On “Being the Moose”

I don't think it takes any leap of imagination to see the emotional leverage the moose in the video below enjoys over the dog as predator.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=JQU9INFBDRU

Because a Moose has a strong predatory aspect, its head is very high, it triggers deep physical memories in the dog, which is why it is barking in a deep, metered cadence, very coherently in other words. It's easy for the dog in this case to control itself because the barking is tantamount to running, and were the Moose to run then dog could recapitulate the feeling of a soft mouth, which is the Pavlovian Equivalence of being emotionally connected, and the dog wouldn't be barking. The vital dynamic here is that because the Moose doesn't run from the pressure the dog projects onto the Moose, and because the Moose reflects the dogs'  intensity back at it by the bull rush and kicks, the dog is losing steam with the Active/Direct approach. The system can only get in motion once the poles flip and Moose goes to Active/Direct and the dog flips to Reactive/Indirect and off they go merrily running down the road with Prey rightly in "control" of Predator. Things are cooking now.

It also wouldn't be hard to imagine how easy it would be for that Moose to train the dog to heel, sit, down, stay and come-when-called if somehow it were to feel the urge to do so. So dog owners take note, Be The Moose.

Meanwhile, note how everything the dog does is self-referenced by the owner. The owner can only see himself in the dog, he's referencing the dog as an extension of his Self, but then only has his thoughts to go by rendering him unable to apprehend what's going on. It's all about the dog keeping the moose off his property, and he probably sees the dog as warning him by barking, and then he remonstrates about how unfair it is that a well-fed Malamute who curls up around the fire on a sub-freezing night, can't be allowed to harass a Moose who is out there all winter exposed to to the elements, fending off wolves and hanging onto a slim hold on existence by nibbling hemlock twigs and needles.
Published April 22, 2014 by Kevin Behan
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2 responses to “On “Being the Moose””

  1. Sundog Fitz says:

    I am still really only at the surface of being able to absorb the A/D/R/I concept so I am not sure where this question fits. I am curious about how both the moose and the dog “flee” (flops?) when the other “charges” (flips?) but not in “run for my life” way. This seems to me the most telling that the two are actually in the same flow/feeling pattern (I am struggling NOT to use the word communicate, but I just cannot come up with another descriptor) and want to perpetuate the dynamic vs end it with a “kill”.

  2. Kevin Behan says:

    Being in the same flow/feeling pattern is at the root of all communication, it’s just that we have to be careful and not attach human thoughts and rationale to the discourse because it works according to principles of energy. For the dog, there wasn’t enough flow when he was Direct/Active to the moose, who by temperament will lock up into Direct/Active when under pressure, not as flexible as a dog. So it was the dog that flipped to be the equal/opposite emotional pole of the Moose and this is when the system kicked into high gear. What the dog got out of it was a softening of his shoulders as he danced and ran ahead, a smooth form of breathing that was now in accord with the high speed of running and which he didn’t have to compensate for by barking, and then this smooth transmission of energy into action made him feel a soft mouth, the physical memory of being intimately connected. So while they never got to a concrete point of resolution, the brief moments of synchronized flow were sustaining enough for the dog. When the wave they were achieving petered out down the road, then the dog is happy to trot back home.

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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.