is the key. (See page 86 of “Design In Nature” by Adrian Bejan) It’s the basis of Constructal Law and I contend is an animals’ internal metric of well-being and the veritable baseline of animal consciousness. I call the locomotive rhythm the “Constructal Link” between brain and body, it’s how the body plugs the brain into the mind.
When an animal is stimulated it wants to move. This invests its mind with a degree of “emotional momentum.” Movement is the motive. The movement of the body’s mass is an actual physical force that conforms to the principles of physics. And if an animal can move in a manner consonant with its locomotive rhythm, i.e. their anatomical style of fast and efficient movement, then the underlying attraction feels complete merely by virtue of being able to move in a manner that is commensurate with the degree to which they feel attracted. This is the basis of an emotional bond. The Constructal link as the internal metric of well-being.
Physical movement is an energy of momentum and is transferred via the Constructal law by way of laminar (alignment) and turbulent (synchronization) transfers of force. We can see in the video above two points of turbulence (these points become the synchronizing elements, or “midpoints”) as defined by the fence posts, and then the long, laminar exchanges of momentum as dog and deer race along side each other. Note that as the group run proceeds, the dog visibly softens, he is feeling connected to the deer because his degree of attraction is being consummated by physically aligning at full speed and then syncing up with the deer at the end points. The deer is leading the dog, it collapses the turbulence at the end points (the dog’s tail wagging is a turbulent behavior that is a manifestation of the locomotive rhythm when it’s not running) and then the deer initiates the alignment phase of their interaction by stomping its forelegs and then finally determines when it’s had enough (dissipated its emotional momentum) and so the game is over. In a flow system the prey “controls” the predator, and the predator/prey dynamic is the basis of all emotional attraction which is why this trans-species form of communication between a deer and a dog is possible.
The transfer of emotional momentum via the Constructal Law is a universal trans-species form of communication. Nothing could be simpler and we need not invent any human narrative psychology to make sense of a dog running alongside a deer. I think it’s easy to see from this video how dog and man could have co-joined to herd prey species rather than simply hunting them. The video shows us the primordial code by which all animal behavior and social structure is moderated and Neo-Darwinian evolutionary logic or learning by reinforcement theory cannot account for this interaction and seriously distorts the nature of the animal mind because it doesn’t articulate it as a flow system.