Why Train a Dog the Natural Way?

Dogs are animals, and animals learn according to the protocols of temperament, not according to the acuity of a mentality. There are two fundamental questions the canine temperament evolved to solve, and to this day, these issues determine the behavior of the domesticated family pet.

1) What is the prey?
2) Where is the danger?

If an owner fails to answer these questions according to the manner by which a dog’s temperament understands the answers to them, then ancient instincts kick in and fill in the blanks. Such knee-jerk reflexes always take precedence over anything the owner may think they have taught their dog because these mandates reside very deep in a dog’s instinctual makeup. Then, when a critical moment occurs and triggers these primal matters, since the owner hasn’t imprinted appropriate responses, these hardwired instincts overwhelm months upon months of training, – no matter how religious the regime may have been. And while canine instincts may be appropriate for wolves living in the middle of nowhere where everything stays the same and all canines know the rules, instincts are always dysfunctional in mans’ world of constant change, even more so since the neighbor’s kids, the mailman, or the innocent passerby does not know that these rules of life and death are in play.

Fortunately, there is an aspect of the canine body/mind that is deeper than instinct. If a dog is raised in a “natural” way so that it acquires an imprint by which it ends up agreeing with its owner as to what the prey is and where the danger is, then the dog will be 100% reliable and 100% under control, no-matter-what might be going on around it. In a moment of high drama or crisis, such a dog will feel attracted to its owner, since the owner has the answers the dog needs to resolve such situations.

When a dog is part of a group that satisfies these two questions, it feels safe and it trusts that the information their owner is communicating will prove to be 100% satisfying. Dogs do not need to learn to be social. They need the answers to the above two questions.

In this blog, I will discuss a number of traps in the matters of house training, obedience, manners and “socializing” that undermine a dog’s innate sociability, – because in the overall scheme of things they fail to answer these two questions. It is our hope that the articles and posts on the NDT site will help you avoid committing these common errors.

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Published June 1, 2009 by Kevin Behan

4 responses to “Why Train a Dog the Natural Way?”

  1. Jannik says:

    can u explain about the danger.
    I have been thinking for a long time that cats are maybe the number 1 predator we live among.What i mean is a cat, will natural getting satisfied outsite the houshold in prey and defense behavior. Quit often male cats get satisfied too :-)when females are in heat.


  2. kbehan says:

    In order for a predator to be able to make prey, it must first feel “grounded” or safe. The “negative” or danger must be “defined” as access-to-the-prey and when this is the case, then the predator feels safe. (This is true of prey species as well since they are endowed with their own, albeit limited, predator aspect). A cat will not be able to make prey when there is a lot going on, and this is because they hunt by instinct and so negative-as-access-to-the-positive is defined for them and can only handle a far more limited rate of change. However the emotional capacity of dogs is much higher and so they can perceive a positive prey value in a situation of total chaos. This is why Search and Rescue dogs can search disaster sites whereas no other animal can be conditioned to do so, which is especially revealing since cats and monkeys are far better adapted physically speaking for such work. One can acclimate a police dog to love running up a metal fire escape with someone throwing metal pots and pans down at it. All these so-called negatives are being perceived by such a dog as “access to the positive” and therefore serve to arouse its prey-making urge to an even greater pitch.

  3. Jannik says:

    ok Thanks, i think i understand what u mean now let me se if i did catch it .
    its about hunt instinct,enviroment,memory bank, socilation.


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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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