What Does Dunning-Kruger Have To Do With Dogs?

{Critiques such as these may sound like they’re saying something, but they’re merely sophisticated name calling, nothing specific and concrete is being debated, but I extend the invitation on the hope for such. And because this particular critic is arguing for a personality theory of behavior, they are always guilty of the exact charge they’re leveling against the energy theory behind Natural Dog Training. By the way, in most instances the training preceded the theory although occasionally the theory prefigures the training, as in the eye-contact exercise. I invite Subaru or anyone for that matter to respond with a concrete model for why dogs love to ride in cars, whereas no other animal lives to do so, as a better explanation than an energy model.}

The comment is listed below, but click here to read from the original article.

Reader ‘Subaru’ quoting KB: “While there is no way to prove my energy model directly (1), however if it provides the best explanation for what we observe and the way things are (2), then it is the strongest theory, circumstantial evidence notwithstanding (3). I also believe that were the scientific community to apply its tools to the model, it could indeed be verified according to the scientific method (4). But for now, the way I’ve built my model is by observing behavior as a function of energy rather than being due to thoughts. (5) This then makes vivid the principles by which energy moves (6), what we otherwise call evolution, learning, personality development and even so-called dysfunctional behavior (7). I believe that knowing that behavior is a function of attraction (8) which works according to the laws of nature (9), allows us to reverse engineer the nature of sociability.(10)”

Subaru: 1. There is a way. DETECT this magical energy. And for context, cosmologists can detect energy that is 12 billion years old. Biologists can detect energy from a single cell. Physicists can detect energy from subatomic particles.

KB: The concrete and measurable energy is biochemical activity of the body, and neurochemical activity of the brain, and even anatomical leverages of the skeleton. The “energy” is the collectivized and synchronized activity of all these organisms and interrelated systems. For example, the digestive energies of one being evolved to interface with the digestive energies of another (which is why dogs smell you know what) and therefore and thereby, when two animals interact, they recapitulate in their behavior and movements the basic laws of nature, gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, laws of motion, etc., as all their physiological systems interface and interconnect. They become emotionally entangled. For example, two animals are drawn toward each other as if they are in a gravitational field because of how the perception of change “displaces” their two-brain makeup. They need to connect with the other in order to feel grounded within themselves (smooth peristaltic movements). {This is demonstrable, measurable and testable. Modern science has to willfully discard this evidence to proceed along a personality theory.} They are then able to self-organize as their internal and very real energies have electromagnetic-LIKE effects on their mind, on the way they perceive their situation and then respond JUST AS IF they are electromagnetic dynamos within a field of mutual attraction. It’s JUST AS IF within a dog there is a battery, electromagnetic induction, compass, gyro, etc., etc. I concede that it requires an unsophisticated mind to see this. A child for example can grasp something this simple far easier than a highly trained scientist.

Subaru: 2. Behan makes a common error often seen in unsophisticated thinkers.

KB: Whereas sophisticated thinkers ALWAYS err by thinking that the energy of the brain is wholly in service to thoughts. Thus, the INTERPRETATION of modern research always renders an animal that thinks. This is not evidence, this is an INTERPRETATION of the evidence. These interpretations fail to notice that the synchronized actions of the collectivized are subscribing to the laws of nature, gravity, magnetism, electricity, laws of motion, thermodynamics, etc., even though it’s the most parsimonious and obvious interpretation of the evidence and is embedded in human intuitive manner of speaking. They miss this because they are approaching the evidence from the bias that animals are self-contained entities of intelligence and therefore the only thing that can be linking their synchronized and adaptive behaviors are human reasons (territoriality, survival, reproduction, etc.)

Subaru: He wrongly assumes the best explanation is an accurate description of ‘reality’ Not so, it is the best explanation of the facts. No thoughtful scientist believes what he describes is the way things ‘are’. Under William Perry’s scheme, Behan is in the dualistic stage of development and suffering a full blown case of what he calls ‘cognitive egocentrism’ The Kruger-Dunning Effect seems to be working – see ‘Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments”

KB: The romantic/mechanist belief that animals must think akin to human beings in order to be appreciated as conscious, sentient beings is indeed a full blown case of cognitive egocentrism.

Subaru: 3. The evidence IS what really matters. Behan’s approach makes the evidence servile to his beliefs.

KB: My beliefs follow from the evidence. A simple experiment: Try making up a theory that can accommodate ordinary as well as extraordinary aspects of animal cognition and behavior, i.e. the recognition by dogs of criminal intent in someone they’ve never met, as well as being able to fully embrace the phenomena of consciousness, sexuality, personality, learning, evolution, social structure, play, emotion, feelings, thoughts IN ONE MODEL. On the other hand, the default setting of the human intellect IS TO PERSONIFY EVERYTHING. The default setting of the human intellect is to ascribe intention to any and all things, the seas get “angry,” the wind “bites” at our back, the storm “toys” with us and keeps us in its “grip”. In the not-so-distant past, volcanoes grumbled and the ancients thought their gods were getting restless. Innocent maidens became nervous. Therefore which theory is more likely to be based on logic and an objective reading of the evidence? The idea that unresolved emotion, as the basis of physical memory, is then the basis of a networked intelligence, isn’t something that  immediately leaps to one’s mind. The idea that the laws of physics is the operating system of consciousness, that animals are “flipping polarities”, emotion is “energy running to ground”, the animal body/mind as an energy pipe and a battery, a self-replicating action potential that weaves a litter and its mother into a group mind, the group into an ecosystem, the web of ecosystems into a world-wide interconnected system of energy transfer based on how physical memory makes each charged individual feel, isn’t a likely product of the imagination. One will find it difficult to concoct a system of analysis that can encompass the phenomena of learning, sexuality, play, personality, evolution, why dogs-love-to-ride-in-cars while cats and laboratory rats don’t, why dogs are able to flourish in man’s world when mankind’s primate first cousins cannot, when that should be the logical extension of the prevailing models. An energy theory is far beyond my imaginative capacities, the only way I could have arrived at it was from a logical interpretation of the evidence. I’m not saying that such a theory should be adopted without critique, simply that an energy theory is more likely an objective systems of analysis than a personality theory.

Subaru: 4. The way he built his model is delusional. Since he can’t define, quantify or even detect this ‘energy’ the claim of “behaviour as a function of energy” is not justified. Two points to note here, a) he is trying to use science to validate his personal revelations, and b) he already concludes that his view is correct even though he has no evidence. A fine combination of ignorance and intellectual arrogance as per Kruger-Dunning.

KB: An objective reading of behavior is my evidence and I don’t need a scientists’ INTERPRETATION of this behavior to justify my conclusions. Meanwhile every aspect of science is moving in the direction of an energy theory and I append such findings when possible. Meanwhile, any time two dogs meet and greet, they recapitulate the evolution of sociability from the first primal traits to a complex development of personality aspects should they interact over the long term. On meeting, they generate on demand the first two primal traits, prey and predator a virtual form of ELECTRICITY, they then flip these roles and evolve into male and female (virtual) MAGNETISM, and then they continue to synchronize in response to change and generate more energy, i.e. unresolved emotion that ultimately is resolved, i.e. working together to overcome resistance. This is why it is possible to play with a dog. All sentient beings have this capacity, but it varies BY DEGREE NOT IN KIND, from species to species, from individual to individual and from context to context. Consider that professional athletes who are paid millions of dollars and are amazingly well trained for many dozens of years, nevertheless in abject defiance of all theories of learning, suffer from a “home field advantage”. This is the principle of emotional conductivity varying according to context. The cheers of the crowd and the disruption of routine shouldn’t matter at this high level of intellectual development and simple physical performance, but it overwhelmingly does because it directly affects emotional conductivity, and therefore the spontaneous capacity to adapt to change. Dogs having the greatest emotional capacity, are able to go by feel under the wider array of contexts and circumstances and thus are not as severely limited by instincts as the ape, chimp, or monkey when confronted by a high rate of change. This is the most logical explanation for the evolution and domestication of the dog.

Subaru: 5. Note the logical fallacies – and the Dualism. He provides us two choices and then concludes because he has deemed one choice is wrong then his option must be the correct. Behan ignores we already know some behaviour is directed by thought and it’s been show that a chemically induced ‘itch’ can induce a scratch reflex in decerebrate dogs. The James Alcock quote at the beginning is apropos.

KB: The false choice is that there is either thinking or there is mindlessness. This is the fallacy ditch in which this particular Subaru is stuck. For example, one can give an animal an increase of a hormone and then observe a heightening of aggression and then mistakenly conclude that this particular hormone is the source of the aggression rather than understanding that knocking a system out of stasis and its connection with its physical body is what caused the aggression. Or a scientist can electrically stimulate a ganglion of nerves in the brain and the patient reports a specific feeling and then one can mistakenly conclude that this ganglion of nerves is the source of the feeling, rather than the ganglion merely being the mechanical device that executes the feeling into action when organically aroused by the synchronization of the organisms’ energies with an object of attraction. The organism is being stimulated out of context with emotional reality and so such a system will ALWAYS prove to be deleterious on the network scale, as in the prescription of psycho-tropic drugs in humans and dogs. If someone takes a drug that makes them feel happy, they will not end up in a higher state of consciousness and their happiness will deteriorate as a result, since their body/mind is being artificially overridden. The hardware of our computer is not the source of the images, sounds and text we see on the monitor, just as the radio is not the source of the signal which animates its speakers. Therefore, damaging a particular component of the hardware that then disrupts the signal is not proof that the hardware, while necessary for the implementation of the signal, is therefore the source of the signal. If an energy theory relative to a personality theory is not a true dualism, then I ask Subaru to provide a third possibility that doesn’t depend on thoughts from a self-contained entity of intelligence.

Subaru: 6. Principles only known to Behan and not discussed or documented by any reputable researcher. Behan has also failed to document or even describe the so-called principles of his ‘energy’.

KB: These principles are knowable by anyone. Anyone can look at two dogs meeting and greeting and decide for themselves what’s going on. They need not defer to any expert. Meanwhile there is no EVIDENCE to support the notion that dogs think, there is only an INTERPRETATION of the evidence. Furthermore, genes do not replicate for the REASON of self-replication, that is a THOUGHT super imposed on the behavior of genes. Whereas such behaviors as two dogs meeting and greeting IS THE EVIDENCE. Therefore it is logical to conclude that genes conform to the evidence, i.e. the laws of nature, rather than to human reason. All one has to do to disprove an energy theory is explain within one model why dogs like to ride in cars and why they like to eat you-know-what, two aptitudes which stand in abject defiance of all mainstream learning and evolutionary theories.

Subaru: 7. Medical quacks develop cure for all ill and with a single poultice/lotion/pill they can cure all ills. Behan makes similar miraculous claims and at the same time shows a poor understanding of evolution, learning, etc.

KB: The most conservative interpretation of nature and the nature of animals is that energy that doesn’t move is toxic. Therefore if energy moves in a manner that adds new energy to the system, logic mandates that this is always nourishing. Practically speaking, this means that “problem behavior” is stuck energy. Get the energy moving in a manner that adds more energy (i.e. overcoming an object of resistance as defined by the owner) ALWAYS resolves “problem behavior”. This is observable, demonstrable and testable and is willfully denied by mainstream behaviorism in abject denial of the evidence. The movement of energy through prescribed channels cures everything. It’s how bones mend, bruises heal, food is digested, thoughts are thought, and emotional trauma is resolved.

Subaru: 8. Behan needs a few remedial lesson in critical thinking and some epistemology wouldn’t hurt either. He does not know the difference between belief and knowledge.

KB: Fortunately, I along with our merry band here, have apparently escaped formal indoctrination in so-called critical thinking wherein oxymorons and euphemisms pass for logical precepts.

Subaru: 9. “Laws of Nature” is left undefined. It is also a tautology to say that nature (all aspects and phenomena in the universe) behaves according to the laws of nature. He is telling us nothing.

KB: Gravity, laws of motion, thermodynamics, electromagnetism is pretty well defined as the laws of nature. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t understand what these mean. Meanwhile modern biology’s assertion that all phenomena in the universe, EXCEPT the behavior of animals, behave according to the laws of nature is tautology, as in genes replicate for the reason of replicating genes. Whereas energy is an action potential that can be studied by virtue of the “work” it does. In the nature of animals the work they do is overcoming greater and greater forms of resistance in order to recapitulate and regenerate the fundamental action potential, now embodied in increasingly complex derivations of the underlying, fundamental action potential.

Subaru: 10. He cannot reverse engineer it.

KB: Stay tuned.

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Published November 20, 2010 by Kevin Behan
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181 responses to “What Does Dunning-Kruger Have To Do With Dogs?”

  1. Heather says:

    Reading that sort of “argument” makes both of my brains ache.

    “two animals are drawn toward each other as if they are in a gravitational field because of how the perception of change “displaces” their two brain makeup. They need to connect with the other in order to feel grounded within themselves (smooth peristaltic movements). {This is demonstrable, measurable and testable. Modern science has to willfully discard this evidence to proceed along a personality theory.}”

    All that is needed for an experiment is two (non-aggressive) dogs and an emotionally conductive environment.

  2. Heather says:

    Giving dogs drugs should not be necessary, they are going to feel what their owner feels, just have the owner take the happy pills as prescribed.

  3. christine randolph says:

    subaru keeps forgetting that
    a) Kevin has not motive to invent some quackery
    b) he has endless amounts of experience observing dog behaviour.
    c) he has endless amounts of experience training very specific and complex behaviour to dogs (schutzhund)
    d) he is not selling snake oil and is not into extensive financial gains from his theories.
    e) it is like saying Tesla was an idiot and overestimated his own abilities because he told the human race Edison’s stuff was not good enough, and he had experimental theories that if put into Niagara Falls would prove it and create significant benefits for humankind.
    f) Tesla was a genius (albeit “barking mad” but then serbs are, says someone who dated one for years) and turns out Edison’s stuff WAS not good enough. sadly in the process Dunning-Kruger sufferers publicly executed valuable and innocent dogs to prove alternate current is dangerous (hahahah). yes it is especially in Germany where they send 240 volts through every single wall sockets. somehow there are still too many germans haha. one would think they would be wiped out as a people if edison was right… anyway i agree with subaru that people can be an absolute pain in the ass when struck by the Dunning-Kruger effect.
    g) anyone with any capability of critical assessment knows that Prior’s and Skinner’s et al’s stuff is NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
    h) stay tuned is right

  4. Christine says:

    Yeah…stay tuned…what a clever man you are! I’m liking this more and more♥

  5. Christine says:

    RE: “Fortunately, I along with our merry band here, have apparently escaped formal indoctrination in so-called critical thinking wherein oxymorons and euphemisms pass for logical precepts.” AMEN and AMEN‼ lol ♥♥

  6. Christine says:

    @Heather: “Giving dogs drugs should not be necessary, they are going to feel what their owner feels, just have the owner take the happy pills as prescribed.” Too Funny‼

  7. Subaru says:

    Quackery doesn’t require a malevolent motivation. Quackery often arises from sheer ignorance.

    In this case, Behan is a supremely ignorant person – at least when it comes to science. This ignorance makes him supremely confident of his opinions, like K-D describe, he is poor at self assessment and over-values his own opinions.

    Using William Perry’s scheme of cognitive development and critical thinking, we would characterize Behan as still being in the Dualistic stage.

    So at least two factors are in effect. Though I also identify a religious and folkloric undertone to Behan’s philosphy.

    And to address Christine, while Kevin’s ignornace of science cannot be denied. It is irrefutable in every essay. This doesn’t mean that he lacks experience with dogs. Or that he can be successful shaping their behavior. Just like a mechanic who doesn’t need to understand adiabatic expansion, it is quuite possible for Behan to get a dog to sit, without knowing why or how he did it. He knows the mechanice and he has created a complex mythology to account for the reasons.

  8. kbehan says:

    Even supposing I am an extremely ignorant person suffering from a religious/folkloric mysticism complicated by a severe case of Dunningitis-Kurunnigosis syndrome rapidly deteriorating through the Dualistic stage, so what? What then is the scientific explanation for why the vast majority of dogs love to ride in cars? That’s all it would take to discredit an energy theory for why-dogs-do-what-they-do.

  9. Sang says:

    Often mythology holds more truth than science. Science may deal in current “fact” based on what is currently available and quantifiable. However that does not mean that science is “right”. Just because we have a certain amount of accumulated data and observations today, does not mean that there isn’t more to be explored and understood. And even if someone’s use of scientific terminology or jargon is not as adept as the scientific community would like, it does not mean that their theories are altogether incorrect. To claim that someone’s theories or ideas are wrong because there is no “science”, is a bit premature and speculative in and of itself.

    I think science is too ready to say they have a complete and total understanding of animal behavior, yet it has only been recently that science even acknowledged that animals could have emotions or feelings to begin with. I think that it’s a much bigger leap of faith to believe that science has it all figured out than it is to believe that someone may have stumbled onto something that is not yet quantifiable with the current language or tools.

    So from a scientific perspective, using the models of either dominance or operant conditioning, or any other model for that matter, why is it that by encouraging my aggressive dog to fence fight with other dogs, she is now much calmer and more relaxed around new dogs. Wouldn’t that be encouraging and nurturing the very behavior I want to extinguish? And why is it that by encouraging my once incredibly mouthy dog to fight me for her meals, she is no longer nippy and has a much softer mouth? If someone can answer those questions based on the current scientific data, I’d love to hear it.

  10. seb says:

    Well said. If we weren’t open to discovery, there would be none of it.

    “This ignorance makes him supremely confident of his opinions, like K-D describe, he is poor at self assessment and over-values his own opinions.”

    You seem supremely confident of your own opinion, Subaru, and must over-value it if you feel justified to publicly imply someone has a psychological condition. I can’t think of anything more arrogant actually.

  11. Donnie_O says:

    Interestingly, Subaru (like most of the other people who post on here to criticize Kevin’s theories) has not taken Kevin’s challenge and used mainstream scientific theories to explain why dogs like to ride in cars where no other animal does. We’re all waiting….

  12. Subaru says:

    Sang, you are making the same fabricated argument is heard from all antiscience/anti-intellectual advocates. Be they anti-vaxers, ID, creationists or in this case NDTers.

    And the flaws in your opinions would be obvsious to you if you only took a little time to think about it. The very fact that research is ongoing is enough to prove that no scientist thinks “that there isn’t more to be explored and understood.” You repeat the same thing in the second paragraph and it doesn’t make it right.

    You would also be hard pressed to find any examples in which to support your views of mythology.

  13. Subaru says:

    It’s wonderful how Behan keeps censoring example of his logical flaws.

    That’s just another example of the ignorance and ass-backward logic that is so
    pervasive in your writings. You make a claim, it’s up to you to provide
    evidence. That’s how every scientists had to do it, including Tesla.

    There is no need to discredit your beliefs. Nothing you’ve claimed has
    been validated.Your ideas are discredited by the absence of evidence.

    “Kevin Behan is an alien from the Planet Zorg” is just as valid as your
    mythology in that neither has supporting evidence.

    All readers that haven’t lost their minds to this garbage will note 1)
    Behan’s attempt to shift the burden of proof 2) Dichotomous fallacy,
    3)The argument of ignorance

  14. kbehan says:

    A lot of fancy phrases and big words and yet it all boils down to “some dogs like to ride in cars, and some dogs don’t.” Not particularly edifying.

  15. kbehan says:

    If you make a specific concrete argument, I’d be happy to engage with you otherwise I don’t want to bore the readers. For example, I suggest you elaborate further on your statement so as to explicate why it is that some dogs like to ride in cars whereas some don’t rather than indulging in glorified name calling. I maintain that most dogs LOVE to ride in cars, and the reason a minority don’t, is by virtue of the same dynamic by which most do. But we can go step by step toward that resolution of the phenomenon. In the meantime, why do some dogs like to ride, and some don’t, and yet no cats come running to the jingling of car keys?

  16. Russell says:

    oooh, how exciting! I’ve thought of a pertinent myth – a troll! Funny how science can’t really explain their behaviour but NDT can. Isn’t all about triggering an emotional reaction? It even got me posting!

  17. christine randolph says:


    i would like to meet a mechanic who does not know adiabatic expansion.

    they would be few and far between. like a dog trainer who does not know where the dog’s tail is….

    (now, “engineers” is another matter…

    maybe the Rolls Royce engineers who built this failing airbus engine did not know…)

    I would like to know which science Kevin should be quoting in his essays.

    if there were science, Kevin would not need to speculate. he is not saying his theories are gospel, this is why he calls them theories.

    what I see in the world of science is well funded so-called scientists such as skinner et al. who are essentially ignorant despite their professorships but are able to find a grain of truth (even a blind chicken can do that occasionally) and ballon up that discovery to an undeserved dimension, only to be in the history books and receive more research funding. Many times they do not declare their speculations as such, but as proven science when any idiot like myself can see it is NOT proven.

    Kevin does not have the conflict of interest a bona fide scientist has

    Neither does he want to speculate for the sake of speculation. all he wants is to have people treat and understand their pet dogs better.

    which is why he receives my respect and they do not. and you do not. what business do you have criticizing a well meaning person who only has the wellbeing of our much abused pet dogs at heart.

    In addition, consider this:

    even if everything you said about Kevin were true, no one forces anyone to read Kevin’s theories.

    Unlike my favourite knucklehead scientist skinner, no young students are made to study his “garbage”…

  18. Ben says:

    I think Kevin’s theory is being proven in this very exchange 🙂

  19. Crystal says:

    Subaru said: “There is no need to discredit your beliefs. Nothing you’ve claimed has been validated. Your ideas are discredited by the absence of evidence.”

    I’m gonna get all simple on you and say my dogs have proved Kevin’s theories numerous times over as have the dogs of the other NDT practitioners. If you can’t get it to work I suggest you are dealing with faulty technique not faulty theory.

    And just so you know I’m no expert, but I have been training dogs and horses most of my life and I am well read in all the behavioral work. As far as I am concerned Behan has the missing piece.

  20. Sang says:

    Hey Suby, I think you’re still missing the point I was trying to make, or maybe I just didn’t do a good job making it. But my point is not that science isn’t constantly exploring. The fact that they are constantly exploring actually just reinforces my thoughts, it does not contradict them. My point is that just because science hasn’t yet proven something, or the evidence hasn’t yet been provided, it does not make the theory untrue or false. It just means that it is not yet quantifiable. I actually believe that these kinds of discussions will only some day prove the validity of these theories, as it creates more awareness and triggers others like yourself to get involved. The more others get involved the better.

    And I have no real views on mythology, other than they’re good stories to make a point and reveal a truth about a given situation, not as a means to convey facts.

    So could you please answer the questions I asked? To refresh, why would encouraging a dog to fence fight make him more likely to get into fights and more social? I would just really like to hear your explanation. Thanks.

  21. Sang says:

    Mistyped there. I actually meant to type, why would encouraging a dog to fence fight make him less likely to get into fights and more social.

  22. christine randolph says:

    uerawh that is a bit of a mistype Sang…

    @suby obviously there is (so far) only anecdotal evidence for Kevin’s ideas, as some scientists have anecdotal evidence for their maybe contravening theories, and you may have dogs whose behaviour does not seem to follow Kevin’s model. but essentially we cannot explain animal

    or human behaviour in a stringent, black box logical model the way skinner would like it to be. i.e. stimulus in, result out, and it is always the same result as per mathematics or a controlled experiment in other “hard” sciences of which we have had to endure many in physics class at school.

    we already know that it is intensely difficult to make identical environments for repeatable experiments when dealing with a subject with a complex brain.

    Humans or primates or dogs in a given environment will not behave as predictable as a magnetized iron particle etc. rats seem to be useful since WAY more predictable than dogs primates or humans, or dolphins etc the list goes on. so, someone should start with rats and move on from there. obviously we share dna and certain brain structures with rats and so do dogs so we have a fighting chance of getting somewhere. except, no one seems to know where the actual starting point could be. it is like unravelling a tangled piece of string and not having gotten to one of the ends yet…because even rats are too complex to predict and do not all behave the same in a labyrinth as an inanimate particle might.

    this is why Kevin’s thoughts are called ideas. ideas are creative models of currently inexplicable phenomena waiting for evidence to appear to prove them or disprove them. even if they are eventually disproved or only partly proved, they help to push the envelope because people have started thinking about it and figuring out realistic models. this could have far reaching consequences. If we could figure out how to reliably predict behaviour (i.e. criminal behaviour) we can improve social togetherness as Kevin is suggesting for our co-habitation with our pet dogs.

  23. Christine says:

    RE:”…I don’t want to bore the readers.” A great big THANK YOU to KB for stating this as I truly am bored to tears by this guy’s badgering. It is not at all edifying, neither is it enlightening or enjoyable; it’s more like an annoying gnat that you just can’t seem to discourage by swatting at it.

  24. Subaru says:

    Christine Randolph:

    Kevin like all other religious myths ignores and handwaves away contradiction.

    His ideas are not theories – except in the most plebeian meaning of the word. Theories are supported by facts, a hypothesis verified as true. At best he could call them hypotheses, but even this would be a stretch as hypothesis in science are based on rational explanation of an phenomenon and Behan’s explanations are often of a supernatural nature.

    I’m always fascinated by the arrogance that ignorance inspires. People who have never done an iota of research are experts on how research should be done and the true nature of science.


    Your anecdotes don’t prove Kevin. It is an example of a self confirmeing bias.


    I did not miss the point. You clearly wrote “think science is too ready to say they have a complete and total understanding of animal behavior” and “that science has it all figured out” both of which are false. What you are saying is clear, the absence of evidence to the contrary is proof of your views. Same holds for the fairy folk, unicorns, and quetzalcoatl. None have been proven false.

    Christine Randolph: You are incorrect is suggesting there is anecdotal evidence. There is none. There is a convoluted creation to explain away the evidence, and while it is wildly imaginative it is not evidence.

    I agree with you in that we can’t explain away animal behavior vis a vis Skinner. Which is why the radical Skinnerism you and Kevin criticizes was abandoned decades ago. It is his strawman, something easy to tear down. However Skinner work was based on solid science the same for Throrndike, Pinker, Premack ect.

  25. christine randolph says:


    yes i criticize science if I feel the need, even if I have not done much scientific stuff because this is the place to do it. a blog where everyone can say stuff as if we are talking in a pub.

    In addition, I do not feel particularly arrogant criticizing current practices of funding of research and the idiotic results this produces since I also pay taxes and am one of many who are unable to wiggle out of funding this s**t.

    you are trying to make a distinction between hypothesis and theories. not necessary in this context.

    I personally am not trying to prove Kevin.
    I am entertaining the possibility that he could be, at least partially, correct.

    you seem to be trying to disprove Kevin and you are not successful. for instance, if you do not like skinner then which scientist is so superior that you would defend him or her vis a vis Kevin.

    from what I know, and you are correct, I do not follow every single scientific discovery in the field but I would challenge you to disprove me when I say that even so-called behavioural scientists mucking about with operant conditioning etc. still have to refer back to skinner at every turn because THERE IS NOTHING ELSE OUT THERE. and as you had admitted skinner is dubious at best so anyone refering to him would also be. he is not providing solid ground to stand on. hence others who have decided to build on his “theories” are also not grounded. (they might be happy but not credible)

    call Kevin’s ideas hypotheses instead of theories or call skinner’s theories the “truth” and what have you gained ? I am sure Kevin would not worry. Skinner’s work may have been based on solid science but he must have made a wrong turn somewhere…he has been proven inaccurate so you can call his stuff what you will also, the reality of it is not going to go away. i.e. that skinner will NOT explain animal behaviour.

    The anecdotal evidence I am referring to is that there are dogs out there whose behaviour changes along the lines of what Kevin predicts when applying his “hypotheses” to the specific dog.

    since your thought processes according to you are so much better than any of ours, why don’t you go ahead and develop and create a behavioural theory that is less wildly imaginative and closer to reality.

    ..my behavioural theory on you is, that you are unable to do so, since you are so proud of yourself Thinking Clearly that Thinking Creatively loses out in your brain…

  26. Ben says:

    What’s telling to me is that Subaru is attacking Kevin, rather than the theory itself. Subaru says:

    “There is no need to discredit your beliefs. Nothing you’ve claimed has
    been validated.Your ideas are discredited by the absence of evidence.”

    This is complete hogwash. Your input essentially has zero value as it’s evident that a) you haven’t tried any of the exercises outlined on the site, and b) you do not understand the theory to begin with. It’d be like me showing up at a theoretical physics forum and telling them dark matter is BS because it hasn’t been directly measured.

    And what do you mean absence of evidence? There are tons of dog owners on this forum performing “experiments” with their dogs every single day. Simply because I do not have a multimeter hooked up to my dog’s head, a positron emission tomographer, and a blood plasma analyzer does not mean knowledge and understanding cannot be gained.

    I cannot speak for everyone else, but I’m here because I note the flaws in the current understanding of animal and especially dog behavior. I’m hugely interested in science, but I also have the where-with-all to understand that some of the best ideas do NOT always originate in a controlled laboratory setting with immediate, measurable results, especially when you’re dealing with animal behavior. Scientific discovery can be the result of bouts of intuition, inspiration, and experience. Kevin’s theory has provided me with a new perspective of what a complete theory of animal behavior may look like, and importantly, in a way that I can understand. It correlates and fits better in the existing framework of knowledge than the current models that I’ve seen and researched. Does that mean it’s “fact” or “true”? — no, but it does beg further exploration.

    Whereas you’ve completely discredited Kevin’s theory before attempting to understand it or even try some of the exercises(“experiments” if you will). That therefore makes your argument completely baseless, and it goes against the spirit of discovery and science.

  27. Sang says:

    Still haven’t answered my question.

  28. PHYLLIS says:

    Very well stated Ben. I agree- totally.
    My GSD, Rudy became very aggressive with dominance training; with NDT he is a joy. We continue to learn and each day is a new adventure. His attraction to handler is solid. His recall is solid. He still has room for improvement,but so do all of us. I come to this blog for information and encouragement in my relationship to my dog not to read personal attacks on the person who has developed these methods. I believe there is positives in all and Kevin loves dogs. They are his passion. To trivialize this demeans the person doing so. No matter what is said Kevin will continue exploring and learning about dogs. That is what he does.
    I am bored with Sabaru and just wish he would go away. Can’t he find a cat blog to bitch in? :0)

  29. Christine says:

    @Phyllis: I agree heartily…I am bored with Subaru and wish him to go away as he isn’t adding any new energy. He only whines and complains. It could be an interesting discussion if he would leave off insulting Kevin personally and offer a valid critique of his theories. After all, it’s good to see sensai challenged intellectually; that’s how things are sorted out. I’m thinking of the PBS series on Einstein and the Elegant Universe. Einstein’s theories arose from his own mental meanderings and imagination not on reviewing current scientific models. He was an outside-the-box thinker. I wonder if Subaru would’ve attacked Einstein personally in the same way he does Kevin had he been there.

  30. christine randolph says:

    yeah yeah suby could go away RIGHT NOW and not be missed…
    i wonder what suby wants..obviously he involontarily reminded us of why we like Kevin over and above more commonplace behavioural models.

    i am assuming he is not an missionary for a superb scientific model that he has discovered in the archives of Yale University or some such obscure place that will solve all conundrums (or…dra) we are currently facing with our dogs. if he had this he would have pointed us to it by now ????

    so. what is he, an incorrigible shit stirrer who cannot work in a team so he goes around causing fights by throwing meaningless but hurtful words like “eternally discredited” at unsuspecting theory (hypotheses) inventors ?

  31. Sang says:

    I’d actually find this discussion interesting and engaging if Subaru would just provide concrete arguments and data himself. The very thing he accuses everyone else of not having. He has yet to answer any specific questions posed to him.

    Just answer the questions with data and research so that we can have an actual discussion and dialogue. Again, I really want to know why encouraging an aggressive dog to fence fight makes him less aggressive and more social. If you can’t answer that simple question with some sort of evidence that supports the behaviorist model, or any other model, then I’ll know you’re only out trolling for a fight, and actually aren’t interested at all in being a voice for science.

  32. Subaru says:

    Christine, there is no need to disprove Behan. He hasn’t proven anything. I give Behan the same response that I give to the claim the world rests on the back of a turtles, or that the sky is being held up by Atlas. It is a silly superstition, this is why after years of pushing this idiocy there hasn’t been any progress as far as evidence.

  33. Subaru says:

    Christine (same as Christine Randolph? writes:
    “Einstein’s theories arose from his own mental meanderings and imagination not on reviewing current scientific models.”

    Obviously she has no idea about Einstein’s work. His seminal work can be found online and had you bothered to read it, you would see that he does indeed review current models and uses those models to derive his own.

    However Einstein did not topple, but rather added and built upon the work of Maxwell and others.

    This is teh same criticism that I noted in the comments about the study about dogs sneaking food. None of the NDTer had even bothered to read it and all were jumping in with the comments. Once again RTFS!! before you post.

  34. Heather says:

    Maybe someone else (NDT trainer/fan/newcomer) could offer insight in terms of the model as to why encouraging an aggressive dog to fence fight makes him less aggressive and more social.

    I am not sure what Subaru is getting out of this, what the agenda is, it is only fun to a point (RTFS point taken, are there others?) unless it becomes an honest exchange of ideas.

  35. kbehan says:

    Subaru, you say you have no need to disprove my assertions, yet my theory about dogs and cars is stronger than the statement you’ve made. Is it your scientific position that there is no distinction between dogs and cats in regards to a desire to ride in cars? And if you believe that some dogs do and some don’t, why the variation? Why aren’t dogs uniform in this regard as are cats? Perhaps if you try to answer such questions you might begin to appreciate why so many honest students of behavior find the mainstream explanations of dogs to be wanting.

  36. Crystal says:

    “RTFS”?! Oh my. Seems our little community has got him or her quite worked up.

    He or she reminds me of that poster who was around a few months ago. Can’t remember his name. Think it began with B. But at least the B fellow had a few dogs, though I don’t think he tried any of the exercises.

    Subaru do you have a dog?

  37. Adam says:

    Subaru, have you seen Kevin’s article titled “Do Dogs Have a Sense of Fairness?” Researchers at the University of Vienna found that two dogs when taught to give paw for food, would do so consistently with or without receiving reward. However, when one dog received food while the other did not, the dog not receiving food stopped giving paw. This is considered evidence that dogs have an intuitive sense of fairness.

    Do you see the massive leap in logic taken to draw this conclusion? Researchers are saying that dogs can basically do mental math, as well as have and understand a code of conduct, a system of morality. As in, “hey, I DESERVE that cookie and I EXPECT to receive payment for my actions.” Sir Subaru, multiple scientific studies have violated the tenet of parsimony (integral to valid scientific research). What we’re trying to do here is provide some more parsimonious speculation. We’re asking ourselves and others if these mainstream explanations are really the simplest ways of interpreting behavior.

    And this is just in the laboratory. I’ve seen dogs almost die in the name of dominance theory (considered by many to be very scientific I might add), and this has led me searching for something new. So if Kevin decides to defend his dissertation some time in the future, by all means, go and express your skepticism. But for now, please leave us alone. We’re trying to do something here, and your taking up space.

  38. DaveD says:

    Adam, help Kevin out and explain the Vienna researchers’ findings that dogs have a sense of fairness in terms of energy.

    As for the dogs in cars, they seem to have as many reactions and possible reasons for their individual reactions as do people…a non-sequitor in proving anything, I am afraid.

  39. Heather says:

    Many more good questions but waiting for answers.

    “Researchers are saying that dogs can basically do mental math, as well as have and understand a code of conduct, a system of morality. As in, ‘hey, I DESERVE that cookie and I EXPECT to receive payment for my actions.'”

    It would be funny if it wasn’t serious.

    Choosing to disregard the negative/flawed reasoning to accept the mainstream’s desired scientific propositions and conclusions is certainly illustrative of something about the nature of consciousness that is worthy of examination.

    If it is true that the different aspects of consciousness are something that you inherently have irrespective of form (ie, something that can be located and measured), then it is even more important to demand exacting standards from science. What we do with our consciousness is no trivial matter–would we choose to lock our consciousness into circular and self-defeating logic and behavior loops in support of behavioral science’s politically-minded research? That is what I feel like I’m being asked to do as the reader of some of these studies.

  40. Christine says:

    RTFS…if it stands for what I’m thinking abusive speech does not belong here, or anywhere for that matter. Using such language is the hallmark of ignorance. If I’m mistaken in my assumption then I do apologize!
    I stand by my statement: “Einstein’s theories arose from his own mental meanderings and imagination not on reviewing current scientific models.” It is accurate in the context I used. Einstein was educated in the scientific methods/theories of the time but what he imagined did not derive from those models, he went beyond them and then set about proving them. Kevin is following a similar methodology. He is conversant in current scientific methods/theories but what he ‘sees’ and imagines go beyond that. Someday the scientific community will catch-up and there will be no more need for name-calling or abusive speech.

  41. Christine says:

    BTW…if I were christine randolph I would’ve posted as such.

  42. kbehan says:

    (1) “Adam, help Kevin out and explain the Vienna researchers’ findings that dogs have a sense of fairness in terms of energy.”

    KB: Animals have no sense of fairness because there’s no such thing as fairness in nature. That’s the arbitrary projection of human thoughts onto the behavior of an animal. Projecting thoughts onto animals is rife in the current science because the current theories have no model and so the only means they have available to account for complex and adaptive behavior is by projecting human reason/intention into the mind of a dog; whereas an energy theory provides a model for altruism and cooperation (construction of a sense of self via emotional projection into others) and doesn’t have to resort to human concoctions to account for such behavior. You might also try to offer an alternative in step one in the logical argument for an energy theory that there can only be intention or attraction in the behavior of any animal. Hopefully you or Subaru will not remain mute on this point.

    (2) “As for the dogs in cars, they seem to have as many reactions and possible reasons for their individual reactions as do people…a non-sequitor in proving anything, I am afraid.”

    KB: From your point of view without benefit of a model, it might seem confusing and subject to all kinds of human reasons, however we can immediately see that you are unable to say anything about what’s going on inside the mind of a dog without resorting to a human reason. And you might want to take note that it has led you into an unscientific and illogical belief that there isn’t a fundamental difference between dogs and cats in regards to cars, something that about 99.99% of dog/cat owners would disagree with you about, a rather scientifically meaningful statistic. It’s another example of denial of the obvious. Also, if there isn’t anything unique about dogs and their love of car rides since it’s mitigated in each individual case by some reason, then by such logic science therefore shouldn’t be researching the unique capacity of dogs to follow human gaze, something I’ve been working with since the seventies and codified in “Natural Dog Training” (1992) as the principle that the “negative (eyes) grants access to the positive (body),” the organizing principle in all animal interactions. In regards to the gaze I must assume that there are as “many reactions and possible reasons for their individual reactions as do people…a non-sequitor in proving anything.” However I’m confident you haven’t been railing against this research anywhere on the web, which furthermore means that you are illogically assuming that the only thing unique about dogs is their capacity to follow human gaze and directed pointing (fear of thunderstorms? eating you-know-what?, search-and-rescue?, tug-of-war?, the list of unique capacities is as long and as varied as the things that dogs do).

  43. kbehan says:

    I just looked it up online. And these guys are the refined thinkers?

  44. Christine says:

    Looked what up?

  45. Heather says:

    The university researchers are not likely to emerge from their ivory towers to a place of openness to criticism from outside of academia.

  46. Subaru says:

    Christine repeating the same nonsense won’t make it right.

    Having read through the comments, NDT seems to encourage opinions that arise from ignorance.

    Einstein did derive from Maxwell et al, and such derivations are found in many fields fields of science and common questions on midterms and finals. I find it fascinating that even though you had the opportunity to look for references and correct yourself, your choice was to emphatically repeat the mistake.

  47. Christine says:

    So then, what does RTFS stand for?

  48. Christine says:

    Subaru, I find it fascinating that while you seem self-assured that you are an intellectually enlightened and superior being you still can manage to be “Thick as a Brick”.

  49. kbehan says:

    Subaru: My theory isn’t based on Einstein. It’s based on the unique capacities of dogs which paradoxically reveals an underlying universal capacity that underwrites all of animal consciousness. Therefore I know why dogs like to ride in cars as well as other things they do because the above line of investigation renders a model. You could learn the model by going step by step (see step one) as I am gradually unfolding as this web site develops. In the meantime you are avoiding making definitive statements because each time you do, you create a self-contradiction in terms (see gaze experiment). People consult this site because they have a feeling that something is missing from the mainstream theories that folks like you are trying to enforce over free thought by the use of derision. You are free to debunk step one or any critical point that you like, if you can, but you need to make a definitive statement to sustain a concrete argument such as the one I’m making. Your avoidance strategy is transparent.

  50. DaveD says:

    We should assume the Vienna researchers are honest, and one dog got p*ssed when he no longer got treats for shaking paws, and quit. How do you explain the behavior of the well fed dog and the p*ssed dog with energy?

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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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