First Free Interaction With Strong-Natured Dog

This is their first time to run free together, but I kept a long line on sable GSD in order to be safe and I positioned an old dog crate for Huuney to run into if she felt overwhelmed as these can often serve as innate “time out” spots that lets a dog emotionally restore and naturally inhibits the follower from escalating. But it proved unnecessary. In fact, I also had the bite toy in play as an emotional ground because in this instance given Huuney’s mastery of flipping and flopping, I felt it would give both dogs an object as an emotional fulcrum so that they could communicate if they were feeling stressed, without having to act it out on each other. What is especially compelling and gratifying to me is to see how relaxed Huuney is when she’s crowded over the toy. This here speaks to Drive, which is about potential energy, as opposed to instinct which would be about guarding a resource. So when the GSD crowds Huuney over the toy, she feels the emotional leverage she enjoys and so she is safe to do nothing, but moreover, she can feel more energy from the approach of the dog, rather than sensing a disconnect between her and the toy. So she loves the toy for the energy it represents, but the dog represents even more energy so who cares about the toy, it’s just a fulcrum for communication. Likewise, because the GSD is so sensually aroused to Huuney, his instinctual need for the toy is wholly neutralized. He feels the potential for more energy from the other dog than for the toy. I should point out that when I first gave him the toy he would shake it relentlessly, almost knocking himself over. He was intoxicated with the “high” of the weightlessness of all the countervailing forces he was generating with the shaking and thrashing. This kept him addicted to the toy and locked into the old loading/overloading paradigm. But all that is neutralized by feeling sensual and aroused to Huuney. Thus, he is completely absorbed in smelling where she has been lying and there’s no tension about the toy. Finally, he sticks his wet nose in the “hot socket” of a good ol’ girl and yet it has no unbalancing effect on him because IN THIS CONTEXT his hunger circuitry is his predominant means of apprehension. The goal is to keep exercising the trust muscle so that it can hold onto the feeling of potential energy no-matter-what. Then the dog generalizes to all contexts and we can say that he is healed.

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Published September 6, 2011 by Kevin Behan
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9 responses to “First Free Interaction With Strong-Natured Dog”

  1. Crystal says:

    Keep exercising the trust muscle? By? Want to be sure I understand this.

  2. kbehan says:

    Having faith in the good nature of a dog. That’s the muscle that needs regular exercise.

  3. Crystal says:

    Ah. Thx.

  4. john says:

    What has been the time frame from when he arrived til this point with hunney,,how long did the ground work take before he was introduced to another canine,,
    really enjoyed trying to follow the behavior on a frame to frame basis, the actions after reading the post was very informative, thanks

  5. kbehan says:

    I spent about two weeks, thanks for the input.

  6. C says:

    When a dog shakes their toy with the intensity you describe the GSD having, how did you help him with that? You say it is neutralized by feeling sensualized to Hunney, but if Hunney wasn’t there would he then shake the toy again? My dog shakes their toy much more when a person or dog is present, but this seems very true, “addicted to the toy and locked into the old loading/overloading paradigm”.

  7. Kevin Behan says:

    The key to solving the shake-rattle-and-roll syndrome is to have dog on lead and work him on carrying the toy about, and then engaging in push-of-war rather than tug-of-war. But in social interactions, just the fact that the dog can outlet its nervousness on the toy, will help to lessen the intensity it projects onto another dog. It’s just that we want this intense energy to evolve into a calmer state through the overall process of working with our dog.

  8. C says:

    Thanks. I’ve done a little carrying toy whilst on lead, but much more needed I guess (Keep on Pushing!) and I don’t have push of war in that situation yet.

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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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