A Snark Is An Explosive Yawn

Calming signals or emotion as a group mind?


Calming?      Yes

Signal?         No

The most significant thing in this video is that the brown dog at all times acts as a mirror, as the equal and opposite to the Malamute and, it also has a drive to approach the Malamute, despite the situation looking like the Malamute intends some kind of aggressive incident. The Malamute is attracted to the brown dog, yet it "feels" blocked, thus it’s perceiving through its balance circuitry. Another way of saying this is that while the brown dog is magnetically orienting (rear end going “faster” than front end), in contrast the Malamute is electrically charged (front end going “faster” than hind end). This difference speaks to an internal flow dynamic within their respective body/minds; the current is flowing in the brown dog and this begets a magnetic field, whereas the Malamute is experiencing a sense of pressure in its head. Another way of saying this is that the brown dog feels its p-cog in its hind end, and feels pulled forward, whereas the Malamute feels pushed ahead with its p-cog in its head. The Malamute is afraid of falling over forward, it’s going forward while trying to hold itself back. Resisting movement and being upset by the movements of others is the hallmark of the balance perspective. The brown dog is a mirror because by virtue of feeling grounded within its own body, it is thereby implementing Newton’s 3rd law of motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Every aspect of the Malamute's demeanor and deportment is instantly mirrored in the demeanor and deportment of the brown dog because when she feels a pull to her right, she feels a shift to her left and compensates by shifting to her right, as if Malamute is looking at its "self" in a mirror. The same is happening on all planes of movement, up/down, back/forward. This calms the Malamute because the equal/opposite of acting like a predator (electric) is acting like a prey (magnetic) and this makes the Malamute feel safer because there is some degree of visual grounding getting through its charge.

How does the small brown dog know what to do and why is the Malamute calmed by this demeanor, and then why does the Malamute react explosively? The answer to this is that the first order of information organizing interactions is a transfer of momentum. So we see that the brown dog is being pulled into the Malamute (because of the constraints of the situation, being attached to a handler on lead and on a sidewalk going forward, if it were free it would act in a far more circuitous manner) almost as much as the Malamute is approaching her. Nevertheless, it is highly attracted. Meanwhile the Malamute is reflecting her emotional energy back to her, with its upright and stiffened posture and hard-eyed fixation. But at all times she remains engaged via her hunger circuitry or enteric nervous system, and she is absorbing the predatory energy the Malemute is projecting onto her because she can still feel her body even with this charge. She is accepting the transfer of momentum, feeling it as a warm sensual pressure that travels in and within along the subliminal beam of attention directed to her deep gut. Thus she licks her lips, the physical memory of ingestion. She is being “sensualized.” At a distance, she’s already imported his essence by sight and then she’s driven to lick his lips (tasting saliva, a preyful aspect) to thereby complete the emotional circuit with a tangible ground. She feels as if she is the object of attraction and feeling her body, she can feel leverage because she perceives pressure as warmth and the physical memories of early litter experiences. Note that as she pushes her head under his muzzle his head is pushed back, indicating that she has the emotional leverage in the interaction. She is ACTING on the Malamute by being indirect. The Malamute is paralyzed in Direct/Reactive. Her movements, tail and ear set, curve of body, softness of her weight on her pads, is a mirror image of the tense malamute. She is getting Under-the-Charge and then from this vantage point she begins to transfer the momentum back onto the Malamute. (Who is in control of who, who is getting more flow out of life?) The problem with a dog in balance mode such as the Malamute is that output-has-to-equal-input (which is why dogs do better in off/lead wide open venues because they have the time and space to outlet energy in circuitous ways and by maintaining discrete distances their output can satisfy the input until they get under the charge). Because she is acting conductive at the preyful polarity, she is absorbing the forward momentum of the Malamute and helping it out with the input/output problem.

At about the one minute mark as they make contact you can see that the Malamute is sniffing ever so slightly, and then there is a subtle licking of its lips, its eyes have softened as it’s not staring as fixedly at the other dogs’ eyes. It’s beginning to feel its body and becoming open to receiving the transfer of momentum back from the brown dog. It is leaning forward because there is a trickle of current getting through, a magnetic pull beginning, but its shoulders are locked up with tension, hence it teeters forward. It's own body/mind containing its own a dynamic of implementing 3rd law of motion, a pull forward while simultaneously a pull backward.

Finally as the brown dog becomes more animated with getting on with the transfer, the Malamute’s handler becomes nervous, probably from prior incidents, and begins to pull the Malamute back. (The brown dog’s handler is violating protocol by letting the transfer proceed without the necessary softening happening in the Malamute). In previous incidents sniffing sessions would have begun well enough but as the momentum begins to transfer, the balance-dog goes “over budget” and then its emergency ballast/energy reserve gets dislodged (what the dog is trying to hold back) causing it to react explosively. Even so such a dog is merely trying to keep the transfer out of its body/mind because it can’t handle any more energy, it’s already at its upper limit of carrying capacity, the choke hold being its neck/jaw-pivot region. So the handler begins to pull back and the Malamute perceives this as too much of a transfer and it “brays.” In other words, it explosively yawns as it finally collapses from the pressure of the sensations of the p-cog lodged in its head. Note that the brown dog is not in the least flustered by the snark and doesn’t return fire because from its point of view, this is just the opening volley in the game of ping pong with which it is well experienced as we see in next video. She perceives it as the yawn that it is, there is no intention in it, it is part of the flow cycle. After the bray the Malamute feels better and is now well positioned to make contact with the brown dog and get into its body were they to resume their interaction. (A bark would have come in handy here as it speeds up the protocols of transfer.) Because the Malamute has released its grip on its p-cog and feels better, its jaw/neck region temporarily relaxed, the brown dog looks wistfully at the one that got away. So much energy has been left on the table, not converted to flow.

(I should add that an optimal approach would have been right before the snark, to let the Malamute withdraw to a post to lift his leg and this would have shifted his perspective from being the object-of-attention, as the focus would have been shifted onto the scent post. Anointing a post with scent objectifies a mid-point, a common object-of-attraction, and then while the brown dog is smelling the post, the Malamute would be able to smell her body while feeling even safer since the brown dog is focused on the scent. )
Published July 2, 2012 by Kevin Behan
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9 responses to “A Snark Is An Explosive Yawn”

  1. wetnosewarmhearts says:

    Very helpful explanation. Would a high collar climb challenge beforehand help the Mal get flowing and possibly avoid the snark? I am thinking about the advisability of climb challenges before therapy deployments being a good preventative way to start.

  2. kbehan says:

    I like to give the dog the most opportunity to make a trait-on-demand by first opening it up with the bite/bark/push/supple menu of core exercises and so when the Malamute snarked the handler should have taken the opportunity to supple it up with rub-a-dubs and lots of praise to give the dog an opportunity to learn that he can be attracted to his handler with that stuck energy. In conjunction if the dog was given the chance to lift its leg, that’s an indirect expression of attraction, that would have objectified a midpoint around which it’s easiest for a dog to generate a trait-on-demand. But when we hit a plateau, and with a wound up dog eventually we do, then I use the high collar climbing exercise to get the hidden panic to the surface and then the dog is able to overcome its panic by fighting to retain its equilibrium and overcome the object of resistance. After that struggle the dog becomes open to rub-a-dubs and becomes more sensual. So yes giving your dogs a difficult climbing exercise before going “on duty” can open them up and get them more into their bodies, as well as giving them a downloading opportunity afterwards, this can help them overcome any “wall of dread ahead” they might be perceiving in the concept, but we always have to concentrate on building the foundation. I see the climbing/high collar exercise as a great way to break through a plateau.

  3. Skip Skipper says:

    What is the high collar/climbing exercise?

  4. kbehan says:

    The high collar with a choke or tight flat collar creates discomfort which the dog perceives as biofeedback, this enables him to choose to not make himself uncomfortable by not going deeper into a panic mode. It’s not understood that animals choose “panic” as a means of being in control of their situation and this is what gets them into trouble in man’s compressed and fast paced world. Secondly, all fears can be reduced to a fear of falling, so by giving the dog an obstacle to climb up on, the dog has readily available the fighting drive to remedy this problem in the simplest and most rudimentary means easily available to him. If he chooses to panic, he learns that this makes him more uncomfortable than fighting to overcome an obstacle, i.e. a fear. Whereas asking a dog not to be afraid of a dog that has attacked him, or a vet trying to treat him, is giving the dog an impossible exercise in logic. But giving him an obstacle to surmount by choosing not to panic but to fight coherently to regain his balance, leaves him feeling energized and soft and so he is now willing to let others into his body/mind. So the object to surmount and the high collar bring panic to the surface but at the same time clearly objectify the problem and the means of solving it through an auto-tuning/feedback mechanism which is the true dynamic by which dogs learn.

  5. Skip Skipper says:

    Ok got it. I saw this in your Youtube video at the vets office. Thank you!

  6. christopher says:

    had the handler not pulled the mal away would the snark still have eventually happened? You mentioned (The brown dog’s handler is violating protocol by letting the transfer proceed without the necessary softening happening in the Malamute) . I guess what i’m asking is was overload in the mal inevitable ? also would breaking off contact with by pulling away the brown dog first change anything? i enjoyed the video. i felt tense watching the begining but i actually felt as though the mal was starting feel the flow just before the pull away.

  7. kbehan says:

    Since no one is doing anything to help the dog process stress (bark/bite/push/rub-a-dubs), the snark was inevitable. (That being said, without leads or humans about however so that they had met on their own terms, there wouldn’t have been any incident). Had they stayed in contact, I believe that the Malamute would have vented and then felt so much better that he would have softened to this dog. (The snark was also related to how dogs begin to sneeze when they first learn to bark). The most accurate reading of the situation is being given by the brown dog who felt quite comfortable getting up in his face and wouldn’t have been freaked out by the snark. She could feel the potential for flow, and she could feel the Malamute beginning to feel the potential for flow.

  8. Heather says:

    What is the bite/bark/push/supple menu of core exercises?

  9. kbehan says:

    The bite is training the dog so that it wants to bite what we want it to bite. When a dog will bite the toy no-matter-what, and carry it about proudly, then all its emotional energy is committed to the direction we want it to go in. It objectifies where the dog’s impulse to bite should go. The push is overcoming resistance in a free hand while the other hand holds food that the dog is trying to get to. Overcoming resistance is what accords a value to any given thing or experience. So if we want our dog to value our words, then we need to be the source of the resistance he can overcome. The bark should be a deep, metered bark that emanates from the deep gut and with the whole body as a clear resonating chamber. A strong bark on command means the dog is “giving” its deepest energy to its handler and the input and output cycles of the animal mind are wide open and the dog is “digesting” what’s going on about it. Finally suppling is the dog flopping over onto his back for the pleasure of a belly rub. These four exercises exercise a dog’s temperament so that it can process anything going on and internalize an experience as a pleasurable event. These core exercises change the way a dog feels about something.

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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.