The Mind of Squirrel Dog

An Energy Interpretation of a Squirrel-Chasing Dog

The main thing to realize is that the real action isn’t in the head. The Big-Brain is fundamentally but one terminal in the body/mind as an emotional battery. There is something going on to be sure up there, but the main function of neurological activity in the Big-Brain is to put the individual into conflict. Conflict makes energy and the intensity of the energy accesses physical memory. A state of conflict accesses physical memory.

When a squirrel-chasing dog sees a squirrel, the first thing that happens is that it will perceive being knocked off balance, just as if its physical center-of-gravity has been suddenly displaced, just as if something has literally pushed it off center. This response was established via Pavlovian conditioning during its infant imprinting phase. As an infant pup every time its mother or litter mates moved it was knocked off balance and therefore for the rest of its life any change in its perceptual field equals a state of imbalance because it triggers this physical memory of change. The degree of displacement equals the force of attraction. The intensity of this force activates a specific layer of physical memory. A loss of equilibrium is energizing because it provokes neurological activity as neurons fire off, just like a battery being ionized by an electrical input of a charger.

So the dog is emotionally “charged” by this sudden ionizing event upon the sight of a squirrel and typically, because the mandate of balance is engaged but the little-brain-in-the-gut doesn’t yet have anything tangible to digest, Squirrel Dog’s body tenses up like a rope twisted tight.

If we could ask Squirrel Dog where exactly its sense of consciousness is centered in its body/mind, where is the absolute center of its “self,” Squirrel Dog would point to its head, as this is the epicenter of the intense pressure of energy, the physical memory of having fallen face forward because it was knocked over by something moving fast, or it was moving too fast and tumbled before it had mastered locomotion. The point in the dog’s body it references as the center of its consciousness is the basis of its mind and will determine the nature of its perception and range of likely responses. This center point determines the nature of the physical memory to be summoned up into awareness, and then what menu (electric=balance, magnetic=hunger, or electromagnetic=heart as wave) will be activated in order to deal with this memory. If we had to reduce what’s going on in Squirrel Dogs’ mind to a human concept in order to articulate what is going on inside its head at this point, Squirrel Dog would say “I am squirrel” because as far as it can know all of its attention is fixated on a squirrel and so this is the entire scope of its consciousness in this moment. A dog has no concept of its “self” relative to other points of view. It’s view of its “self” depends on what it wants and how it feels.

It is possible that a dog might reference its little-brain hunger circuitry as its center point and in this case it could be said to be “ionized” to the negative polarity (preyful) and in this mode it has energy to absorb. It will then perceive the situation as if what is going on inside its body is pulling an object of attraction toward it, even if the dog is actually moving toward something standing still. This is a virtual state of magnetism. But in the hypothetical example above with the typical squirrel-chasing-dog it is referencing its Big-Brain balance circuitry and so it is ionizing toward the positive (predator) polarity and has energy to give. It will thus perceive as if it is pushing energy out and this pushing impulse will be the basis of whatever it learns next. The balance circuitry is the electrical menu.

Sometimes in the beginning of a squirrel-chasing dog’s career, we notice its hackles raise and it might growl and then bark at the sight of a squirrel. This is a bio-mechanical response to relieve this electrical-like tension referenced above, a pushing out of energy, especially if it is unable for some reason to pursue the squirrel as when held back on lead or when afraid of first squirrel it ever saw. It is not trying to communicate to the squirrel; rather it is off/loading energy so as to restore its body to a sense of stability. In this sense it is in fact communicating energy and this can be adaptive because barking and getting excited tends to make prey run and then the dog can flip polarity to the hunger circuitry.

But for Squirrel Dog working from the balance circuitry, it is therefore pushing energy out by pushing itself away from the spot that is so destabilizing and running to squirrel as ground, terra firma. In contrast, notice how a cat stalks its prey. It is referencing its little-brain and going-by-pull. It is feeling that its focus on the prey from its little-brain hunger circuitry is pulling the mouse toward it, in other words it has imported the essence of the mouse into its hunger circuitry and is beginning to feel what the mouse is feeling and self-regulating because it is magnetized to the prey. It stalks very quietly and then waits until the mouse quite literally walks into its waiting jaws. However, when the gap between them closes to its critical distance, this feeling will collapse given that the prey is so near (and much bigger) and the only mechanism it has that can handle such energy is the striking instinct. This is also why when we excite our kitties too much, they are prone to claw, clench and bite us, but before doing so usually run away to push off from that spot. Since dogs have a much higher emotional capacity than cats, it is possible for them to flip polarities from positive to negative, even when near the prey and this capacity would be necessary to allow the feeling to elaborate into higher expressions, such as herding the prey rather than killing it, or listening to the owner rather than chasing the squirrel. Flipping polarities causes the dog to reference its heart. (We can also see that wolves in the hunt would differentiate along the hunger/balance ratio and so each would respond to large prey differently and in a coordinated, complementary way, some would be pushing, some would be pulling.)

The typical squirrel-chasing dog straining at the lead upon seeing a squirrel is completely in its head and is electric. Its emotional capacity is overwhelmed because it cannot reference its body and so it will respond to form of squirrel via instincts and habits. It cannot take input from its handler precisely because it is referencing its inner-ear balance circuitry and trying to push energy out. No matter what the handler does to the dog, even if the handler’s corrections make the dog submit, or if a food reward distracts the dog from the squirrel (which isn’t likely), if the handler doesn’t constitute the full “ground” for this energy, the need to get to the squirrel for grounding is merely being reinforced. The dog is going by the form of the squirrel and is unable to discern the subtle energetic essences of the squirrel let alone that this person shouting and jerking is its beloved human. Because the Big Brain is running the show, the dog isn’t feeling. The brain can’t feel a thing which is why gray matter can be operated on directly without anesthesia. Furthermore, the only thing tangible the little-brain is getting to digest is the tactile input from being jerked around, straining into the lead and digging into the ground, and so the dog learns that this is what hunting a squirrel feels like.

The interplay between intensity of the Big-Brain and the capacity of the little-brain to ground this intensity reveals an auto-tuning/feedback dynamic by which all interactions with the environment proceed, and thereby render the dog’s mind as a function of energy. Animals have a bipolar constitution because of a two brain makeup so as to implement the principle of emotional conductivity so that all learning factors out a networked-intelligence. The following is the logic loop that drives the network: The greater the degree of displacement: the stronger the force of attraction. The stronger the force of attraction: the greater the fear of falling. The greater the fear of falling: the stronger the urge for grounding. The greater the resistance to grounding: the stronger the Drive to make contact. The more resistance to the Drive to make contact, the more sexual/sensual energy is engendered by physical memory. The more sexual energy: the easier to flip polarity in order to connect with object of resistance.

Published November 12, 2009 by Kevin Behan
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14 responses to “The Mind of Squirrel Dog”

  1. I’ve re-written part of the last paragraph to help me get a better sense of what it means.

    “The greater the degree of emotional displacement in the dog’s energy field, the stronger the force of attraction he feels for the source of the displacement (in this case, a squirrel). The stronger the force of attraction the dog has, the more he feels thrown off-balance, both physically and emotionally. The greater the feeling of being thrown off-balance, the stronger the need for feeling grounded (restoring physical and emotional balance). Anything that creates resistance to the dog’s need to be grounded (restore balance) increases his drive to make contact with the source of resistance. The more resistance is given to the dog’s drive to make contact, the more sexual/sensual energy is retrieved from his physical memory banks. The more sexual energy the dog has at his disposal, the easier it is for him to flip polarity so he can connect with the object of resistance.”

    Is that close?

    LCK

  2. kbehan says:

    Yes, that’s seems exactly right. The only modification I would make would be in first sentence so that it’s understood that the “energy field” is virtual, in that it feels to the dog as if its physical cog has been displaced, just as if there is indeed a gravitational field that is displaced by the squirrel in that it can compell the dog’s inherent momentum (constant whole/body tension making it need to move) toward it. It’s just as if they are both on an elastic membrane like a trampoline which the squirrel can displace with its great mass given the charge that’s built up in squirrel dog. (So even degree of displacement would be relative not only to experience, but to a frame of reference as well.) Also, grounding on the most primal level has to do with an act of ingestion, smell, taste, bite, (virtual, internal electric current between two brains) but then can elaborate into the sensual plane as to touch and strong tactile contact which renders the flipping polarity phenomenon (virtual magnetism from strong current of connection).
    I trust this can show how the squirrel and dog can theoretically become of one mind, if the squirrel for example were able to reflect energy back onto dog and when it then returns to it as sensual/sexual energy, be able to respond in kind. This is what cats are capable of. So both squirrel and dog can be of the same mind, literally, there can be but one mind. This is what’s going on in canine sociability, the most sexual, aggressive and social animal on earth.

  3. I have to say I disagree with the idea that there’s a virtual energy field. I think it’s quite real, and is the medium for the “network consciousness” you talk about. (Valerie Hunt of UCLA has done some interesting research in this area.)

    For me, your analogy to the trampoline almost works, but I see it as being similar to a liquid medium like water, one that has a kind of easy, buoyant quality generally, with gentle waves (what you might call tipping his center of gravity). So it seems to me that since the dog’s consciousness would be a de facto part of the energy field as a whole, any change in the dog’s emotions would create “waves” in the medium. The stronger the emotion, the bigger the wave. The bigger the wave, the more off balance the dog would feel. And for “squirrel-chasing dog,” that means he would be sort of like a surfer, maintaining his sense of balance by riding the wave toward the squirrel. (Squirrel-stalking dog would balance himself (and probably ground himself), at least momentarily, by holding perfectly still.)

    I also have trouble with the “fear of falling” aspect of the theory, which is why I re-wrote the paragraph the way I did. I tend to see things in binary terms like attraction and repulsion, conductivity and resistance, tension and release. And while feeling off balance has an opposite (feeling balanced), I don’t get what the opposite of the fear of falling would be.

    Anyway, those are my thoughts,

    LCK

  4. Here’s a link to Valerie Hunt’s website:

    http://valerievhunt.com/ValerieVHunt.com/Valerie_Hunt_Research.html

    I think her research on emotional energy fields is valid, but some of her conclusions are too new-agey for me.

    LCK

  5. Hi, Kevin,

    I guess I have 4 questions.

    1) Why do you call it a virtual field? It seems to me that the network consciousness you talk about is dependent on there being some sort of medium connecting all things in nature. Valerie Hunt seems to have found the frequencies for this field, which it seems to me is essentially the same thing as (or is consonant with) Rupert Sheldrake’s “morphic fields.”

    2) Does the network consciousness you talk about provide the medium for telepathic communication between dogs and their owners? Or don’t you think telepathy (which is Latin for “distant feeling”) exists? It seems to me that the process of a dog picking up our feelings, of us tuning into our dog’s energy, etc., can’t be accomplished without telepathy. I’m quite certain dogs are telepathic, and humans can be too if they switch off their brains and tune into their “gut” instincts.

    3) What is the opposite of the fear of falling? And would your theory work just as well by referring to this aspect as feeling off-balance or in-balance? You certainly refer to it that way often enough. The reason I ask is because I’ve thought about the various feeling states that the human and canine body share for many years (starting after I read your book). As an actor you have to pay attention to such things, so it was natural for me to be able to project that same sort of attention onto what dogs must be feeling when they’ve got too much nervous energy in their systems, etc. Maybe I just don’t relate to the idea that seeing a squirrel would cause a dog to have a fear of falling. I certainly see it as a displacement in the energy field, which would cause the dog to feel emotionally off balance (lifted up by a sudden wave of energy), which is also almost always felt in the body as not being grounded, but I don’t think it has anything to do with a fear of falling learned from puppyhood. Maybe you could explain that more. You may be right, but I’m not sure the fear of falling is necessary for the theory to function. (Maybe that’s just me.)

    4) I’m also still having trouble wrapping my mind around the idea of the hunger circuits being about ingesting rather than just eating. I can certainly understand that when a dog chases a squirrel it’s not because he wants to eat it. Many dogs who catch squirrels don’t even bite down on the poor little critters. So what is the “essence” that’s being ingested (or have got that all muddled up)?

    Clearly I’m not critical of the theory. It’s just that certain aspects of it aren’t gelling for me yet.

    LCK

  6. kbehan says:

    Thanks Lee, I’ve taken your points in your preceding comment one by one although not in their original order. Then I’ll see if I haven’t yet covered the four points in your new comment. Also, I’m going to discuss the more important point about a virtual versus an actual field in an article entitled: “Nature Conforms to the Power of Desire.” I appreciate your input and for taking the time to critically examine my theory. I have an unqualified faith in it, but I welcome your critical review especially since I recognize you are coming from an ethic of true inquiry and also because the more paradoxes and anomalies can be resolved, the stronger the theory and the easier to disseminate it.

    LCK “For me, your analogy to the trampoline almost works, but I see it as being similar to a liquid medium like water, one that has a kind of easy, buoyant quality generally, with gentle waves (what you might call tipping his center of gravity). So it seems to me that since the dog’s consciousness would be a de facto part of the energy field as a whole, any change in the dog’s emotions would create “waves” in the medium. The stronger the emotion, the bigger the wave. The bigger the wave, the more off balance the dog would feel. And for “squirrel-chasing dog,” that means he would be sort of like a surfer, maintaining his sense of balance by riding the wave toward the squirrel. (Squirrel-stalking dog would balance himself (and probably ground himself), at least momentarily, by holding perfectly still.)”

    KB: I like your water/wave way of looking at it and I think the water-like nature of emotion is far richer than the trampoline example because the phenomena of waves coming into phase and being amplified as a source of new energy becomes immediately available. I used the trampoline because I once saw a graphical demonstration of space/time as a displaceable medium using a bowling ball and a marble on a trampoline and liked how it demonstrated the propensity for objects of mass to move toward each other by virtue of how they distort the medium in which they both exist. This visual was what I was reaching for. That having been said, the reason I believe that whatever can be said of water can likewise be said of emotion, and vice versa, is that animals have a bi-polar makeup given their two-brain constitution just as a water molecule has a bi-polar makeup which gives it its unique life-giving properties and its fluid nature.

    LCK: “I also have trouble with the “fear of falling” aspect of the theory, which is why I re-wrote the paragraph the way I did. I tend to see things in binary terms like attraction and repulsion, conductivity and resistance, tension and release. And while feeling off balance has an opposite (feeling balanced), I don’t get what the opposite of the fear of falling would be.”
    LCK: “The greater the degree of emotional displacement in the dog’s energy field, the stronger the force of attraction he feels for the source of the displacement (in this case, a squirrel). The stronger the force of attraction the dog has, the more he feels thrown off-balance, both physically and emotionally. The greater the feeling of being thrown off-balance, the stronger the need for feeling grounded (restoring physical and emotional balance). Anything that creates resistance to the dog’s need to be grounded (restore balance) increases his drive to make contact with the source of resistance. The more resistance is given to the dog’s drive to make contact, the more sexual/sensual energy is retrieved from his physical memory banks. The more sexual energy the dog has at his disposal, the easier it is for him to flip polarity so he can connect with the object of resistance.”

    KB I need to take it apart step by step to see if we’re talking about a point of departure or a misstatement on my part.
    The two-brain makeup is a displaceable medium which means it exists in a dynamic state of tension so that any change is destabilizing of whatever level of reconciliation the two brains have achieved before the change is perceived. So a stimulus, a perception of change, energizes the Big-Brain-in-the-head and this nervous energy has to be digested by the little-brain-in-the-gut to return the system to its preexisting state of equilibrium, otherwise the front-end-isn’t-connected-to-the-hind-end in the dog’s very sense of its body.
    The Big-Brain contributes the balance component as the tuning dynamic, and the little-brain contributes the hunger component as the feedback loop. If there wasn’t any hunger, then being destabilized wouldn’t cause any attraction. And if there wasn’t any balance, then two animals would collide together like an asteroid and a planet and wouldn’t be able to self-moderate and go through the emotional gears whereby animal magnetism/sexuality comes into play. Due to the hunger/balance continuum two dogs can auto-tune and feedback so that they can ultimately connect if they both can go by feel. Also, the dynamic tension between hunger and balance in the animal mind (if animals were committed to a perfect balance, they would starve to death, hunger makes them keep in motion so that they are exposed to danger and thus are always grist for the network) perfectly replicates the inherent motion of planets that keeps them from colliding into each other even though they are attracted to each other. Thus, just like the space/time continuum that is displaced by objects of mass to create a virtual force of attraction, first there is a displacement of the medium and then there is a force of attraction by virtue of an urge-to-ingest to satisfy the little-brain component of the medium, otherwise it’s just an incoherent displacement. So because the little-brain needs something tangible to ingest in response to Big-Brain excitation, this displacement of equilibrium is perceived by the individual as a “force” of attraction towards the stimulus that did the displacement.
    This auto-tuning/feedback loop constantly reflects back on itself so that the stronger the degree of displacement, the stronger the urge-to-ingest and therefore the stronger the force of attraction. The stronger the force of attraction; the greater the risk that this “force” might collapse which would then convert it to fear: all fear ultimately reduces to a fear of falling, which again is the Big-Brain balance component. The greater the fear of falling, the urge to ingest elaborates into the drive to make contact with the object of attraction in order to offset the fear of falling: yet this is just a higher elaboration of the originating urge to ingest. Resistance to this drive activates the hunger circuitry again to invoke the sexual/sensual magnetism phenomenon so that the dogs polarize and can connect, just like one planet falling into orbit around another.
    So it seems to me that the opposite of the fear of falling would be grounded. For example, the faster we drive our car, the greater the fear of falling, i.e. the collapse of the feeling of flow, and so the bigger the bubble we put around our car in order to sense being in balance so that we can concentrate on the feeling of flow, which is dependent on our “footing” on the highway and “feel” for the car, i.e. grounding. When another car pops the bubble by coming too close, we respond just as if we’re falling by grabbing the wheel (grounding) with our hands. This is why dogs bite as well; they’re trying to hold on to something that’s knocking them off balance with the emotional collapse of that invoking the fear of falling.
    Actually, driving a car our animal mind isn’t afraid of crashing, which is time-contextual, but rather our emotional mind is afraid of falling. For example, many people have crashed trying to save a cup of hot coffee perched on the dash or console which is why cars now have cup holders. Drivers were risking their life because their emotional/animal mind equated the spilling of coffee with the collapse of the feeling of flow because the animal mind relentlessly “objectifies” feelings. So the coffee cup became the object of flow to be preserved at all costs, it became emotionally tantamount to the car crashing, virtually synonymous to it. This is also related to why we risk our lives to eject a bee from the car when the risk of crashing and getting horrifically injured by going off the road far outweighs the unlikely event, and for most people the minimal peril, that the bee will end up stinging us.
    At the highest levels of elaboration when all of the dog’s energy can flow through the connection with the object of attraction, the feeling of grounded becomes a feeling of weightlessness whether it is a Frisbee or another dog or a deer it’s chasing over hill and dale. So for example race car drivers unlike civilian drivers don’t put a bubble around their car because they exist in a state of emotional suspension when driving and they get so imprinted with a feeling of flow that they can stay loose at 220 mph whereas we would be white-knuckled. At the higher levels of elaboration, the faculty of balance becomes a tuning mechanism, rather than a red-line breakdown point of collapse.

  7. Christine says:

    Not that I actually understand much of the above but I do have a question: Should I be concerned when one of my dogs actually kills a squirrel? When I came home today, I found a dead and much bedraggled squirrel in my garage (which the dogs have easy access to as it opens into the fenced yard as well as their kennel). At first glance, it looked like an old tug-toy but it wasn’t! I’m convinced it was Diva’s kill as she would pick it up and carry it around. She wouldn’t let Duncan near it. All of my dogs get excited by small, furry animals (cats included) and would happily chase after all and any that cross their paths. Bodie came uncomfortably close to killing a woodchuck in my back yard once. I intervened, of course, but I have to wonder if I hadn’t, would he actually have killed it? So I guess I’m not sure how this behavior should be viewed and whether or not I should be concerned that Diva actually did kill a squirrel. I always appreciate your insights, Kevin.

  8. kbehan says:

    There’s nothing aberrant about a dog killing a small prey animal. The only downside is in regards to training because once the dog feels the real thing, then playing with the owner as what killing-a-prey feels like is a much harder sell. Millions of years tell the dog get the squirrel, so we need not concern ourselves with any emotional consequences to that.

  9. Christine says:

    I understand that it’s not “aberrant” in that it is in their nature. I wasn’t upset with Diva for having killed the squirrel but I’m glad I didn’t witness the event as I don’t know how I would’ve reacted. Had I been there, would it be “wrong” to interfere? Or would a better course of action be to try and distract her? I was also wondering if it would change our relationship in any appreciable way. I do work with her with pushing and she is actually pushing against me, digging her back feet into the ground. She’s not quite as enthusiastic as the boys though. They will actually jump up and push for food. When I try to engage her in a game of tug-of-war I can only get so much out of her. I guess a bigger concern for me, as opposed to the actual fact of killing a squirrel, is the dynamics of our pushing and tug play, etc.

  10. Christine says:

    Also, will she be more apt to want to chase/kill a cat? I ask because my mom has a cat and I do like to take the puppers to visit (one at a time of course because my mom has a dog as well as the kitty). My mother will worry about that so I’d like to be able to reassure her (or not as the case may be).

  11. kbehan says:

    Energetically, a cat puts out a far more complex signal than a squirrel and it can via its temperament and constitution reflect energy back at the dog given its predatory nature and it’s unlikely your dog will hurt the cat by virtue of killing a squirrel. If it was unable to distinguish between the two, it would probably be very aggressive to small dogs as well and so that would be your best barometer of what to expect. Good luck.

  12. Daisy says:

    i have a squirrel chaser, a shiba inu. (btw-she loves cats and also has enough sense not to chase them!)

    First, because this trait is supposedly hard-wired into the breed (they are an archaic hunting do), one is told to never ever under any circumstances to let these dogs off-leash. Terrible when you see what beautiful runners these little long-legged dogs are.

    I never bought into that and a combination of outdoor feeding/pushing and when she was a naughty adolescent chicken-bone hunter (we live in nyc) – a long leash. She is 3 years old now, and I think she will soon be able to walk with me on sidewalks off leash. But.

    Squirrels are still a major source of excitement. Sometimes anyway!

    But, it has not been for some time totally out of control (though it is always an edgy situation) because from the time she was a puppy I realized that if I got into a power struggle over the issue, I would lose. No food or toy distraction ever worked when it came to squirrels, no matter how hungry she was.

    So my strategy was to “participate.” When she was on-leash, I would stalk with her, whispering ‘squirrel” and staying right beside her, focusing with her on the squirrel. Off leash, I let her go, and as soon as the squirrel was tree’d, call her back hand fed her with great praise and excitement (because she is little, I adapted pushing to lunging) a very special treat.

    So that is how it has been, and incredibly, to my surprise, in the past few months, there just isn’t as much of a charge when we encounter squirrels. Yes, she still stops while on-leash and focuses on them, but it is very easy to distract her, sometimes, ironically by whispering squirrel! Off-leash, I can often get her to stop with a “wait” or “down” command.

    All this is a long-winded way of saying that I think the key was to participate and not to fight her on this. And to learn to trust out relationship.

  13. kbehan says:

    Excellent progress. You might want to try this exercise, have a friend hold your dog in squirrel territory and then go to far horizon and skulk about and with suspicious movements stalk your dog. The point being to generate a level of intensity surpassing what your dog experiences with squirrels; to displace more of your dog’s consciousness than a squirrel can displace. The 100% response would be that you could display a prey item at some particular distance and your dog becomes more excited for that than the squirrels scampering about. By creating a gap between you and your dog, you create a stronger force of attraction. By skulking, you create resistance, by stalking, you create intensity. If your dog would ultimately go for the prey object, you then become the ground for all that intensity and drain the battery to to neutral. Good hunting.

  14. Daisy says:

    This is an awesome exercise! And so much fun. The squirrel charge is so reduced that I actually have to tell her to go for a squirrel now! We can be walking around all kinds of squirrel activity and most of the time she is pretty much oblivious unless I whisper squirrel – and then boy does she perk up!

    I run into other shiba owners and they are just amazed at how well she walks with me off-leash. I always tell them not to buy into the mythology and to check yours and Neil’s site out.

    Thanks so much for all you do, Kevin.

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