Stump the Chump

Thanks to Christine for suggesting this section! The following is an excerpt from her comment:

“My first contribution is a scenario:
A few years ago my family was out at camp. My sister brought her dog “Happy” a very nervous and high-strung beagle mix. The first thing she did was to bite Duncan in the face! Duncan did not retaliate but later in the day, she and Duncan were hitched up opposite each other but not within striking distance. We were all sitting in the sun room and watched this scene unfold:

Happy was barking (obnoxiously) in Duncan’s face and wouldn’t stop. Duncan stood facing her and would look left and then look right, he’d turn around with his back to her and turn to look at her. All the while, every movement he made was slow and seemingly deliberate. As this scene played out, Happy stopped barking and watched Duncan intently. Before long they were standing in parallel both looking in the same direction and Happy was much calmer. At the time, this seemed to confirm Turid Rugaas’ explanations of Calming Signals. I’d like to hear Kevin’s explanation of NDT.

My first ‘Stump the Chump’ question is: Why is it that some dogs wait until their people come home before they will evacuate their bowels? (That is, for those dogs who are not crated all day and are let out by other people or are free to dump during the day.)”


Once we understand that a feeling is a wave, and that a wave is composed by two beings as equal and yet opposites relative to the other we can see that the two incidents {a) Happy and Duncan and (b) a dog waiting for the owner to come home in order to poop} are in fact variants on the same phenomenon.

a) The direct and intense expression of focused energy by Happy biting Duncan was an electrostatic discharge and so Duncan migrated to the magnetic polarity whereby he would be induced to express his energy via a deflected manner. And because he wasn’t matching her intensity with his own intensity, Happy couldn’t find any traction in his feedback and so she began to feel she was wasting energy and began to be tired as electrostatic discharges easily dissipate. By experiencing that she was losing energy by pushing out so much intensity, this gave Duncan a window to look directly at her with small looks, which then began to give her the experience of displacement and hence a strengthening of attraction toward Duncan from a more sober perspective of not wanting to waste any more energy. Meanwhile Duncan was moving side-to-side mirroring her energy (acting prey-like) which induced Happy to align with him along a central line of focus. So this back and forth and then mirroring is indeed calming, but it is not a signal in any way shape or form in regards to displaying one’s intentions relative to another. The two dogs are not two self-contained entities of intelligences, separate agencies of being, they are beginning to become one wave function, Duncan basically absorbing and smoothing out the electrical spikes of “Happy” until they collectively can describe one wave function. Duncan has a stronger temperament and so he will orient to the magnetic to balance Happy but he has no cognitive understanding of what he’s doing, he’s simply feeling more and can thereby feel the open magnetic polarity since Happy is occupying the electric one.

b) What’s going on between any two dogs is but a macroscopic extension of what’s going on within any dog via its bipolar, two-brain makeup. Big-Brain neuro-chemical electrical activity has to be grounded into little-brain smooth muscle peristaltic action in order for a dog to experience that it is emotionally digesting its surroundings and what’s happening to it. So to a dog, a feeling is a wave and the strongest organ of wave generation is the systemic rhythmic action of the stomach and intestines. In other words, a dog doesn’t make a distinction between a bowel movement and a feeling, which is why they turn around to inspect their own elimination since it is the only object available to account for what “touched” them. So when an owner praises his dog for eliminating, then the owner is associating himself with that wave function of a bowel movement, the owner is becoming the object of that feeling (which is why it’s even possible to housetrain a dog or cat in the first place) and thus becoming a component to this wave function. This means that a dog is attracted to his owner with the feeling of a strong intestinal contraction, the dog is emotionally “digesting” its owner, and because the peristaltic involuntary action of its deep smooth muscles is rhythmic, it’s pleasurable. So the dog gets excited to see its owner, and earliest physical memories come to the surface and the entire system gets revved up. For this reason when I work aggressive dogs, I contrive for them to relieve themselves next to another dog so that they give the other dog credit as the object for what made them feel good. If I can get them to synchronized pooping, I know it’s only a matter of time until they will want to play with each other because that’s the ultimate experience of emotional digestion.

*Please feel free to use the comments section of this post to pose your own Stump the Chump challenge!*

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Published June 21, 2010 by Kevin Behan
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72 responses to “Stump the Chump”

  1. christine randolph says:

    yeah but…. if the dog has just emptied his.her bowels because – whatever- it took too long for the owner to come home or someone else gave them a pee poop walk a half hour before the owner came home – then the dog will likely not again empty their bowels when the owner comes home. so are you saying the intestines contract every time the owner comes home., but we will not always have visible proof of that because. if the bowels are empty at the time, no poop ?

  2. Angelique says:

    Okay, Two questions, so what sort of proximity with the dual pooping would imply that it is anything more than a coincidence?

    And, is this why my GSD always poops when we play? It is very predictable.

  3. Donnie_O says:

    Jinxsie does something similar where she won’t pee if someone else has let her outside. I usually have to take her out of the yard before she will either pee or poop.

  4. I won’t comment on the pooping behavior (one reason being that since in my experience, it’s fairly rare, so it doesn’t much concern me). So I’ll focus instead on the first scenario, where Duncan was seemingly “sending calming signals” to Happy.

    First of all, dogs don’t have the cognitive ability to form the intent to change another dog’s behavior, let alone the intent to change the other dog’s internal emotional state. In fact, a dog can’t even form the intent to change his own behavior; all behavioral changes in dogs take place through how emotional energy either flows toward some form of resolution or gets blocked, which would then perpetuate the dog’s internal tension, causing the dog to keep seeking some form of release.

    Meanwhile, a dog’s social instincts are designed to foster or attain group harmony as much as possible. So whenever energy flows it has to flow in a harmonious way. And when energy gets blocked, that’s felt by the dog as a form of resistance or tension. And just as in music theory, tension always has to lead to some form of release, as in the case of a passing chord resolving to a major triad (or something along those lines).

    So there Duncan is, chained next to this obstreperous noisemaker, who’s vibrating out of control, i.e., she’s in disharmony with him (and with her own true nature, by the way). Is Duncan sending her calming signals or trying to attain a state of harmony? Are his behaviors “calming signals” or are they more like someone who’s tuning a guitar string, and keeps fiddling with the tuning mechanism until his one string is in tune (i.e., vibrating in harmony with all the others)?

    In Duncan’s case, his vibrations are minimal compared to Happy’s. And his behaviors are more akin to the way a musician moves his or her hand while playing a theremin than to the way Eric Clapton’s roadie would go about tuning his guitar for him.

    Each of Duncan’s moves are an effort to achieve a sympathetic vibration or inner harmony for himself, which in this case, finally resulted in creating an harmonic connection to Happy.


  5. kbehan says:

    I’ll have one dog off/lead if I can trust him, or a helper handling him, and although he’s not necessarily ready to play yet I know that when they start to poop in close order, and relatively proximal, then they’re half way to making contact and being able to let down their guard toward each other. Prior to this, they’ve been smelling each others markings and so they’ve been ingesting each others essence and this has begun the synchronization process when then becomes physically manifest through the above behaviors.
    So when you play with your GSD, you’re moving a lot of energy and the smooth muscles begin to relax as you trigger the deeper aspects of the dog’s battery, and again the act of elimination is a physical manifestation of the emotional movement.

  6. kbehan says:

    I like the tuning into harmony treatment you’re making here. The body is a resonating chamber, being in harmony (wave form) is the most efficient way of being, and so the interaction between the two dogs reflects the auto-tuning/feedback dynamic of a feeling within the medium of emotion, just like two musical instruments being tuned to a sympathetic vibration.

  7. christine randolph says:

    so now what if someone wanted to ask another stump the chump question ?

    i.e. 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 (resonnating chambers?)

    would all that be behaviours that prompt regurgitation ? would it be useful to fake a regurgitation of some food for her at that point ?

  8. I see licking as a sublimation of the urge to bite. Remember, puppies learn how to bite each other in play, and it’s a very pleasant experience as long as no one bites down too hard. So they learn to soften their bites.

    Puppies also learn early how to lick each other’s mouths to get bits of milk or kibble that might be there.

    It’s possible that she licks you because of an atavistic impulse, related to how wolves and other mammals and birds regurgitate food for their young, but I don’t think so.

    As for yodeling, you’re right on the money. I used to howl once in a while to pester Freddie. He didn’t like howling, but did it along with me anyway, sort of against his will. (Yes, I was occasionally mean to him…)


  9. Christine says:

    Lee, just curious but how did you know that Freddie howled against his will?

  10. First of all, he was usually fast asleep or resting when I started howling, and he always woke up with an annoyed look on his face.

    Secondly, I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just an ineffable feeling you get when you know your dog really well.

    Another thing is that once I quit howling, he kept at it, but his voice slowly faded out, ending with a kind of whimpering sound.


  11. christine randolph says:

    this lady sue ailsby whose seminar i just attended said that puppies definitely lick the corners of their pack partners’ mouths to initiate regurgitation….i guess it is only one of many possible explanations…

    since so far i never gave her food for this behaviour, one would think it would extinguish itself…if it were exclusively food related.

    heres what i found on

    …2. In the wild pups will lick their mothers lips when she returns to the den as they want her to regurgitate food for them. They will also generally make a fuss of her and that is the stimulus for her to vomit up the food …..

    my dog starts the yodeling first and I chime in…so it becomes some kind of a duet. i was using chajorie sukarije, a song from the borat movie which is kind of yodelly.

    very stupid but fun. what about her pressing her cheek to mine ? like tango dancers.

    what about this one to stump the experts. my yodel dog who is female humps my leg. is this her way to tell me she wants babies ? then my other female dog jumps in, growls at her baby sister until she stops, then sniffs the humpy dog’s genital area as though she were looking for any evidence of male genitals that would be consistent with the humping behaviour.

    do alpha dogs/wolves, the parental couple, etc. control who mates with whom in their pack ?

  12. Christine says:

    Christine, you should check out Dave Mech’s website/books…he is “top dog” in all things wolfie. I would also recommend the International Wolf Center website as they are closely tied in with Mech and his work; besides, they do a fabulous job managing their Ambassador Pack and dispensing educational info. They post weekly videos to YouTube and logs on each wolf and generously share all their acquired and experiential learnings on wolves. AND they are celebrating their 25th Anniversary this year and hoping to acquire more members/fans, etc. I’d encourage anyone who loves canines to at least check them out!

  13. Christine says:

    Kevin, I do have another “Stump the Chump” scenario for you (I have too much time on my hands now! lol):
    I’m sitting on the couch with Duncan (4-5 months/newly adopted) on my lap (I know, I know, BIG NDT NO-NO). Bodie goes and picks up a treat ball and starts rolling it around. Duncan notices, pricks his ears but stays put. Bodie picks up the treat ball and gets up on the other end of the couch and drops it over the side, out-of-sight. Duncan jumps off to go find it. Bodie comes over and lays down on my lap, seemingly very pleased with himself (it’s his rightful spot anyway, he thinks).
    Now this looks very much like fluid reasoning to most people. What is the NDT explanation for what is really going on?

  14. christine randolph says:

    Hey yes. I went to the wolf discovery center in Golden B.C. early this year. we were there anyway for a ski race. it was a bit of a let down, only a couple of wolves, and one of the was a hybrid. they take wolves out for a walk every once in a while and a visitor can go along. it costs several hundred dollars but how cool. apparently the owners raised these wolves from pups so they are able to run them off leash and the wolves will come back.

    I guess if wolves could talk, they would not call it “raised by wolves”, but “raised by godawful mean spirited humans” ???

  15. kbehan says:

    Let’s nibble around the edges first with the question, which dog is more into the ball, Duncan or Bodie?

  16. Without nibbling, I once answered a similar question posed by a dog owner on a behavior board. In this case Dog A had a toy that Dog B wanted. So Dog B, whom the owner perceived to be less dominant (which in my view means she was less anxious and also less direct than her “dominant” cohabitant) would try various ways to get dog Dog A to give up the toy.

    At a certain level of frustration (my word, not the owner’s), Dog B would stop trying to get Dog A to give up the toy, and would instead run to the front door and start barking, as if at a noise outside.

    This always caused Dog A, who felt it was “her job” to deter interlopers, to drop the toy, race to the door, and start barking furiously at a nonexistent stranger.

    While she was thus engaged, Dog B would run back to the living room and scoop up the toy she wanted.

    This seems very reasoned and very deliberate, no?

    So I was stumped. It seemed to me that this was either a made up story, or that the dog really was thinking this all through.

    But as I thought about it, a mental image popped into my head of a similar scenario, where Dog B wanted the ball, and actually heard a noise outdoors. At a certain level of frustration, she quit trying to get the toy from Dog A and, instead, redirected her energy into running to the door and barking.

    Dog A came running too. In my mind Dog A was always more committed to barking at noises, so once Dog A took over the barking, Dog B was free to do whatever she wanted. What she wanted to do was grab the toy, so she ran back to the living room and got it.

    Then, at a subsequent time of conflict between the two dogs, once Dog B’s level of frustration reached the same peak that it had during that previous event, she felt that the straightest through-line to feeling the toy in her mouth again, came through barking at the door. So she ran to the door and barked.

    I outlined this scenario, including my general sketch of each of the dogs’ personality traits.

    The owner wrote back and said the scenario I proposed, as pure conjecture had, in fact, taken place. And that personalities of the two dogs were just as I had described them. She added on fact that I had thought might be a factor, but felt unsure about suggesting: Dog B had better hearing than Dog A.

    Kevin has said that there is no dominance hierarchy but a hierarchy of desire. Yes, Dog A had the toy, but Dog B wanted it more. If she had given up trying, there would have been no convoluted process of getting to it by barking at the door.

    I would suggest that your scenario is much the same, only it’s far less convoluted. Plus Duncan is easier to “fool.”

    But it’s not a thought-based behavior. It’s purely emotional.


  17. Sang says:

    Same situation as 2 of my dogs. They do this all the time. Jackie has bone. Delta wants bone. Delta LOVES chewing on bones, more so than the other dogs. Delta lies in front of Jackie putting pressure on her. Jackie continues to chew on bone and does not give it up. After a little while, Delta jumps up, barks at something outside and goes to door. Jackie immediately drops bone and runs to door. Delta stops barking, turns around and goes and gets bone.

    For Delta, her coping mechanism for dealing with internal tension has always been to bark at things. Any little thing that caused her a slight bit of frustration, tension, or resistance was a reason to bark. Which in many ways was good since at least she was moving energy. But a way to settle her was to give her something to chew on, like a bone. She’s always been a big chewer. So for her, barking at seemingly random, odd things outside, ultimately led to her getting what she wanted, which was resolution through chewing the bone. And since time isn’t linear, for her, barking worked since the barking ultimately gets her what she wants.

    So when her frustration and tension builds from not getting what she wants when Jackie has the bone, she follows the same path that’s always gotten her what she wants. She starts to feel the tension build, which triggers her to bark at something “outside”, even though nothing is going on outside. But to her the buildup of that tension triggers the physical memory of when she was younger, recreating the same feeling of something actually being outside. So in her world she is actually hearing something outside again even though there is nothing outside, which of course triggers her to bark, which gets Jackie to drop the bone, and then Delta now gets the bone she wanted, which brings her the resolution she was looking for.

    This happens like clockwork if Jackie has a bone that Delta wants. It always plays out the same way, like watching the same movie over and over again. Even though you’ve seen it dozens of times, you wonder if it will play out differently this time, and of course it never does.

    Pretty crazy. 🙂

  18. kbehan says:

    Lee is exactly right, and I would summarize it all according to physical memory and the urge for grounding. When Duncan is on your lap, (oh my) and Bodie looks at him, Bodie feels intensity because his access is blocked, this then rises to the point whereby it triggers the physical memory of a ball out of sight, again it’s the same energetic situation, access blocked and so Duncan who I’m sure is more ball oriented (hierarchy of desire) is aroused and gets ball and then Bodie finds access channel open to your lap on the couch. (oh my) At first this linkage is made via physical memory; for example, when you’re playing fetch with Duncan Bodie is getting stimulated without grounding and perhaps trying to steal the ball, so it’s the physical memory of being blocked (but it’s not found at random but according to specific physical memories) and then after the first experience it can take on a life of its own. I can easily see how this is misinterpreted as logical reasoning when in fact it displays the opposite as in Sang’s story wherein the results are always predictable. If dogs could think, why would they always fall for the ruse? Why would a dog chase a ball, twice?

  19. Christine says:

    Just as a sidebar, this scenario played out a few years ago when Duncan was a newbie in my household (I’m weaning myself away from allowing them on the couch with me, which I enjoyed tremendously 🙁 )

    Back to the nibbling: I’d have to say that Bodie is waaayyyy more ball oriented than Duncan (who is the one that steals the ball and then it’s no longer interesting so drops it). I used to play hide n’ seek with Bodie inside the house B.D. (Before Duncan) so perhaps that’s the physical memory he’s falling back to, being blocked from me. It’s impossible to play ball with anyone except Bodie as he always interferes; I’ve always had to put him away if I wanted to play ball with Duncan. Even with Bodie blocked from playing, Duncan is still not overly enthusiastic about fetching. Although that did change after Diva came on board. She overrides Bodie when playing ball (inside the house that is; it’s all together different when we are outside).

    Humans are the only beings who see time as linear; it’s an imperfect construct based on our limited ability to perceive the universe as it truly is.

    At any rate…this is great fun! But I’m ready to nod off (I turn into a pumpkin at 9 pm!)

  20. Angelique says:

    Here’s a different barking scenario. Stevie was in the yard with my daughter while she was mowing the lawn. He’s always been unconcerned about the lawn mower. The lawn mower died and she kept trying to restart it but it wouldn’t catch. Her frustration mounted to the point that she stomped away in anger into the house. I went outside to start the mower and as soon as I touched it Stevie started barking grounded, deep, rhythmic barks, I stepped back, he stopped, I touched it again and he started again for about 15 seconds, it was actually startling in it’s rhythmic consistency. What was this about? The potential energy of the mower? The potential energy of the frustrated human at the mower?

  21. kbehan says:

    I think that Stevie barked at the mower reflects the work you’re doing with him, speak on command, in conjunction with a principle that I’m talking about in regards to the other barking scenario about where in a dog’s body it feels its “self” as object of attention. This principle can be summed up by what I call a “group trigger.” You and your daughter projected something into the mower and this touched the dog somewhere in his body. I hope I’m not being too cryptic.

  22. christine randolph says:

    dog A employing problem solving behaviour to get at the toy.bone. does it really matter if it is thought or emotion ? it is a repeatable strategy employed by the dog to solve his.her problem.
    as long as the problem is solved in the end, the dog will employ this strategy, if for whatever reason, the result changes and is not favourable in the dog’s eyes, the dog will stop employing this strategy.
    if it is emotion driving this, it is one that is pretty darn close to thinking…

    but what’s in a name, that which we call a rose…by any other name would smell as sweet…

    I think it is SWEET that our dogs have this problem solving ability. Modelling on this obviously completely untaught and natural behaviour, we can figure out how to teach them LOTS OF STUFF !

    the barking at the mower resembles the bark i get from one of my dogs for things and beings he DESPERATELY wants to play with but is a bit scared of. pigs in a pig sty, my cat who hits him on the nose if he gets too close etc. he also makes play bows at the same time. the retriever from next door also does it to my cat. seems pretty common. I think it is that bark that Kevin tells us is an indicator that fear is in the process of being overcome….

  23. Christine says:

    For me it matters. It might only be a matter of semantics for some and that’s okay. From my own perspective, I want to be known and appreciated for who I am not what someone else’s idea is of who I am or should be; I don’t want to be compelled to live up to others expectations. So I attribute that same feeling to my puppers. It also seems to me that a relationship built on a solid foundation based on accurate knowledge would be far more fulfilling than a relationship built on false perceptions/sand, for all parties.

    Besides, it’s a fascinating area of study and understanding what’s really going on is only going to benefit us individually and collectively. It’s a hard scrabble to be sure but the view from the top will surely be exhilarating!

  24. Christine Randolph: “dog A employing problem solving behaviour to get at the toy.bone. does it really matter if it is thought or emotion ?”

    Yes. It matters a great deal. It’s often a huge “ah-hah!” moment for most dog owners, one that totally changes the way they look at their dogs. Knowing that a dog isn’t doing something out of spite, or because he “planned” it, or because she “knew” what she was doing all along, can instantly change the entire relationship dynamic between the dog and owner for the better.

    So, yes. I think that matters.


  25. kbehan says:

    Yes, remember that the lawn mower is a living being from a dog’s point of view if it provokes an emotional response in the dog. A dog’s sense of what is animate is not limited to the concrete forms that our human mind fixates on. The lawnmower becomes an extension of Angelique or her daughter’s being if they project their energy into it, which they do when they pay attention to the lawn mower and fuss over it. Thus, the dog feels unbalanced by the lawnmower that’s not moving, standing there inertly, resisting all the energy that Angelique’s daughter invested in accelerating it, and the dog barks at it just as if it is a living being. The dog is trying to accelerate its own emotional mass which would be happening if the lawnmower were to be moving.
    I’m going to look into getting up to computer speed so I can diagram all this so I don’t have to rely only on words, but hang in there for if you start to see at least one or two things as a function of the immediate moment then you can learn to see the whole model in action as dogs interact and perform complex things.

  26. Crystal says:

    Not to dog pile here, because I actually have wondered about the ability to reason in my dogs, too, especially when Colt will roll a ball with his paws 15 feet to clean the sand off in the river before he picks it up, but the terminology makes a great deal of difference to me as well. Since I have been working from this emotional/energy perspective the relationship dynamic as LCK says, has, indeed changed between myself and my pups. It was always a good relationship, but it didn’t always work.

    Must also say that on a personal level I am moving a block within myself that I have cognitively worked on for years. Will it be REmoved? Don’t know, but it’s not in my way as much as it used to be.

  27. Christine says:

    Another Stump the Chump Challenge: A deaf dog recognizes the approach of a beloved person in a vehicle. The vehicle is not in visual range and is a strange vehicle, one the beloved has never driven up in. Deaf dog exhibits recognition by exited jumping, hooting and banging into sliding glass door to get inside. How is it that the deaf dog recognized the approach of said beloved?

  28. kbehan says:

    Ultimately, ultimately, consciousness is energy and gains mass via emotion (in this dimension) and can displace time/space in a manner beyond our intellectual comprehension that is fixated on form, time and cause and effect in a linear sequence of events. In the strangeness of the quantum realm there is a form of communication (displacement) that doesn’t recognize the distance of space or time. You can see the signature of this from time to time in the things animals and even people are capable of. When I ran a boarding kennel once or twice a year I’d be with the dogs in the main building and one of the dogs would become extremely excited. I learned to go to the office and sure enough a few minutes later their owner pulled in a day or two early and hadn’t called ahead. Here in Vermont one of my clients used to land at the Albany airport and their dog would begin to howl. I’d note the time since the dog never did that while he stayed with me. Later when they picked up their dog we’d check times. Then once, they decided after having landed and been on the road for an hour, to head directly to me instead of going to their university job first and pickup the dog the next day as scheduled. He started yipping excitedly as he would have done right before he went for a car ride. Five minutes later they called on the cell phone to tell me they were on their way. Some physicist once remarking on quantum mechanics said that the Universe isn’t stranger than we imagine, it’s stranger than we can imagine.

  29. Burl says:

    Get your aspirin ready…

    Christine’s deaf dog case sounds so familiar and similar to other cases of apparent extrasensory phenomena.

    A faithful believer appeals to the mysteries of God of which we are dimly aware. A Kantian just says we cannot know the noumena (things as they are in themselves) – our sense perceptions and our reasoning abilities are like a pair of scratchy spectacles that prevent us from getting at, seeing, the noumena. Plato set the stage for all this saying we earthbounders only see the shadows of the true forms. Whitehead, stated that all of western philosophy was but a footnote to Plato.

    But A. N. Whitehead (ANW) has a natural explanation for this apparent extrasensory experience – it comes from another fundamental mode of perception overlooked by modern science/philosophy.

    ANW saw reality as momentary occasions of experience – events in which a subject experiences, is related to, or takes in, its environment (which is not limited by spatial extension or temporal duration). This apprehension of, taking in, or grasping of the environment he called prehension (he did not want it equated with a strictly mental activity of ap-prehension). Prehension is a _feeling_ of some other recent event.

    ANW’s novel speculation is of a fundamental prehension: perception in the mode of causal efficacy (gotta love ANW’s way with words!). It originates all our perceptions causing a chain of ensuing higher perceptual effects. It is the subject’s bodily vague feeling of the existence and tone (subjective form) of another experience. Perception in the mode of causal efficacy is raw relationship of the subject to its world.

    For us mammal subjects, this prehension then is synthesized with other feelings (embodied emotions). It may end as just another subconscious experience of the body (we have way more of these than we are consciously aware), or ultimately might be of a significance that leads to neural experiences in one or more of the sensory nervous systems.

    Neural experience further synthesizes prehensions of its memory cells until a basic proposition is felt: “is the vague yellow ball sensation that of a past experience, or not?” This proposition is an intellectual feeling, itself a prehension, and its tone (subjective form) is what ANW defines to be consciousness.

    Notice that the original prehension of primitive perception has processed through the body, being synthesized with other organs’ feelings before finally becoming a high-ordered, precise intellectual feeling, the awareness of which is the experience consciousness. This conscious awareness only shines a light on the highly synthesized feelings that generated the proposition, with all the bodily activity leading to its buildup remaining subconscious, and so ignored.

    With different body organization among and even within each species, some dogs and perhaps fewer mystics do not miss as much of the world experience as the rest of us. They use the primitive mode of perception to experience what most of us are not feeling – they rely on emotions and intuitions more readily than those of us (expecially us humans) who solely focus on conscious experience.

  30. Burl says:

    I forgot to add that in the proposition, the past experience is of the sun.

    Any event ends with a decision from which future events arise. A sustained subjective conscious experience would be a series of successive events wherein a subject prehends its previous conscious event (felt proposition) and synthesizing further, like “is it dim because it is cloudy, or not?”, etc. Thus the process of reasoning can be viewed as a basic thing for doggie and me.

  31. Christine says:

    ¶ I recognize and agree with the thought that the universe is stranger than we can imagine…it’s beyond exciting to contemplate all the possibilities and mysteries that great expanse holds for us. (Our current limited lifespan is just not sufficient.) I also recognize that we are limited, at present, by our linear nature and concepts.
    ¶ One day, Kevin, I WILL Stump the Chump‼ lol
    ¶ Crystal, I’m with you in that I have been cognitively working on a few emotional blocks, for years now. I sometimes despair of ever moving them let alone REmoving them! ♥ I suppose that’s why I have the 3 dogs that I do (I should include my mom’s dog, Sister, as I am her beloved.) I’ll gauge my progress on a parallel with the progress of The Puppers! ♥☼
    ¶ And Burl…me thinks it will take more than aspirin to cogitate on your mental musings, intriguing as they are. Perhaps a good Chianti would help‼lol

  32. Christine says:

    ¶ This Stump the Chump is for friends of mine who own a little pug (Ronin is the new baby in the family)– we have to sell Bruce Lee. We really did not have much of a choice though; he is jealous of Ronin. He takes Ronin’s things and growls and nips when you try to take them away from him. That’s the only time he has ever done that. It is safer to find a new home for him, but its kind of sad!
    ¶ What is going on here and why is the little pug seemingly aggressive towards the baby and the baby’s things?

  33. kbehan says:

    I’m not altogether sure who the cast of players are, is Bruce Lee the dog’s name?

  34. kbehan says:

    I may be getting a little clearer idea as to what Whitehead means by prehension. I believe for example that we feel the pull and movement of the earth, moon and sun but our higher processes don’t have any notion of their effects. I remember quite clearly once having a bright idea one evening and then a full moon came over the horizon a half hour later. I couldn’t escape the sense that the moon had pulled the idea out of me. In my model of animal consciousness, the earth, moon and sun are the basic elements of the network consciousness, and our cells evolved not only in terms of these forces, but of whatever else is going on in the quantum and/or hidden dimensions. Since our cells are having quantum experiences all the time, all the higher processes are somehow wired up to coalesce these into the higher levels of processing. That would explain the mystics’ capacity to tune into these most basic forces.

  35. Christine says:

    I’m sorry Kevin…I did leave out some details. Bruce Lee is the pug, who seems quite upset at the arrival of the new baby, Ronin. Evidently Bruce Lee (pug) takes the baby’s things and growls, nipping when you try to take them away. The parents see this as jealousy and are trying to sell the dog as they don’t want him to start biting or nipping the baby. I know it’s not jealousy per se as dogs don’t think but since they are wired for emotional intelligence I suppose Bruce Lee might be feeling displaced or knocked off balance by the arrival of said baby. Since growling is blocked/stuck energy if they started by playing tug-of-war, would that help resolve some of that energy, giving it focus? I’m not sure what to suggest beyond that.

  36. kbehan says:

    The dog was raised on attention as a metric of its survival and also, since personality is a defense, whenever it was generating personality to connect with its owner and to attract owner’s attention, and whenever the owner’s gave the dog attention they were in fact downloading their defensive systems, this charge is interconnected. So when the dog sees the owner giving the baby attention, he feels a charge being put on the baby. He’s afraid of the baby and is trying to connect indirectly with the baby via an object in common. The fear comes up to the surface because he has possession of a preyful aspect and then growls at the approach of owner who he is also defensive toward because he has always had to generate personality in order to be included. The growling/nipping is in fact a more honest expression of the underlying fear and then the human instinct will be to drive it down deeper. This also means he does not feel connected to his owner and so yes exactly, if they were to play with the dog outdoors (AND NOT GIVE HIM ANY ATTENTION WHATSOEVER OTHERWISE) they can start the process of turning fear back into pleasure and then into Drive. You can see how much fear is within owner about dog because first impulse is to “sell” the dog. But this is a group-mind energy system and so whoever identifies with the dog is also experiencing some intense fear relative to the arrival of the baby, and is not aware of it so dog is opportunity to become conscious of very old unresolved emotion in the system.

  37. Christine says:

    I get that and was thinking along similar lines re: fear at arrival of baby. I’m thinking it’s the dad’s fear but at any rate…if I demonstrate pushing for them and encourage the tug-of-war play outside and, as you say, NO ATTENTION WHATSOEVER INSIDE…is there anything more? And if Bruce Lee should grab baby’s things again and commence growling (I’m just trying to plan ahead for any questions)? Should I encourage push-for-food for awhile and how should they make dog-to-baby introduction? At what point will they know the issue is resolved?

  38. kbehan says:

    Until the dog is healed it’s important that there’s no unstructured time indoors otherwise a pack instinct will rear its ugly head. And at their end they should do the exact opposite of their pack instinct (fear inspired fight against the dog’s energy). Give the dog one of the baby’s toys, praise the dog, trade for treats, encourage the dog to carry the toy around while they praise the dog to induce a happy, light footed gait with the tail (missing but floating freely in absentia) carried high and ideally dog will jump up and make contact with them with baby’s toy in its mouth. Then they could throw the baby’s toy out, or better yet, hide it among the other toys and encourage dog to seek out this sacred toy. Dog is learning how to make direct contact with them and with their baby through an object-in-common. They’re finally COMMONicating. Other times the dog could be crated indoors. Whenever they feel guilty, they take the dog for a walk outdoors and for play time. If they don’t want to take the dog for a walk, they tell the truth, “I’m too lazy, tired, busy, to take the dog for a walk.” They don’t succumb to guilt and let the dog run around indoors until there is a pack instinct upset. The issue will be resolved when they get in touch with their fear and see the dog as part of their group mind, an energy circuit, rather than taking its behavior personally. In other words, they have to do their penance first and then they will know when they know.

  39. Christine says:

    I’m beginning to hear you now…I’ll masticate this for a while and when I’ve fully digested I’ll see if I can regurgitate for them; they shouldn’t have to get rid of a perfectly fine dog! ☼

  40. Heather says:

    It is probably going to be hard for the parents, if they are already stressed. I remember throwing a pillow at my beloved (old, sweet) cat for meowing and waking up my first baby. Sleep deprivation is no joke.

    It might be a relief for them though to crate the dog, and to shift from dog-as-kid to dog-as-dog. Knowing that they don’t have to feel guilty about crating the dog indoors, they would probably let go of that guilt pretty quickly and maybe decide to keep him.

  41. Christine says:

    I hope you are right, Heather. Thanks for checking in!

  42. Burl says:

    Glad to hear about ANW prehension.

    I will use your story of driving in a somewhat auto-pilot mode and suddenly being jolted to an altered state by a cop’s siren. It is a simple confirmation of Whitehead’s axiom that experience precedes consciousness. Also consciousness is by no means the dominant state of our minds – it is periodic.

    Driving along, you are merely experiencing ‘what is’ – you were in a pre-conscious state. But with the perception of the siren, you were faced with a proposition “My driving is not right.” This proposition creates a contrast between what is – ‘my toolin’ down the highway w/o a care’ – and what might be – “I am in trouble.’ The awareness of this contrast is what we know to be consciousness.

    Consciousness requires awareness of different possible actualities for a given actuality. A bird becomes consciously aware that my presence on the other side of the window might pose a danger to its eating from the feeder. It will run thru a short sequence of propositions of what is but might not be (and conversely, what might be but is not) before “deciding” to stay or flee.

    Such activity is called consciousness and reasoning.

    Dogs are conscious.

    Dogs exercise reason.

  43. Shannon H. says:

    Hi! I am new to this website and am finding this information very helpful. I am the owner of the pug, Bruce Lee. The most helpful aspect of this information (at this point) is not feeling guilty about crating the dog while he is in training. Truthfully, that hits the nail on the head! I was in agreement for finding a new family due to the fact that I thought it was not fair to the dog “to be secluded from the family”. I am glad to hear that perspective!

  44. kbehan says:

    It seems that some major points of departure may remain.
    In my model, consciousness is energy that repeats itself. Also, due to the 2nd law of thermodynamics, new energy must always be added to the system otherwise it will lose heat and decay. Finally, the only way new energy that comes in will not be toxic is if the information to harness it is already in place. So the only way energy can reliably repeat itself is through a network. A network is a field of mutual attraction between all of its components and which are simultaneously invested with an inherent momentum. The field of attraction is strong enough so that all changes are captured by the system and turned into motion. The system is falling together but will never implode because it is simultaneously flying apart, but then can never explode because it is always falling together. This is a dynamic state of conflict, a life force, an action potential which is also how we scientifically recognize the phenomenon of energy in our everyday world. The movement of all the particles are known to all in the network by prehending the network’s midpoint or center of gravity. Energy that reliably cycles is the template for all information, no matter how elaborate or primordial. In any given frame of reference, this can be visualized as an order through which flows a current. One feels good in this condition whether or not they are aware of why, because they are orbiting around that particular network in microcosm’s midpoint. And this state of resonance is where I would suggest the notion of prehension be situated.
    This model therefore makes a distinction between consciousness and self-consciousness. So when one is driving in the car there is a satisfaction of balance (order) and a sense of momentum (hunger for destination or for movement). The sense of flow when the current is moving through the order resides in the heart. In this state of resonance there is no apprehension of a self relative to other selves or even to the car because the individual’s emotional body encompasses the car and any other variables the individual has projected his emotional center of gravity into. Thus, there is a feel for the car, a feel for the road, a feeling for what the other drivers are going to do before they do it. Then when the trooper suddenly appears in the rear view mirror, the sensation of collapse begins in the heart as the heart senses the midpoint, I call it the “network brain.” (If someone has a strong Will they might not experience this collapse whatsoever and are able to perceive a feeling for what the cop is doing and even that getting pulled over and written a ticket isn’t an interruption of flow in a larger scheme of things.) But for most of us mortals there will be a collapse that will then activate the physical center of gravity as emotional ballast and as emergency energy reserve and so we feel the physical memory of the p-cog rushing up through our heart and into our face/head region as if we are about to fall on our face. This sensation is so intense we lose contact with our body and this now triggers thoughts (mostly related to shame) and then the contemplation of possible actualities. (The Big-Brain I call the brain of separation) But even these will conform to the primordial template of either prey (“I’m sorry Officer I had no idea.”) to predator (This is police harassment, I’ll see you in court.) In short, we suddenly become self-conscious.
    The bird at the feeder is similarly presented with the prospect of a collapse when the eyes of the human accellerate its p-cog (or rate of change) and so it takes flight through the exact same dynamic we experience in the car. The bird has no concept of danger, just the immediate-moment sensation of falling which it redresses not by considering possible actualities but by increasing its rate of motion. It doesn’t decide to flee, it flees when it can’t feel its body (via the little brain in the gut which I call the social brain) because the sensations in its brain related to balance are overwhelming its capacity to prehend an order through which a current can flow. Reason carried to an intense state of rationality can increase alienation and decrease consciousness. Whereas a little-brain orientation always leads to grounding in the network. Another way of saying this is that the heart can only communicate to the Big-Brain through the stomach.
    I believe animals are conscious, but not self-conscious (I won’t speak for primates), and they are aware but not self-aware. They would have to have a concept of time in order to be able to apprehend their self relative to other selves and one moment relative to another moment, i.e. to ponder possible actualities. And if dogs could reason, then it should be easier to live with an ape which inarguably has a higher order of rational capacity.

  45. kbehan says:

    Welcome. Guilt is the root of all evil, it’s merely anger going inward and so is very difficult to process. Your dog is the luckiest dog on earth because you care about him. And he is unconditionally loving. He loves you so much he’s turning anger-going-inward into anger-going-outward because that’s more truthful and easier to process. Your dog is unconditionally loving and so he has to love you, you don’t have to do anything to deserve it. If you’re working on your relationship with your dog then you’re working too hard. So put your baby first, put your heart first, and your dog will be happy to follow. (Although he “may need a little push.”)

  46. Heather says:

    I can relate to the topic of guilt right now, Happy is having times of jumping and biting at me since arriving at my family’s house, not coincidentally as I am preparing to (even just starting to think about) put him back into his confinement area in the house after playtime or walks. I know it is because I feel guilty about confining him for several weeks indoors, and also a bit angry that I can’t get my own needs met by the dog (eg, I feel safer at night with the dog in or near the bedrooms and that’s not possibe here).

    And this: “fear inspired fight against the dog’s energy” is my knee-jerk reaction to the jumping and biting. Even though I know it is not correct and is in fact counter-productive, it is sort of a vicious cycle until I’ve identified and let go of the guilt/anger/treating-dog-as-person-thought that is the trigger.

    The thing that does smooth over the behavior in the moment (and actually smooths it over forever as to that particular trigger) is to knock Happy back into his body, ie, go ahead and fight “with” him (vs against him), and get him to focus on and bite his bite toy. My intellect just resists doing that – it seems like rewarding the biting and jumping…the problem is that if I first “calm him down” and then play with him (or even push later for meals), the intensity is not enough to smooth over the behavior next time, so the cycle continues until I finally let go of my mindset of worrying about reinforcing/rewarding bad behavior and go ahead and deal with his energy in the immediate moment. Once I am able to successfully ground his energy in those moments, the whole issue is resolved.

    I have been thinking though that the issues of acknowledging the anger that I have, and being willing to ground his energy, are related – I seem to go through a cycle of denying the anger/pretending it doesn’t exist, and fighting-against-dog’s-energy-because-of-fear (I believe the fear is not of the dog’s behavior, but of my own feelings), until one or the other of the issues gives way, then I get unstuck and so does the dog.

  47. Heather says:

    What is really interesting is that I don’t have to totally change my feeling (not liking that I have to confine the dog), I just have to acknowledge that I feel that way, and notice when I’m feeling that way, and those thoughts that trigger the tense feelings have less of a “grip”, I can just sort of notice them and say to myself “yeah, I don’t like it, still not liking it…yep, still not liking it…definitely still not liking it…” until it’s just silly in contrast to reality, which is a dog who is quite willing to do whatever I come up with – mostly sleep.

  48. Christine says:

    Kevin, I can’t express how infinitely intriguing and exciting your theories are for me. Whitehead is much to convoluted and difficult to understand and I think too far from the truth to contemplate.
    There are so many points in your theories and models that actually fit with the truth of the Universe and how it operates. This energy you speak of is, in my view, Jehovah’s holy spirit, which actuates and enlivens every living thing whether conscious or not whether self-conscious or not. Understanding even the tiniest aspects of quantum mechanics only adds to my belief in a Creator and how sublimely He put the universe together. So Thank You, Thank You, Thank You for making all you have learned so readily available and easily accessible to so many.
    I can’t wait to get my hands on your new book, “Your Dog is Your Mirror…” Anticipation only heightens the experience! ♥

  49. kbehan says:

    Thanks Christine, I appreciate your generosity. I was born believing that all things are connected so truth in advertising, I do believe there is a divine energy. I don’t know if that means there is a Creator (but I better keep my options open) or if we are co-creators which make the universe go round. But I’m not a creationist in the literal sense, or an intelligent design proponent. I summarize my view of the supreme mystery by saying the Design-is-in-the-Intelligence. My complaint with modern science and the nihilism of random everything is that it takes as much faith to believe in random mutations as the source of intelligent life as it does the God of Genesis so we can all get off our intellectual high horse. Whatever the truth is it will be more unfathomable than we can imagine and I wish to align myself with those who are as stupefied as I am with the abject wonderment of our universe. Keep on pushing!

  50. Christine says:

    Hear, Hear‼ I agree with your comment, “it takes as much faith to believe in random mutations as the source of intelligent life as it does the God of Genesis”…to a point. I would add ‘blind’ in front of faith regarding random mutations…or better yet, downright credulity. Faith in the God of Genesis (Jehovah in English, YHWH in Hebrew so Yahweh would be appropriate) is not blind nor is it founded on any kind of credulity. It is faith based on accurate knowledge…”Faith is the assured expectation of things hoped for, the evident demonstration of realities though not beheld.” (Hebrews 11:1)

    And just a brief note on Soul: Bible usage shows the soul to be a person or an animal, or the life that a person or an animal enjoys. Hence, at Genesis 2:7, Adam is said to BECOME a soul, a living person. In a similar vein, Genesis 1:20,21,24,25 speaks of fishes, winged creatures and wild beasts as being souls (not having or being given souls).

    Finally, while it is a wise person who keeps their options open, there comes a time when it is necessary to pick a side and get off the fence. I made my decision when I was 17 years old and have never felt the need or seen the necessity of changing my opinion or of choosing another side. There truly can only be one truth. Just so’s ya know…I am perfectly comfortable with other people having their own point of view, we don’t have to be in perfect agreement to be perfectly agreeable‼ LOL ☺♥ I do so enjoy an intelligent discussion.

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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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