The Debate Over Training Methods

Also on Dog Star Daily is an article by Roger Abrantes on how to resolve the controversies about training methods.—lets-end-fighting

Abrantes divides the debate into the moralistic, the naturalistic, and the scientific camps. However what’s missing is an understanding of flow, a serious omission given that flow is the organizing principle of  nature. I suggest we turn to the logic and the science of flow (specifically the Constructal law discovered by Adrian Bejan). (1) Since genes differ from species to species, whereas emotion is universal, emotion is the most logical candidate as the current that renders all social structure. (2) Social structures vary by way of “emotional capacity,” (i.e. the capacity to incorporate objects of resistance into the configuration) and so those organisms with limited capacities are subsets and are tuned to their particular configurations by the specifics of the environmental niche they evolved to occupy. Nevertheless, we can also find the signature of a universal flow pattern. (3) The flow of emotion follows from the flow of mass. First the physical body evolved to move through time and space and emotion piggybacks on that circuitry. Professor Daniel Wolpert of Cambridge University

has shown that everything about the brain, even its most advanced cognitive capacities, evolved in service to the problems of motion. Therefore, the capacity of an individual to project a sense of its “self” forward in time, is related to a capacity to project its mass forward in space. There is an on/board intuitive calculus that handles these computations subconsciously. Emotion, a calculus of motion, is predicated on that system. In this way it is a modeling program, and to put it into time-contextual terms; it answers the question in light of past experience: How will I feel if I am over there? And inversely, how will I feel if that comes over here? Stimuli are perceived in terms of this calculus, how much mass (mass = resistance to acceleration) and motion does any given object of resistance contain, and therefore how much force can it exert.

All of this calculation is predicated on the sense of a physical center of gravity nested within a physical body composed according to a principle of bilateral symmetry. The evolution of the central nervous system and the phenomenon of bilateral symmetry are inseparable. The skeletal architecture that according to Constructal law allows us to roll along as if we’re a wheel, transferring the energies of force in a spreading architecture of load bearing bones, simultaneously allows the individual’s mind to ascertain a midpoint, not only within its own body as the center of that circle of motion; but within the bodies of complex objects of resistance with which it must interact. Our bodies and minds are organized as a circle so that we can ascertain the circles’ center, the midpoint, which is exactly how Newton developed the Calculus to isolate the foci of planetary orbits as he formulated a theory of gravity.

The emotional calculus is how we are able to drive a car. For example, a driver arrives at a stop sign and sees a car approaching from the left, in the lane he is about to pull into. It proves safer to come to a full stop because from that resting position, one is best able to subliminally reference one’s physical center of gravity, and then emotionally project it onto the approaching vehicle so as to ascertain through an emotional/physical calculus its rate of acceleration. As this dull impression crystallizes over a second of two of “meditation” into a firm impression (in calculus this is called approaching “the limit,” which emotionally means going through the subliminal process of sensing the physical center-of-gravity as-a-point, this crystallization is the sense of the “vanishing infinitesimal as the feeling hones in on the approaching car’s velocity.” When the driver arrives this feeling of velocity corresponding to a point within his own body, and if he still feels hunger for flow in the face of that impending force, then he can feel whether or not it’s safe to pull out into traffic and at what rate of speed he should accelerate in order to “absorb” the force of the approaching vehicle. Likewise, when a dog sees a complex object of resistance, the on/board emotional calculus can feel, by way of projecting its physical center of gravity onto its form, which carries along all the physical memories of emotional experience as well, the object’s emotional mass plus its emotional velocity and therefore its net emotional force or “charge.” This is revealed by micro musculature as well as the subtlest nuances of bodily configuration and movement. The dog in effect is asking: How will I feel when that object of resistance exerts that force on my body? Can I absorb that rate of acceleration given my current state of equilibrium? Am I hungry for that much flow?

So the problem with Abrantes’ resolution of the debate is that it is predicated on the projection of human reason onto the behavior of dogs, rather than the laws of motion and the principles of thermodynamics. The basic principles of physics are left out of the formulation.


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Published September 14, 2012 by Kevin Behan
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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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