Compulsion as a Releaser

We normally think of compulsion as something aversive to a dog, but there are situations wherein it can release a dog’s energy. We think this way because we humans have an outside-in perspective on change, we think the outside causes what we experience inside. But an animal has an inside-out perspective, feeling that what is being experienced inside is what causes the outside. In other words, it sees everything that is emotionally relevant as a physical extension of its own body because everything out there that is emotional relevant has profound internal emotional affects and the animal weights these more than the linear sequence of events transpiring externally. It thus goes by how it feels as the instrumental agency of change whereas we construct a story like narrative, a who-did-what-to-who-and-when frame of reference.
The dog featured in this video is petrified of me. She won’t take food, when I look at her she bolts in abject terror, she won’t eat food in my presence, she won’t play with other dogs and when left to her own in the play yard she sits in the corner tuning us all out and looking longingly at the gate through which she desperately wants to bolt. When I take her for long walks she makes a glancing short lived sniff of my pant leg but is constantly circling on the long lead, furtively looking here and there, freaks if I stumble so for every positive there are a hundred negatives, fear reinforcements that far outweigh anything positive derived from the walk. If I didn’t leave a long enough line on her in the play yard I could never get close to catch her, and with the snow pack high she might go right over. There is no positive way into her mind (hunger) and so I’ll have to get in through the negative pathway (balance).
Now I don’t interpret this dog as being innately fearful per se, which doesn’t mean she isn’t genetically predisposed given her high sensitivity and low prey threshold. Nevertheless give the way the canine mind is structured in truth she is “choosing” to be fearful because this being fearful is how she feels in control of what’s going on around her. As a matter of fact she is getting tough as nails about being committed to the fearful choice. Yet this isn’t manipulative by any means, it’s merely the inside-out perspective of the animal mind. For example, when a dog performs an obedience behavior, from our linear narrative point of view we see the dog listening to the handler, the handler is in control of the dog, this is the outside-causes-the-inside perspective on reality. But from an inside-out perspective, the dog feels that by performing a behavior it is controlling the handler.

In this video I am triggering her flight response by putting a mini-voodoo on her, and then because she has been previously trained in basic obedience, I call upon her inside-out perspective wherein by laying down on my “command” I can initiate her experiencing that she is in control of me. And if she feels that by moving her body she can affect how my body moves, I become an equal and opposite emotional counterbalance and this is something she instinctively recognizes as being a part of herself. In the animal mind a sense-of-self is composed via Newton’s third law of motion, every action has an equal and opposite reaction. (Emotion is Energy-in-Motion and so the laws of motion are intrinsic in its movement.) From the inside-out perspective that sees external emotionally relevant stimuli as an extension of the body, therefore I am becoming part of her body, part of her sense-of-self because like any other part of her body she can control it at will. When she puts a paw forward, she has put out a “ping,” i.e. the projection of her physical center-of-gravity (p-cog) to a point outside her body, and when her foot hits the ground a “pong” is returned by the feeling of firm footing. She’s on terra firma, she’s still in her body, the ground an extension of her body, part of her comfort zone. That’s what I want to compel, a ping that I can return as a pong by capitalizing on the inside-out perspective.
For this reason, I use the fear trigger of a “voodoo” by focusing my energy at her (Direct and Active), and then remind her of an obedience “compulsion”, DOWN, to release her sense of being in control over her owner and then therefore by extension being able to feel in control of me and begin to feel that I am part of her. As soon as she lays down I immediately soften. She is in control of me, I am merely an auto-tuning/feedback device so that she begins to feel about me the same way she feels about her owner whom she loves, i.e. whom she is complete control over her owner by not choosing fear but by choosing affection. And because when I return a pong to her, (by softening I become Indirect and Reactive), she flips to Direct and Active and approaches me straight away with her jaw open and relaxed. She’s breathing again. She’s not connected enough yet to get through the other dog who cuts her off, (she’s displaced by a dog more Direct and Active than her, but immediately falls into a brief burst of play with the other dogs (play bow as Reactive/Indirect) since she now feels safe to follow a ping by perceiving a pong (preyful aspects of the other dogs). Her hunger circuitry is beginning to displace the balance perspective because she’s feeling some degree of control over her surroundings. When I left her behind to ferry another dog back to its room, she whined at the gate and met me there upon my return.
Since love is a group energy, the highest and yet the most primordial level of emotional consciousness, this works out to everyone’s mutual benefit. Nobody minds being manipulated by love because everybody loves to play emotional ping/pong.

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Published February 25, 2015 by Kevin Behan
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5 responses to “Compulsion as a Releaser”

  1. Faith says:

    You mention a video, but it does not appear that one was uploaded. Should there be a video with this post? Thank you!

  2. joanne frame says:

    A great example and reminder if pinging and ponging!

  3. Kevin Behan says:

    Hopefully I rectified that by posting a second link, let me know if it doesn’t yet show up, thanks,

  4. John says:

    If she had no obedience training what would you use instead of the down command , thanks

  5. Kevin Behan says:

    Most dogs know sit so I could try that, or I could use box challenges to begin to teach a dog down. Down is very effective because it creates a stronger state of attraction, it more thoroughly interrupts the pre-existing object of attraction and so they will need to find a new one, which will most likely be me because I act in a way that they will perceive that by laying down I’m immediately under their control.

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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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