I was just told that Kevin Behan is into the old wolf pack theory etc…

Actually, I may be the first one to discredit the “old wolf pack theory.” Rather I am into the canine “group theory” and the first to posit the distinction between pack and group, and that there’s no such thing as Alpha-Leader-hood. In 1991 David Mech wrote in “The Way of the Wolf” p. 36: “Perhaps with more close-up wolf watching under various circumstances, we eventually will be able to say for sure whether the pack leader is the (alpha) male or the (alpha) female, or whether leadership is by both.” (Apparently the wolf and dog experts are still searching for that missing formula.) Meanwhile “Natural Dog Training” published in 1992 stated: “All relationships—between the group and its prey, among group members, and between mother and puppies—can be explained in terms of the prey instinct. The rule being: If an individual is in possession of a prey object such as a bone, or in control of his own body, even if he is the most inferior—OR THE PREY—he controls whoever is attracted to that “preyful aspect.” (p.61, Chapter 4: “The Harmonic Pathways of Learning”)

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Published March 11, 2010 by Kevin Behan
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4 responses to “I was just told that Kevin Behan is into the old wolf pack theory etc…”

  1. I don’t know why trainers are afraid to acknowledge pack theory or dominance displays among dogs. Too often is FEAR of being lumped in with Ceasar Milan. We must respond in truth instead of fear. Acknowledging packness doesn’t justify insecure human bullies or trainer sadist. If you have ever seen a true leader among dogs, what’s most obvious is that he is confident, duly recognized and rarely acts physically toward another animal. His leadership is fair and just.

  2. Kevin Behan says:

    I formulated my theory and model in seventies and eighties so certainly has no bearing on Cesar though indeed today among certain folks there is pc about his approach. Meanwhile Im making an argument, the argument is backed up by modern research on self-organizing systems, the physics of flow dynamics (see Design in Nature), and research on collective behavior and the latest anthropological evidence of early man hunting with wolves (see Pat Shipman). There is hierarchy but there is no leader. (see

    The one at the “top” is the one who in that moment can feel the flow underwriting the system. Since one individual may occupy that spot for a prolonged period he is construed to be the leader, but it flips quite often, as when an “underling” possesses a bone etc.. At any rate, the dominance interpretation is constantly shifting to keep up with modern research but eventually its inherent contradiction will be more and more obvious to all and it will not be salvageable.

  3. Sheila says:

    Very interesting

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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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