The video linked below is an excellent exposition on the nature of hunting by way of Brad Higgins and his natural method of gun dog training.
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Amazing video. They make it look so easy and with no coercion.
I like how he mentioned that the dog was 5 months and hadn’t had any obedience, which just goes to show that training your dog is more about harmony and cooperation rather than teaching obedience, or expressing dominance. Also, he noted that they don’t use an e-collar, and so it seems the “control” they have over their dogs is a product of working as a pack to bring home prey.
I noticed at the end of this video they “give” the bird to the dog, and he just mouths it a bit. Is this to ground his energy that was directed towards the prey, sort of symbolically ending the hunt? Also, I imagine if I did this with Eva, she’d eat the bird. Why doesn’t the dog shake or rip the prey?
Great question. In my view, the soft mouth is related to the paralyzed prey instinct of the puppy mind, the pure oral urge wherein the prey most easily dilates and then controls the nervous system of the dog. In other words, if there was a lot of resistance required to physically overpower the prey due to its capacity to fight back, then the dog would be bred to bring a more intense emotional charge, an occluded state of attraction, to bear on the prey animal so as to break down its resistance. So Eva would approach the prey with a blocked prey instinct and this would produce an aggressive response and were she to get the prey in her mouth she would relieve the stress by shaking and tearing it up. But because the bird has no capacity to fight back, and yet has an infinite advantage in being able to take flight and escape easily, the well-bred bird dog’s prey instinct is fully aroused, its body/mind is wide open, not occluded, a pure state of emotional attraction, and in this state it is easily paralyzed if you will by the bird’s capacity to easily escape were it to take wing, which would collapse the state of attraction and then the dog is left holding the “emotional bag.” Then, all that emotional momentum that drives it to chase the bird at full speed around the field when it is in the beginning stages of training, has to be internalized, it’s stuck with it and this is what fuels the proverbial crash of disappointment and makes it so painful. The dog quickly learns that he doesn’t like these crashes and so the flight characteristics of the prey animal interface with the dog’s nervous thresholds and the two become of one mind. The dog learns to become acutely sensitive to the flight characteristic of his prey (just like a pit bull is bred to be acutely sensitive to the fight characteristics of its prey) and it begins to collect itself in preparation for a collapse if it pushes forward too hard. This is a programming “hook” that allows the hunter to insert themselves into this collected puppy mind so that the dog gives credit to the hunter as the access channel to the bird, and this learning is an emotional bond which the dog associates with keeping the crashes of a collapsing attraction at bay. Nature is the master at programming, of doing many things with the same and smallest modules of code. Thus the pure emotional state of attraction wherein the nervous system of the prey controls the nervous system of the predator, is the same module which organizes how a mother relates to her baby. The pure preyful aspects of the baby dilate the mother’s body/mind as a pipe, i.e. there is no resistance between them, and the mother can fulfill her attraction to her baby by being soft in touch and manner, and she becomes acutely sensitive to calming the baby’s pangs and fears, her flight characteristics, as these are internal crashes for the mother as well.
In my model, all relationships are a function of the predator—>prey dynamic of emotion. This might sound like a radical statement, but it is the most conservative thing to say given that the predator/prey relationship is the first relationship to evolve between organisms, traceable all the way back to primitive parasite/hosts dynamics, which in advanced organisms are a positive symbiotic (think friendly bacteria in the gut) as well as an adversarial relationship that we usually think of. (But from a network, wide-angle view, even these might not be deleterious. For example too many raccoons and then distemper or rabies sweeps through and keeps their numbers in check so that the prey can rebound. )
Thanks Kevin, I found this helpful. And I think the prey/predator model for attraction is perfect like yin and yang, they transform each other and couldn’t exist without each other. Basically, it keeps everything in order, or rather brings it back to order when there is imbalance.
So it is true that different breeds have different temperaments, and that it would be difficult to train a pit bull to be a bird dog, for example, or for a bird dog to take down a large prey because by nature they are attuned to different sort of prey vibrations?