Under the Frequently Asked Questions Department:
Many trainers think that because I”m arguing for a new paradigm this means they have to throw their training regime wholesale out the window.
“Give me a reason to throw almost three years of training out the window to try your method. How many dogs have you titled with this method?”
Modern trainers may not realize it, but they may already be standing on a pile that has shifted over the years due to Natural Dog Training. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of the working dog people are using techniques I invented in the eighties. I don’t know if someone else invented these independently elsewhere, but I was teaching them in police dog seminars for about ten years and now I see them in common usage. I was led toward these techniques by my understanding that there is only one drive, that it is in service to synchronizing group action for the hunt, and that the group aligns around the feeling of potential energy. In other words, a dog learns to self-moderate not out of deference to an external voice of authority, or due to an association, but rather because it can feel potential energy by going in a new direction, and therefore it becomes willing to learn a new response because it’s not experiencing any loss of emotional momentum even when it must hold itself back in the short term. For example, I began to use two sleeves to teach police and protection dogs to “out.” The dog didn’t learn to let go because his handler commanded to do so per se, but because letting go meant more energy, ergo the second sleeve that it then got to bite. Also, in those days police trainers taught their dog the call off, meaning they would send their dog after a criminal but be able to call it off midway if they saw the need. But this put an emotional kink in their dog’s performance and you could see the dog slowing up rather than running hellbent after the criminal because he could feel that his handler was about to interrupt his drive. So I taught the exercise by having a dog on a long lead and dragging the handler toward the fleeing helper. At some point the handler would gradually slow and increase resistance to the point where he would stop, all the while without saying a word. Meanwhile depending on the dog, the fleeing helper would either run in place or duck behind a nearby blind, and this at some point prompted the dog to look back at its handler. At this moment the handler issued a command and immediately directed the dog to the emergence of a second helper now fleeing 180 degrees away from the first helper, thus taking the dog toward its handler. The dog then learned to come off a fleeing person without hesitation and only if it heard the command from its handler. Another technique I used to teach at seminars was putting the sleeve on a long line as its introduction to the hard sleeve, especially effective at helping the young or the softer dogs with its introduction and to build up any dogs’ civil arousal toward a helper not wearing the sleeve. At any rate, no matter who was the first to develop such ideas, these and other techniques that are the mainstay of working dogs’ work are only logically consistent with the NDT energy paradigm.