“But one wonders what the reason is to use a vague term like “energy” when you mean arousal or excitement or anxiety? For instance, there is a BIG difference between a dog barking out of arousal and one barking out of anxiety. Since you wouldn’t deal with both situations in the same way, why would you use the same label for the motivation? They are different. Why not be specific? Is there some value in NOT naming the actual emotion in charge?”
The value in not naming the “actual” emotion is that there is in fact only one emotion, a dull, monolithic force of attraction, and with this CORRECT definition in hand one is able to reverse engineer what’s going on within the dog’s mind because knowing the answer, i.e. the dog is feeling attracted, even an anxious dog, makes it possible to deconstruct a complex state of consciousness into its underlying components. (Imagine how confused our view of nature would be if we mischaracterized all of the phenomena related to electromagnetism as being different phenomenon each with its own definition, as opposed to each one being a different manifestation of one underlying phenomenon?)
Paradoxically, the seemingly simple term of energy is the only way to arrive at a precise definition. Meanwhile the behavioral scientists will say that they’re only looking at the behavior, but then they do in fact invent a psychology in order to ascertain a motive as they attempt to say something meaningful about the variations and nuances of what they’re observing. So when a dog is described as being excited or anxious as if these are fundamentally different emotions, this will only lead to a psychology because it immutably invokes the question, why is the dog excited, what is the reason that drives its state of excitement, what is it that is making the dog anxious and why? We are assuming that the dog is doing something for a reason, due to a cause that renders an effect, i.e. the dog is thinking and this would be like asking of electricity; what is the reason for a lightening bolt running to ground?
So, there is only one emotion and it arises from the confluence of the basic systems of hunger and balance and if one wants to tune the specific value of a stimulus so that a dog changes its mind about the emotional value of any given stimulus so that its perception and subsequent response ends up being to everyone’s mutual benefit, most especially a dog having to live in human society, then one can learn to fiddle with the hunger relative to the balance ratio in order to turn anxiety into excitement and excitement back into arousal. This is an important distinction to make because arousal can be satisfied whereas EXCITEMENT AND ANXIETY as excitement or anxiety cannot because each is, in their own complementary way, a specific manifestation of ungrounded energy. In both cases, there is more energy being generated by the Big-Brain in the head than can be grounded in the little-brain-in-the-gut. Excitement is an attempt to dump this energy by expressing it via externalized body actions, whereas anxiety is an internalizing of this energy in order to prevent bodily vibrations because that invokes even more fear of exposure (i.e. more activation of the balance circuitry). The internalization of ungrounded energy in a state of anxiety is like the reverberations of an echo, which can cascade on and on in the brain like ripples of waves interfering with each other, the mental facsimile of an epileptic seizure. So both conditions are too much energy for the available behavior, but at least excitement is an externalizing of energy and which feels so much better which is why an excited dog looks “happy.” Then again, if that energy doesn’t get to consummation, the excited dog is left holding a hot potato just as surely as the anxious dog.
Therefore from my point of view naming something as arousal, excitement or anxiety is not particularly specific because it misses the specifics as to how a simple state of emotion refracts into so many manifestations via the process of temperament that thereby forms the dog’s mind. While knowing a reason is interesting, for example this particular dog was bitten by a black lab as a puppy and so is now anxious around black labs, once one knows how these various states work energetically, the reasons are not particularly relevant since the cure is always energy running to ground. Once we understand that behavior is an expression of energy, and that the universal motive for emotion is energy that wants to “run to ground” with no reason or intention whatsoever, we are granted access to the inner workings of the dog’s mind. That’s the value.