Natural Dog Training is fundamentally concerned with motive whereas Operant Conditioning is fundamentally concerned with reinforcements. All subsequent points of departure proceed from this distinction.
Furthermore, this distinction reveals that two concepts integral to behavioral science 1) animals learn by reinforcement, and 2) the notion of “high value” rewards actually represent an inherent contradiction in terms because it entertains that there is a system of value which accords motive to a dog, and that this can be discerned by observing that which reinforces. Yet there are countless examples wherein something unpleasant happens to a dog and yet the behavior persists, which means that the only possible interpretation is that the underlying motive is in contravention to the consequences experienced. Therefore outcomes can never serve as an adequate metric for motive. NDT maintains that motive in animal behavior can only be discerned by a law of nature, i.e. a state of energy, and not by a psychology of reinforcement.