Stump the Chump Part 2

From Christine Randolph: “One of my dogs jumps up to lie on my belly and licks my face, I understand that is a regurgitation signal for parents.

She also pushes her cheek to mine and yodels excitedly while wagging her tail. especially if I start singing a song for her at that stage (resonating chambers?)

Would all that be behaviors that prompt regurgitation?”

I agree as Lee has said that it represents a sublimated bite, but I also would like to look at it from the perspective of the dog pressing near to get to Christine’s face and deconstruct the behavior from there. Putting aside for now any functional benefit of the behavior, as in prompting another being to regurgitate food, which I contend is derivative and not fundamental, why does the dog want to get close to Christines’ eyes? What do eyes represent to a dog, or to any animal for that matter and what effects do the eyes of another being exert on an animal’s body/mind? In other words, try to account for the behavior without using anything related to a thought or the construct of time as in cause and effect;  an immediate-moment interpretation.

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Published June 23, 2010 by Kevin Behan

32 responses to “Stump the Chump Part 2”

  1. Christine says:

    I’m liking this…sensai is turning it around on us to challenge us!

  2. kbehan says:

    Yes Grasshopper

  3. Christine says:

    I will pose a “Stump a Chump” to LCK regarding howling: Duncan is the first to howl when I initiate or when I’m watching an IWC video that includes the Ambassador Pack howling (sometimes he only has to hear their growling, etc., and he will start to howl). My question is two-fold: He will often give me a bit of a “whale-eye” as he’s howling and I’m wondering what’s going on underneath to prompt it; also, Diva is a hybrid and has a % of wolf genes but is 2nd to join in but hers is not so much a howl as it is shrill barking mixed with some howling. She’s more closely tied genetically speaking so why doesn’t she have a better defined howl?

  4. Christine says:

    Eyes are the negative and negative grants access to the positive…I know I’m heading in the right direction here but I’m not much of a closer at this point in time so I’ll have to go and think a bit and do some digging for a more complete interpretation…it’s about flow, connectedness and flipping polarities. Ah’l be back…! lol

  5. Christine says:

    btw…I’m off work for 4-wks so I can come out and play more for awhile! Yeah! 🙂

  6. christine randolph says:

    yo ! I think it is interesting that eyes would come up even though i did not mention them.

    this dog has licked a little boy’s eyes. I would not even have seen (they were rolling around on the floor together)

    The boy was very surprised and asked me why she is licking his eyeballs.

    she also licks eyeballs that are painted on toys.

    Kevin also had described his dog jumping up and with much precision licking his eyes from that position, not an easy feat !

    maybe the liquid covering the eye is attractive to dogs because it is saline solution.

    As an aside I think as a result of me teaching my dogs to push for food as per NDT, this dog is now more eager to push any part of the body into me in a variety of situations, i.e. when I am prone and she does that excited face licking.

    I wanted to thank Kevin for making it clear that dogs coming into the owner in a vaguely aggressive manner, (jumping up for food, offering sublimated bites, responding to stalking in a forward manner etc.) is a good thing and helps build an energetic basis for a type of communication that dogs can understand without being specifically taught any skills.

    Being relatively new to dogs (3 years) I would never have guessed this on my own. I would have taught mostly impulse control instead…it would have been sad and would have deprived me of feeling my dogs’ pure energy and the pure relationship with my dogs.

    it rings very true to my nature and the dogs’ nature.

  7. christine randolph says:

    Here’s a web site that quotes what I had assumed, there are also others…

    (…was I going to do a stump the chump on
    L.David Mech …?)

    “…If needed, the alpha wolves may use physical force to prevent the other pack members from mating….”

    it’s amazing how remnants of behaviour are prevalent in individual dogs, but not in all dogs, and many of these can be traced back to certain behaviours that are displayed by and are useful for wolves..

    I also found another answer to something i had been wondering about. One reason for wolves to kill members of their own pack is incidents of epilepsy or other significant disabilities, for instance impairment after an accident, i.e. leg injury.

  8. Heather says:

    What I would say based on my (current, it is changing!) understanding of the NDT principles is that the eyes are generally a predator aspect of a being, perceived as pushing out energy. As the dog got closer physically to the big negative of Christine’s eyes, the dog would have to vibrate more intensely than Christine, building up a lot of charge, which is released via the yodeling. This would be a social expression, right? Also there is the issue of the physical situation – Christine must be lying on her back or leaning back, for the dog to be on her belly and cheek-to-cheek – so whereas usually an upright human looking really closely at a dog would be a lot of predatory-ness so the dog might go belly-up or run away, Christine in her position actually has a good amount of “preyful” energy, and the dog being on top of her has some predator energy, they are counterbalancing each other and their singing together is moving the energy/sllowing them to align without either of them having to physically move.

  9. Heather says:

    Why would the dog want to get close to Christine’s eyes? Is it that there is a very strong attraction and since the eyes are the biggest negative, making contact at eye level (or actually with the eyes, in the case of licking) would be overcoming the most resistance and thus feel the best?

  10. kbehan says:

    Yes, the negative-is-access-to-the-positive, the (-) being the eyes, and the (+) being anything to do with the body (rounded form, scents, motion, flesh, blood, etc.) but still this is an abstraction, what is going on inside the dog, what compels the dog to deal with the negative and/or positive?

  11. kbehan says:

    Getting closer, but how exactly does the dog experience the predatory aspect as “pushing out energy”? (Your more detailed analysis of the energetic interplay between them is very good however it would be based on top of this more fundamental mechanism that is the originating catalyst within the dog itself.)

  12. kbehan says:

    All energy goes from high concentration to lower one, with emotion this means from predatory to preyful aspect. Therefore this is the organizing principle of all interactions. The capacity of an individual to reflect projected emotion back to the projector of emotion (via its predatory aspect) allows emotion to ping and pong so that it can elaborate into a more complex expression of behavior (Feeling/Drive) and evolve into social expressions. When the reflecting process breaks down, then stress reserves come out and we can see intense predatory expressions as if out of the blue, which is incorrect because all behavior is predicated on this template. So a puppy is born defective and can’t reflect emotion back to mother and she eats it. An owner steps on one of their dog’s toes, it squeaks in pain (intense spike of pained energy that collapses the social connection) and another dog attacks it. One of my chickens gets a kink in their actions, and the other ones will peck it to death. So there is no “reason” why animals do this, but yes it does service the efficient distribution of energy in nature. It reflects a law of nature that emotion goes from predatory to preyful aspect and that all interactions and interrelationships are based on this platform.

  13. Heather says:

    As a build up of pressure, the intensity of which triggers a certain layer of the emotional battery/physical memory (mother?)

  14. kbehan says:

    In regards to why the dog is drawn to the eyes, yes there would be a specific layer of physical memory triggered according to a specific degree of intensity, but even before this, we have two components; a) why is there pressure being experienced by the dog (or any animal) being looked at, b) where in the dog’s body is the dog’s mind focused on when it is being looked at?

  15. Crystal says:

    Oh sir? Sir?

    a) any animal being looked at experiences pressure because eyes hyper-focus the looker’s energy which would feel predatory to the lookee. So the dog feels prey-like inside and then flips the polarity by jumping up and licking the face of said predator.

    Both my pups will jump up on my bed and then jump their paws onto my shoulders when I am getting dressed. Big lick fest of the face, mostly mouth, Bea actually gnaws a bit too, tons of body wagging and often Bea yodels. The more I laugh the more crazy they get.

    This can happen if I am laying down too. Bea is small enough to actually stand on me. The dogs will stare right into my eyes. All of us have very crinkly, laughing eyes.

    b) the dog’s mind is in the small brain, the gut.

    My best NDT newbie thoughts.

  16. Heather says:

    b) I’m thinking that pressure is felt in big brain in the head, and goes from high concentration to low (gut, ingestion) if contact is made a) why the pressure – the predator is projecting its emotional cog onto the object of attraction, but I feel I’m missing some understanding here.

  17. kbehan says:

    Some very good elements here, not bad for a newbie. Yes, the dog flips polarity in response to the pressure. But if we visualize here a dog being looked at from a distance, a less complex context then dogs on the bed, (what is NDT coming to?) where does the look of another being ultimately register within the body if being stared at is intense enough? (the little-brain in the gut is very close to the answer I’m looking for)

  18. kbehan says:

    Very close, if the predator is projecting its emotional center-of-gravity onto the object of attraction, where does the object of attraction sense the gaze penetrating to?

  19. Heather says:

    I would say that if the ping-pong is taking place, the object of attraction senses the gaze in the heart (the “resonating chamber”), from which feelings evolve.

  20. kbehan says:

    At the more complex level of a feeling that’s what I believe as well, but before that happens, where does the dog sense its “self” when it is the object of intense attention?

  21. Heather says:

    It must be the genitals? But please elaborate!

  22. christine randolph says:


    my brain cannot capture this information as it is presented in the written word.

    I think Kevin’s expression is dense. I am too dense to understand the dense thicket of processes

    from eye to … brain to small brain to … the object of attraction … and back again…

    how about some diagrams.

    will there be diagrams in the new book ?

  23. KB: “where does the dog sense its self when it is the object of intense attention?”

    Good question. I would say that a dog feels social connections through his solar plexus, he feels his prey drive in his jaws and genitals, and that raw fear hits him most strongly at the base of his tail.

    So I’m going to go with the solar plexus. I would imagine that too much attention would overload that part of the emotional body, throwing the dog off balance emotionally.


  24. kbehan says:

    I hope you don’t begin to think of this as a trick question, but it really in my mind is the key to animal consciousness. The kernel of a dog’s sense of self can at times reside in the solar plexus, as well as other parts of the body such as the genitals, because it’s not actually something material, and yet it’s the core of a dog’s sense of self and conscious awareness, the basis of its equilibrium, and in fact you wrote about its more complex elaboration recently on your psyche today blog.

  25. kbehan says:

    The “Emotional Center of Gravity” so I’m asking what is the kernel of the e-cog?

  26. Heather says:

    I was thinking you meant where in the dog’s body is the diffused tension/sensation of being the object of attraction felt, but are you referring to a shared consciousness, a dog’s sense of self encompassing the other being looking at him –such that his emotional center of gravity might be projected onto that being (then dog’s sense of self would not be in his body at all)?

  27. Kevin,

    I’m not sure what you mean by “kernel.”

    But Heather’s right. And in my article on the “Emotional Center of Gravity,” I make the comparison between the way humans project their emotional centers of gravity onto action sequences in motion pictures, when they’re playing video games, and even onto a golf ball or baseball, etc., when watching a sporting event.

    Of course dogs don’t have a “sense of self.” But if they did it would be centered in any object of attraction (as long as the dog’s level of attraction were high enough for him to project his energy onto it). This might include other dogs, interesting scents, tennis balls, Frisbees, squirrels, skateboarders, joggers, cyclists, his owners, and yes, even lawnmowers.


  28. Crystal says:

    It’s in the stomach.

  29. Heather says:

    Maybe Kevin is intending “kernel” to refer to a component of an operating system, ie, the network consciousness that drives evolution. The kernel of each dog would be his temperament, ie, how he turns energy into information, encompassing the whole body-mind circuit? Or maybe just the more common usage of “basic component” of something. I am totally out of ideas…

  30. christine randolph says:

    there’s a flow chart software called lovely charts.

    it’s free.

    i used to do flow charts for my work. if someone has not had much exposure to such software it could be difficult.

    if you have no one else i can try to draw the diagrams if you send me handwritten notes.

    i would say a kernel is the center of a center i.e. the nucleus. “Kern”,means seed in german. seed from a cherry or a peach or some such thing. kirschkern oder pfirsichkern.

    so my belly button is attached to my dog’s belly button… i can feel that sometimes now.

    on the other hand, i have no idea how a ping comes about and makes itself into a pong at the other end, where the other end is or can be and.. how I can use all that in an actual training exercise and still know whether i am in the ping or pong state. maybe that is not important ? maybe it is not as complicated as it seems to me ?

    a dog has no sense of self as in,, he.she cannot recognize HIM.herself in a mirror…

    …not sure why that is such a big deal…a mirror…a dog can see his or her own paw and figure out that this paw is attached to him.herself.

    fact is, a dog can adapt to a myriad different surroundings.

    This is in part facilitated by, as Kevin says, projecting strong attraction and attention into each element of the environment, and acting according to the feedback they receive.

    since a being like a dog, is able to work sensitively, with some inherent logic and a lot of accuracy, repeatability in their feedback-loop thingies,
    and also is able to learn god knows how many new things every day,

    and every member of the species is different and able to do different things well, and scared of different things at different thresholds etc etc

    typically such a being, a dog or other non human intelligent being, almost automatically has a sense of self….

    the sense of self must be rudimentary and very different from the human sense of self. else the mirror thing would work.

    to me the self of a dog or animal is expressed in the ability of the dog to choose.

    The self is represented in the fact that the dog has to and will choose (just like a human) what to do in each moment, she or he her”self” or him”self” chooses from a bunch of options given the freedom and the opportunity.

    even just lounging around the house.

    go to sleep in my bed, go to sleep in my brother’s bed, mom’s bed etc., I keep finding the “wrong” dog in the “wrong” dog bed…

    to me, they choose this bed versus the other via a sense of self expressed in temporary preferences similar to human preferences, in that they are changeable and vary with the weather, mood, intangible factors ?

    this is a very rudimentary type of “self”. it probably does not count for most people…

    i do think the mirror test is also flaky, I believe a lot of real clever people do as well. in other words, we do not have a very good test about where a sense of self would start in an animate being.

  31. Christine says:

    The kernel of the e-cog would have to be emotional capacity, or carrying capacity of emotion. Isn’t that what emotional intelligence is all about, how big a load you can carry and how well (easily) you can process what your carrying to induce flow, resonance and the ability to flip polarities, be the yin to another’s yang. And that’s my final answer! (No, not really, I can redress if necessary…honest!)

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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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