Prey v. Predator ala the Constructal Law

Negative-As-Access-to-the-Positive so that the Prey “Controls” the Predator

In the video below of a beagle/rabbit encounter, we see two seemingly radically different responses from the beagle. What explains this variation, intent or attraction; context or conductivity?

The attraction is uniform, it’s the conductivity that changes. First of all the rabbit is comfortable with approaching the beagle and the people with the camera because its speed, its capacity to project force over the road ahead is so great relative to the dog and people. The rabbit is apparently determined to keep to the logging road even though the beagle is in its way. Interestingly it prefers the open road rather than bypassing the beagle by a detour through the woods. In my view this is due to the principle of conductivity because as we soon see this rabbit can burn rubber, an advantage minimized were it to have to dodge trees and negotiate the uneven terrain. This might possibly give the beagle the chance of getting lucky because it is likely to project ahead of the rabbit toward an intercept point. That facet of emotional projection is what we observe when dogs play and one targets a forward point based on the other’s trajectory.

What’s most revealing is that the rabbit is in control of the beagle, it is the object-of-attraction whereas the beagle is the object-of-attention. If the rabbit doesn’t run, the beagle can’t chase. We also need to note that there is a uniform “force” of attraction between the beagle and the rabbit no matter the context. In other words the beagle is powerfully attracted to the rabbit, this doesn’t vary but when the rabbit is presenting its head, predatory aspect, this ping-ping-ping intensity makes the beagle feel compressed and so it must retreat. It would prefer to be running at the rabbit because this is the most logical expression of its force of attraction, but it can’t and so it relieves the deficit by rhythmic barking.

{Beagle} Direct —> <----- Direct {Rabbit} = COMPRESSION. But even though the beagle might retreat this doesn't reflect a change in intent because intent has nothing to do with anything that's going on here. The beagle is always attracted to the rabbit, but when direct meets direct; D--> <---D, the attraction is beginning to implode due to rising intensity, note for example how the beagle braces as if he is falling when the rabbit acts suddenly, and which is also manifested in the implosive woof-woof tenor to his bark. Then, when the rabbit runs away from the beagle, the force of attraction can finally be expressed through pure locomotion but here with a twist given the rabbit's speed advantage. The barking becomes a distressed, panicked kind of bark. The distinction between the two barking styles I call the "Doppler Effect" of emotional sonar via the phenomenon of emotional projection. In both scenarios the dog has projected his feeling for his physical center-of-gravity into the form of the rabbit. Here they are facing each other...... {Beagle} ----> ((((((((( ( ( ( ( ( ( ( <----- {Rabbit} In this state; the rabbit is not absorbing the emotional momentum of the beagle as one ping is piling on top of the preceding ping as the predatory aspect of the rabbit (head/eyes) is reflecting the pings back at the dog, unabsorbed. This escalates into a rising pitch of intensity, hence the compressive overload. But then when the rabbit blows by and the chase is on, as the rabbit pulls away, there is a doppler shift and the ping comes back as a receding pong, a diminishing signal that grows weaker and weaker so that the beagle feels it is losing connection and hence the growing panic evidenced in the bark., "Hey You Screwwy Wabbit, come back here with my center-of-gravity!!!" Here the rabbit is absorbing the beagles momentum, but quickly outpacing it and so conductivity is being lost: {Beagle} ---->…)………)…………………) {Rabbit} —>

This interaction demonstrates that context is irrelevant. There is a deeper dynamic organizing behavior. Just as physical momentum as a sheer force is the same no matter the context, 10 mph is the same in a car, boat, taxiing plane, tractor, bicycle, running, etc.., emotional momentum is also the same no matter the species or the situation. The emotional momentum involved between puppies, human beings, an owner and their dog, two dogs at play, or between a beagle and a rabbit are exactly the same and its mechanics of transfer involve the exact same body mechanics by which physical momentum is transferred. Emotional conductivity is the universal principle of behavior, in the animal mind the world becomes partitioned into “paths of resistance.” The universal question, is emotion flowing in accord with the locomotive rhythm that evolved in accord with the Constructal law.

Published March 3, 2015 by Kevin Behan

8 responses to “Prey v. Predator ala the Constructal Law”

  1. Ben Draper says:

    Could you differentiate between the object of attraction vs. the object of attention?

  2. Kevin Behan says:

    When one is the object-of-attention, tension is the operative word. One feels knocked off balance and thereby accelerated into action without yet an emotional ground defined. (perfect example is a reactive dog) This is experienced by being aware of balance problem in the head, and instincts and old habits are automatically triggered in order to deal with this experience. Another way of saying this is that one is not in their body. We could call this the electrical domain of emotional consciousness.
    In contrast when one is the object-of-attraction, they feel a momentum, movement forward, and they can perceive a clear emotional ground. They are aware of their body and are aware of the body of the one who is attracted to them. This is a critical distinction because they can feel a finely scaled grain of feedback, in other words the subtlest inflection of output is perfectly mirrored in the other individual so that they can effortlessly move the other by how they move themselves. This then accords the feeling of emotional leverage and we could call this the magnetic domain of emotional consciousness. So it’s the difference of being under the control of an external force, versus the feeling of being in control by force of Will.

  3. Ben draper says:

    Thank you, Kevin. Being able to communicate with you via this blog is excellent

  4. Skip Skipper says:

    I was a boxer growing up from the age of 7 to 15 years old. Went to practice 3 times a week with matches on the weekends. Now I still got in my share of schoolyard scraps. Although they normally lasted about 10 seconds before someone would step in to separate us I remember the feeling of being completely drained physically and emotionally. I had been trained to fight for 1 to 2 hours a night and the fatigue never compared to the schoolyard scraps. Always wonder how many I would have gotten into had I not pursued the boxing outlet. Over the years I read many articles from psychologist who say boxing or just punching something as an outlet for anger just reinforces the physical act of violence as a possible solution to ones problems. So my question is if the number one primal solution to ground ungrounded energy for dogs is the bite. What might it be for humans and why is it different?

  5. Willem says:


    I’m wondering a similar question as Skip. How does one ground the energy in an object-of-attention? It seems you need to redirect the emotional flow down out of the head/balance and into the belly, or give it a “positive” to flow towards.

  6. Kevin Behan says:

    Our hands are an extension of our jaws because we grip with them, so hitting is our equivalent to biting, clutching something firmly in our hand is like a bite and carry; it’s calming to have something in hand. This also extends to sports, spiking the football, dunking the basketball, crushing the fastball out of the park. We can see the connection because the infant reaches out, grabs and brings in to bite, then later when we throw a punch, our impulse is to open our fist and grab, which is why fingers are broken in fights with untrained or nervous combatants, the fist comes open. If the fighting increases one’s connection to the community, like in boxing, then it is part of an emotional process. But if scuffling is in rebellion to integration, then it increases the charge. The distinction is rage versus anger. The school yard scraps were a more profound trigger of your DIS which is what left you feeling drained. Whereas in boxing DIS is part of the projection and collection process, projecting and absorbing force, and so you are processing it and actually increasing your energy as the predatory aspects of your opponents become integrated into the whole flow of things even though you may end up physically tired.

  7. Kevin Behan says:

    When one is the object-of-attention and becomes unbalanced this releases a stress memory. This can be experienced as a destabilizing spike of acceleration, or, if it can be integrated into a wave form then it is perceived of as a positive input of new energy, it feels energizing. What gets in the way for humans is a judgment that it is a bad experience, “what is wrong with me” “Uh oh I’m going to get it.” “Woe is me.” etc.., In dogs the intensity value of these spikes triggers old pain memories but without the judgment stuff that so afflicts the human psyche. These are far more stubborn and harder to overcome than pain memories. So with dogs we can help them convert the pain/stress memories into flow experiences by getting them into their bodies, bite toy, rub-a-dub, bark, pushing, collecting and thus reprise the wave experience. I believe the best approach for humans is to recognize that this disequilibrium despite it triggering old pain memories, is in reality new energy and that our intellects are fabricating a judgment to justify the survival strategy that’s attached to the memory. Then wait for the stuck energy to unfold itself into a coherent feeling as the sensations of the spike settle down. In other words, I have no idea what I should do, but my heart will figure it out if my thoughts get out of the way.

  8. Skip Skipper says:

    Thanks Kevin, very cool. You always leave me with something to think about!

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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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