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. kbehan says:

    Of course the researchers are honest, that’s not my critique. I wrote an article on the experiment and it’s on this site. Basically, when the dog was denied the food treat while the other given it, the physical memory of a denial (the most intense varieties being associated with being corrected by a human being) was triggered and the dog perceived the denial of the food as the researcher correcting it. The photos of the experiment are vivid indications of a dog in avoidance behavior, (not “pissed off”) and certainly not the recognition of an injustice which by the way hardly triggers an avoidance response (for example in humans it invariably prompts outrage). The researchers are misinterpreting the evidence and reading into the dog’s mind highly complex thoughts when a far simpler energy explanation is far more comprehensive.

  2. Crystal says:

    Kevin said: “Basically, when the dog was denied the food treat while the other given it, the physical memory of a denial (the most intense varieties being associated with being corrected by a human being) was triggered and the dog perceived the denial of the food as the researcher correcting it.”

    Um, this actually was my first thought upon reading the experiment myself and I am sure many many others who work with dogs on a regular basis. I’m sorry it just doesn’t take an expert. Point I am trying to make here is come on Dave and Subaru bring on something that will challenge the man.

    Even clicker trainers will tell you this will happen if you fade the reward too soon, though they also say the dog will be angry.

  3. DaveD says:

    Do you guys really believe your dogs have no ability to sense jealousy – an egotistical evaluation that that guy is getting more than me?

    No clickers, here. Common sense, only.

  4. Sang says:

    The Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which an unskilled person makes poor decisions and reaches erroneous conclusions, but their incompetence denies them the metacognitive ability to realize their mistakes.

    The core basis of the Dunning-Kruger effect revolves around the notion that those with a lot of experience in a given field are more likely to underestimate their abilities, and they tend to perform better than those with less experience or ability who overestimate their abilities. Given that Kevin has spent a lifetime working with dogs in the real world, not in a lab, training police dogs in the most extreme conditions, as well as dealing with some of the most behaviorally challenged dogs one will ever come across, I’d say that he has more experience in this field than most, giving him insights that most people, including most researchers, can’t see when it comes to dog behavior.

    So what is your experience and knowledge of dog behavior Subaru? Just asking since I would assume that having a strong foundation in this area would be necessary to make any kinds of critiques of another’s theories, especially when that person has a lifetime of experience and knowledge in this area. Since you claim that Behan is full of flaws and inaccuracies, then I ask what is your background and experience in this area, because I’m beginning to suspect that you yourself are playing in an arena that’s a little higher than your pay level? Which of course in turn means that you yourself, as well as Dave D are in fact both suffering a bit from the Dunning-Kruger effect?

  5. Sang says:

    Actually, do you really believe that dogs sense jealousy? Seems common sense to me that they don’t.

  6. Heather says:

    Burl thought they did.

  7. kbehan says:

    Don’t you see the knot you’re tying? For thirty years behaviorists have been teaching owners that dogs don’t soil the house out of spite, and they don’t know they’ve done wrong when they’re found hiding in the closet upon owner’s return, that’s not guilt, it’s fear (or “submission” if you must) but now according to the latest interpretations of behaviorism, dogs are supposedly able to comprehend states of inequity and according to your statement are capable of jealousy. Do words no longer have meaning? (BTW what makes a sense common is energy, not thoughts.) I don’t expect that you grasp my energy theory yet, and that’s fair enough, however one needs to recognize a self-contradicting logic loop when they’re in one. That’s all it takes to begin to have questions.

  8. Subaru says:

    The claim that you know is not epistemically justified. You don’t know, you believe based on the mythology you’ve concocted because you are afraid to face the reality you are just another animal borne out of evolutionary processes.

  9. kbehan says:

    If I don’t know, then expand on your statement, some-dogs-do-and-some-dogs-don’t in regards to why dogs love to ride in cars.

  10. Christine says:

    I think we ought to stop feeding Subaru…it’s the humane thing to do.

  11. DaveD says:

    Every dog reacts uniquely to a car ride. What else can one offer on the subject?

    Some love it, some hate it. Some are hyper vigilent, some sleep through it all. Some cower by the passenger’s feet, some are sticking their head out the window. Some throw up, some need tranquilizers.

  12. seb says:

    Agreed. He’s been warned to keep it civil, and I’m tired of reading the word ‘ignorant’ over and over and over and over again.

  13. Christine says:

    It’s typical behavior from one who is afraid. I wonder what there is to be afraid of in Kevin’s models? Hmmmm…at any rate, a person who is centered and comfortable with his own convictions doesn’t need to fight about it. This whole thread only serves to deepen my respect for Kevin and his theories; he isn’t afraid of nor is he threatened by another’s disagreement and yet Subaru seems to suffer from both. Interesting all by itself, methinks.

  14. kbehan says:

    Without a model the statements you’ve made might seem logical and allay the non-inquisitive, but it turns out there is quite a bit more that can be said on the subject. Dogs do not react uniquely to a car ride. Dogs with strong drive ALWAYS love car rides, dogs with weak drive are overwhelmed by sensory input and vary along a spectrum from sleeping it off to outright car sickness. The distinction between strong and weak drive manifests in everything such dogs do in areas other than car rides and IS PREDICTIVE. In selecting a dog for police work, it is impossible to get a dog that is suitable for the work and then fail to love riding around in the back of the cruiser, even if the dog was selected at age two and had never been in a car during in its life. I have purchased many such dogs from Germany. Temperament is temperament, i.e. the capacity to turn sensory input into information, information=Drive, Drive=synchronized group action. Furthermore car sick dogs vomit not explosively, but by orienting to a specific spot which is in itself indicative of an underlying template. Meanwhile, cows, horses, livestock and poultry that are transported IN BOUNCY TRUCKS AND VANS do not get car sick because they are not importing the sensory stimuli into their gut as do dogs. They tune it out since their Drive (capacity to synchronize by projecting their “self” outside their instinctual frames of reference) is not strong enough and so they stay rooted into a homeostatic sense of their surroundings. This is also why these animals are uniformly not phobic about thunderstorms and why they don’t attempt to resonate with undulating frequency of sirens because the noise doesn’t penetrate into their deep gut. So were you to be interested in the distinctions between animals, then you would notice that there is such a dynamic as Temperament and you would be in position to question the current theories of learning which HAVE NO MODEL and then begin to search for a model. In the absence of such intellectual curiosity your only alternative is denial of the obvious as reflected in such statements (some do, some don’t) that don’t in fact say anything. In contrast, some of us have noticed there seems to be a pattern to things and that the emperor has no model for this pattern. We are willing to question authority.

  15. Heather says:

    With the interpretation of evidence in these experiments where intention is imputed to animals, there is a lot of confirmation bias -concluding what we want to believe to justify what we are doing and/or to support a particular external agenda such as animal rights.

    Sometimes desired results and the agenda have the potential to be in conflict, so then there is a flurry activity producing self-contradictory material to reconcile two potentially mutually exclusive conclusions (eg, (1) dogs don’t have the mental capacity to know even know who did the housesoiling after the fact, it’s only our mind that fills in the blank with this information, and (2) dogs worry about inequities and they are jealous).

    Whether or not the external agenda has merit on its own is a separate issue.

    Subaru, you keep up your attacks here without substantive discussion, and as far as I can tell you take issue with knowledge (true belief, belief based on evidence, a valid form of which is empirical observation of nature, including dogs) that may also reveal “meaning” to animal consciousness.

    What I want is to explore this sort of knowledge in detail. Taking issue with the definition of something as knowledge or belief is also a good exercise, but at least
    pick a point of contention and discuss it, many have been offered.

  16. DaveD says:

    KB, you talk as though no other dog trainer or owner would understand the term ‘temperament’ as explanatory of ‘different strokes…’ What you do not seem to get is that you did not discover the notion.

    You kept taunting Suby with the dog-car question, and its answer was obvious at the outset.

    Behaviorists will describe temperament from a psycho-social-physiological perspective, and you a trying to explain it solely through physics.
    That’s all.

  17. kbehan says:

    That’s precisely my point, behaviorists can’t describe Temperament by using a “psycho-social-physiological perspective” because all they are doing is investing thoughts into the behavior as a means of accounting for a diverse range of responses (hence the term psycho in your compound term above) as for why some-dogs-do-and-some-dogs-don’t, which again isn’t saying anything. You add more and more complex terms into the mix without adding any information. So please feel free and define Temperament and what you define as a trait. (Finally I notice that you’re also not dealing with the point that a dog that is endowed with an uninhibited prey-making urge ALWAYS loves car rides even if every trip is to the vets. This is predictive and contradicts your some/do/some/don’t random hypothesis.)

  18. kbehan says:

    Suby is doing the taunting. I’m asking questions.

  19. Cadillac says:

    I find Subaru’s distinction between metaphysics/theory/’mythology’/models and reality/knowledge/truth just as boring and inane as his/her bad manners. If we understand any conceptual model or thinking about a given object-event (‘about’ giving us the key to its circumscription rather than subsumption), we understand it not as the thing itself, but as a coordinated explanation or linguistically- mediated definition. It may be ostensive, in the sense of Reichenbach’s ‘co-ordinative definition’, which indicates by deixis rather than description (e.g. a unit of measurement); or it may be on the deep end of abstraction. We may now refer to the myth of Newtonian classical physics as we might to Empedocles’ theory of the four elements conjoined in a dialectic of Love and Strife, as we might to the eschatological hope of communism. This is neither grounds for absolving all empirical and scientific investigation for spiritual supernaturalism, nor for reverting to a pre-19th century empirical naturalism wherein dogs just do what they do because they are dogs and that’s what dogs do. The problem with such nostalgia is that it can’t understand what is perhaps the primary philosophical breakthrough of the last century, which is that: the limits of human perception are not the limits of experience nor of objective examination; thus, Heisenbergian uncertainty, the paradox of relativity, Schilder’s ‘body-image’, and the various other discoveries and modeling of events and objects whose space-time conditions are such that the senses can only be silent about them. The achievements of micro- and macroscopy, by what they have revealed as much as what they stirred up without revealing, have complicated the question of whether vitalism or mechanism holds to the truth about a given explanation. The distinction is outdated.

    I personally take Behan’s theory to be a kind of philosophy of science, and in a pragmatist tradition of the epistemological razor, perhaps filtered through an appreciation of those elements of nature which remain unexplained.

    I hope this doesn’t result in further name-calling, but it’d be nice if the pundits owned up to their name.

  20. DaveD says:

       /ˈtɛmpərəmənt, -prəmənt, -pərmənt/ Show Spelled[tem-per-uh-muhnt, -pruh-muhnt, -per-muhnt] Show IPA
    the combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits of a person; natural predisposition.
    unusual personal attitude or nature as manifested by peculiarities of feeling, temper, action, etc., often with a disinclination to submit to conventional rules or restraints.
    (old physiology) the combination of the four cardinal humors, the relative proportions of which were supposed to determine physical and mental constitution.
    Music .
    the tuning of a keyboard instrument, as the piano, organ, or harpsichord, so that the instrument may be played in all keys without further tuning.
    a particular system of doing this.
    Archaic . an act of tempering or moderating.
    Archaic . climate.
    Use temperament in a Sentence
    See images of temperament
    Search temperament on the Web
    1375–1425; late ME < L temperāmentum due mixture, equiv. to temperā ( re ) to mix properly + -mentum -ment


    So, it seems to me like T is the unique blend of dominating emotions making up the nature of the dog – these emotions combined with its assessments of sense data will influence how fido takes in and acts on the world.
    1. nature, makeup. See disposition.

  21. kbehan says:

    Go for it. Pick one of these definitions and then explain why some dogs do and some dogs don’t like to ride in cars. (Hint: concentrate on definition #4 (substituting nervous system for musical instrument). The rule is you can’t describe the way things are, as in some dogs have the car riding trait and some don’t, rather you must explain what’s going on inside the dog’s mind.

  22. DaveD says:

    You pluck a guitar and a chicken, but not a dog.

  23. DaveD says:

    I take #1, “the combination of mental, physical, and emotional traits of a person [dog]; natural predisposition.

    But naturally, an NDT preference out of 6 standard accepted options is for changing one of them into a metaphor!

    Number 1 for $1M.

  24. kbehan says:

    So dogs have a natural predisposition due to mental, physical and emotional traits so that some like to ride in cars and some don’t and for a variety of reasons? And all we have to do to answer any question about dogs (why do dogs howl/tug/eat-you-know-what/protection/search and rescue/detect seizures, directed gaze/eye contact etc.,etc.) is plug in the handy-dandy all purpose answer.

  25. DaveD says:

    Nobody has ‘the answer’, including you. We do not understand our own human behavior well, let alone that of dogs who cannot convey their mental activities to us.

    KB, you have a hunch you have it all wrapped up in a simple package…get in line.

  26. kbehan says:

    Also, are you still maintaining that there is no difference between dogs and cats in regards to car riding, and if your answer is that there is due to definition #1, then therefore what combination of mental, physical and emotional traits account for this distinction?

  27. kbehan says:

    First you have to have questions.

  28. DaveD says:

    Nobody has ‘the answer’, including you. We do not understand our own human behavior well, let alone that of dogs who cannot convey their mental activities to us. KB, you have a hunch you have it all wrapped up in a simple package…get in line.

  29. seb says:

    On the surface you seem to be in total agreement, but yours and Subaru’s arguments don’t even line up with each other.

    Either there’s evidence and concrete science, or there’s “no answer”. Pick one. Don’t ask Behan to fall “in line” with both at the same time.

  30. Subaru says:

    “Dogs do not react uniquely to a car ride”

    You write a lot of dumb things, this one will become a classic.

  31. Sang says:

    Once again, copying and pasting something out of context, then making a condescending statement without ever actually answering anything yourself. So are you also a copy paste scientist/researcher, or do you ever create an original thought of your own. You resort to taunting while constantly avoiding and evading having to actually answer any questions.

    So I’ll ask again since you’ve managed to avoid answering this a number of times. Based on the current models and research in dog behavior, or your own experience and knowledge of dog behavior, why does encouraging and praising an aggressive dog for fence fighting make him less aggressive and more social? DaveD can answer this one too if he likes.

  32. DaveD says:

    To say ‘nobody has the answer’ is to acknowledge the core principle of scienticic method – never presume you have the complete picture: nature will make a fool of you. If you generate a scientific theory that supports dozens of empirical observations and write a tome laying it out, do so with large passages of scientific skepticism; because, as sure as the earth orbits the sun, there will be empirical evidence you’ve overlooked which weakens or even destroys your brainchild.

    And more to the point for KB and NDT, the same is true for a non-scientific hunch.

  33. DaveD says:

    Sang: “Why does encouraging and praising an aggressive dog for fence fighting make him less aggressive and more social?” DaveD can answer this one too if he likes.

    I did not know it works like that. How many dogs will it work on?

  34. Cadillac says:

    @ DaveD: you state two things: 1) that a useful way to think about dog behavior is by the dog’s ‘temperament’. By understanding the unique natural disposition of each dog, we can best understand why they act a certain way. This is pattern recognition by asserting common traits, which form a kind of composite image of the ‘dog’. 2) You also state that dogs cannot convey their mental activities to us, i.e. they lack a ‘language’, strictly speaking. They may be able show attention and respond to cues, but they hardly ever lay on the couch to report their most repressed fantasy or dream sequence. If temperament is a combination of mental and emotional traits which influence behavior, how would you ever know it? It seems as though the communication-barrier presents problems for any ascription of mind. Doesn’t this represent a case of begging the question. All you’ve done is presume what you need to explain. Since we’re slinging definitions: temperament: ‘Constitution or habit of mind, esp. as depending upon or connected with physical constitution; natural disposition’ (from Oxford English Dictionary, sense 7). It’s also of interest to note that this word descends to modern behaviorism from the medieval psychology of the four humors, and that temperament, etymologically speaking, is only a mixture or combination of various elements of mind. It actually does not describe anything. We might as well talk about a dog’s mind, behavior, mood, reason, intention, nature, thought, and so forth. Could you respond here? How does temperament offer an explanation of your own personal observation of dog behavior, especially behavior that seems anomalous or particularly strange? It would be nice to hear some examples drawn from your own experience with dogs.

  35. DaveD says:

    I think KB first mentions ‘Temperament’ and then wanted a definition. I was also taken by the root of the word as a superposition of emotions which we know color the reasoning of an organism, whatever that may be like for other animals – WE CANNOT KNOW EXACTLY, but can presume similarity of mental activity among the higher mammals. So, I figure Darwin gives answer to “If temperament is a combination of mental and emotional traits which influence behavior, how would you ever know it?”

  36. kbehan says:

    DaveD: “I think KB first mentions ‘Temperament’ and then wanted a definition. I was also taken by the root of the word as a superposition of emotions which we know color the reasoning of an organism, whatever that may be like for other animals – WE CANNOT KNOW EXACTLY, but can presume similarity of mental activity among the higher mammals. So, I figure Darwin gives answer to “If temperament is a combination of mental and emotional traits which influence behavior, how would you ever know it?”
    KB: I don’t see how Darwin gives an answer here, is this door number 5? Yes I introduced the notion of Temperament, but as a model not as a dictionary description, and the term model is apt because dogs do not react “uniquely” as in randomly or due to personal preferences or past experiences to car rides. This is why we have temperament testing for police dogs and why we have breeds of dogs. They fall out predictably along a spectrum so that I can predict which puppies will eventually come to love car rides, i.e. the ones who are the hardest to inhibit in their prey drive.
    Also, you’re assuming that dogs have reasoning that is colored by emotion when you’re looking at it inside out. The order and logic of their intelligent behavior is based on emotion itself, not a detached reasoning about a particular state of emotion they’re experiencing. The problem you’re encountering in not being able to sustain the definition of temperament you’ve accepted when its inherent fallacy has been pointed out by Cadillac (you are going to give back the $1 million dollars you prematurely rewarded yourself, right?) is that abstract descriptions that you accept as explanations, end up leading into self-contradicting logic loops. (So “WE CAN NOT KNOW EXACTLY,” but you can know I’m wrong? It’s exactly because you presume similarity of mental activity THAT YOU CAN’T KNOW EXACTLY.) Then when you are pressed to deal with the concrete specifics of actual dog behavior (as in how come praising a dog for fence fighting reduces aggression to other dogs? Answer: because it increases dog’s attraction to its owner and now the fear driving the aggression can find a means of resolution through synchronizing with its owner, which is also akin to why dogs love car rides) you either deny the obvious or end up describing with abstract terminology which ultimately renders an oxymoron. It is obvious that dogs love to ride in cars. I can’t imagine you would ever challenge this notion were you to hear it elsewhere.

  37. DaveD says:

    “It is obvious that dogs love to ride in cars. ”

    I thought it had been settled that this is simply not true.

    Your understanding of animal emotion and how it influences reasoning must, following Darwin, be viewed as a continuum including dogs, pigs, monkeys, apes, dolphins, humans.

    There are likely psychological analogs to cure a person’s fear by directing it trustingly to another human, or even, ironically, to a dog. It does need be explained in non-psychological ways as you prefer.

  38. DaveD says:

    It does not need to be explained in non-psychological ways as you prefer.

  39. kbehan says:

    DaveD: “I thought it had been settled that this (dogs love to ride in cars) is simply not true.”

    KB: By whom? I’ve consistently maintained you are denying the obvious and I think this discredits you in the eyes of any objective observer of comparative behavior. So we can rephrase the question this way if you like, how is it then that SOME dogs come to ecstatically love riding in the car (euphoria induced by jingling of car keys, head out window, pressing into the front seat/dashboard, getting into driver’s seat when driver leaves) and yet NO cat EVER gets to such a state? Every reason you can generate that can substantiate the case for one dog liking a car ride whereas another doesn’t, vacation travel, being with owner, play session at the end of trip, no trip to vets, etc., etc., is true for cats as well. So what possible reason would lead one species to differentiate from another since according to you all animals can have reason moderating emotion?

    KB: Final Version of the Same Question: Since Harvard’s Canine Cognition Lab hasn’t yet taken up the question for why dogs love to ride in cars and other animals don’t, but it has taken up the question as to why only dogs follow human gaze and other animals don’t, and so presumably, this unique capacity in dogs cannot be denied in any fair minded student of comparative behavior, why then do dogs follow human gaze and cats don’t, or even other primates even when their self-interest is clearly served by that?

    DaveD: “Your understanding of animal emotion and how it influences reasoning must, following Darwin, be viewed as a continuum including dogs, pigs, monkeys, apes, dolphins, humans.”

    KB: Emotion is a continuum, reason is not. One can generate a perfectly good reason to justify anything and place oneself completely outside the continuum, genocide for example.

    DaveD: “There are likely psychological analogs to cure a person’s fear by directing it trustingly to another human, or even, ironically, to a dog. It does need be explained in non-psychological ways as you prefer.”

    KB: I couldn’t agree more on one level except that trust is a muscle (heart) and dependent on a feeling of physical release rather than it being a psychological process, and this mechanism of trust completely contradicts what behaviorism has been teaching dog owners for the last thirty years in regards to aggression. How come only NDT predicates the resolution of aggression through a formalized system of inculcating trust between dog and owner rather than dominance or desensitization as in the other two mainstream behavioral systems?

  40. Heather says:

    So a dog’s desire to ride in a car is proportional to its drive to hunt/play with its owner. Kevin has said before that it is because the car becomes the vehicle for the group hunt so to speak. I can imagine that when a dog has fully projected its emotional center of gravity outside of its “self” and into its owner, the car’s kinetic energy that would be added to the energetic connection between the owner and the dog would account for some dogs going out of their minds for a car ride and checking in at nearby doors when they are prohibited from getting in the car. It seems obvious that there is a fundamental difference between dogs and cats in regards to cars, and anyone arguing to the contrary would just be looking for affirmation of the existing theories about dogs.

  41. Christine says:

    I wonder why it is that Subaru and DaveD won’t play the game? It’s so much more fun when you engage!
    Perhaps they prefer the sidelines as in being an announcer/commentator/play-by-play type person. That’s a whole ‘nother perspective…

  42. kbehan says:

    Very well said, excellent. Kinetic energy of car becoming part of the dog’s very consciousness and feeling for its owner.

  43. Heather says:

    The bit of energetic logic that I am not yet fully understanding is why is the prescription for gaining the trust of an aggressive dog praise, yet for a fearful or avoiding dog, it is scaring them?

  44. DaveD says:

    Would you apply the same techniques to deal with aggression and fear in dogs to aggression and fear in children?

  45. kbehan says:

    I think I know what you’re asking. With an aggressive dog the fear is right at the surface as it is being expressed into straightforward action and so it is available for attracting, grounding and calming. However with a fearful dog or a dog in avoidance, once pushing/playing is built up to its maximum degree and yet the dog is still holding back, at some point the fear needs to be triggered and brought to the surface so that it can thereby become available for attracting, grounding and calming.

  46. kbehan says:

    Children can think of their self as a self separate from other selves, so there can be a psychological approach. I never said children don’t think. Emotionally however, a therapist has to bring stuff to the surface and then the child has to develop the emotional capacity to process the energy, so that is analogous. I have noticed that you can’t talk a child out of trauma, they must heal emotionally, and this piggybacks on the physical processes. For example if a child is unduly afraid of snakes, they must become physically comfortable with snakes, and so their “emotional battery” needs to be triggered (pictures of snakes, taking child to snake exhibit, maybe even handling snakes), they just can’t be talked out of a fear of snakes by intellectually understanding how counterproductive and irrational their fear is. They must gain the physical sense that they remain in control of their bodies around snakes. The heart as the trust muscle is what both child and dog have in common, not the gift of verbal language. Resolving unresolved energy is a physical not an intellectual process. There is even a therapy I think that is called “holding down” with a child that is psychopathic who is rolled up in a blanket and then held down until a state of panic is induced. I’ve heard it is effective but it makes me so uncomfortable I don’t want to even visualize it. I’m not recommending or advocating for it, and there have been horror stories of misapplication, but it is out there and bears consideration in terms of these discussions since you brought up the child comparison. But why not stay on topic: dogs, cats, car rides and the directed gaze? Why do you think Harvard established a Canine Cognition Lab in the first place?

  47. Subaru says:

    Those not brainwashed by the NDT cult will notice how Behan has changed from a declarative absolutist view of “ALL dogs love car rides” and now qualifies it with the self referencing “Dogs with strong drives.”

    Behan’s argument is this
    “Your dog has strong drives that’s why she loves car rides”

    “Your dog love car rides therefore he has strong drives.”

    You can do the hula with it. It is also one of those

    proclamations that Behan makes and then expects

    everyone to take as gospel truth.

    On top of it it also happens to be a lie as there are plenty of SchH3 and Ring3 who don’t like rides.

    Motion sickness can have physiological causes which have nothing to do with drives. Once again, Behan lack of knowledge is his undoing.

    Behan’s lackadaisical approach is also evident by the fact that a quick search through the literature reveals that cows, horses, pigs, and poultry do suffer from motion sickness.
    It’s terrible when reality gets in the way of Behan’s stories.

    His MODEL FAILS at every turn.

  48. DaveD says:

    I ask about children as I see behavioral problems associated with different specific emotion excesses (like fear) to arise similarly in dogs, and psychology deals with emotions and the unconscious mind (the largest part of minds). You would be unjustified limiting your energy ideas of behavior only to dogs and not kids, since unconscious emotion is what is actually behind the behavior for both. So NDT applies equally to kids?

    “But why not stay on topic: dogs, cats, car rides and the directed gaze? Why do you think Harvard established a Canine Cognition Lab in the first place?”

    Dogs vs cats: different species evolved with different sense organs, drives, needs for socialization, etc. I am not into this stuff much.

    Cars: I have a dog that does not like car rides. I have had some that loved it, some were indifferent.

    Gaze: Don’t know about the gaze, my dog does not seem to follow my finger, but others have. Maybe does look where I am looking. I think more recent findings are just out on this w/r other species??

    Any university will do anything for a buck, I suppose.

  49. Heather says:

    You have managed to become an expert on the “literature” of livestock motion sickness in a few hours, yet are you planning to articulate an aspect of this model you apparently disagree fervently with? It seems like there are two separate discussions (car riding and the definition of temperament) going on, but if I understand the theory correctly, then these are related issues. Neither of them are individual, dog-by-dog phenomena, they are group-dependent (though I am not sure if the group predicts the temperament or the temperament predicts the group, and what that means for individual dogs and their interactions.)

  50. Christine says:

    sensai, please make the bad man stop talking. My tummy hurts!

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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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