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Why Does NDT Use Food? May 06, 2016

    Some consider using food in training a bribe. In contrast many owners don’t, but then the vast majority never get past the Pez Dispenser phase and present a negative image to the use of food. In the seventies I don’t think I ever used food other than giving a dog a biscuit as […]

Faith is a Four-Legged Dog Apr 16, 2016

Many clients of problem dogs are afraid that their pet, once a happy-go-lucky pup, has gone bad. Or they fear that an evil gene is now beginning to express itself, or worse, that they have failed their dog in some irretrievable, unredeemable way. As I go on to assure them that there is nothing constitutionally […]

Fear and Safety Jun 19, 2015

Remember the first time you sat on a bike before being launched down the drive, or the first time sitting behind the wheel of a car, or horror of horrors, looking down from the diving board on your very first jump into the deep end? Scary stuff… at first. So how were these feats which […]

The Connection between Emotion and Hunting Part Two Jun 07, 2015

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn27675-monkeys-cosy-alliance-with-wolves-looks-like-domestication.html?utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=SOC&utm_campaign=hoot&cmpid=SOC%257CNSNS%257C2015-GLOBAL-hoot#.VXL2Xs7FuRt   In this report we learn of wolves and monkeys developing an amicable relationship that is apparently beneficial for the wolves as hunting around the monkeys increases their success rate in catching small rodents threefold. Having wolves in their midst may confer some benefit to the monkeys as well, for example  keeping other predators […]

Gene-Centricity May 08, 2015

If you have an appetite for evolutionary theory, and enjoy bearing witness to the shift of a long standing paradigm, the three links below make for a hearty feast indeed.   http://www.ozy.com/rising-stars/the-man-who-may-one-up-darwin/39217?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=OZYpost&utm_campaign=SA_T   http://aeon.co/magazine/science/how-horizontal-gene-transfer-changes-evolutionary-theory/   http://aeon.co/magazine/science/why-its-time-to-lay-the-selfish-gene-to-rest/   There is a lot to ingest in all this, but this passage leaps out from the article on […]

What is “Splitting” Behavior Mar 18, 2015

The video below is interpreted as showing a dog playing the role of peace maker by stopping things between two other dogs before it gets out of hand. While the “Good Samaritan” dog here does indeed interrupt the two other dogs, is that its intent? Because if such an interpretation were correct then we would […]

Do Dogs Feel Jealousy? Jul 28, 2014

In a recent experiment dogs were said to have displayed jealousy when their owner paid attention to a stuffed dog that could be made to bark and wag its tail. It was based on an experiment with pre-verbal children who likewise were said to become jealous when their parent attended to and lavished over a […]

Question for SPARCS Jun 23, 2014

Via Twitter, I posed this question to the SPARCS conference. Of course it got lost in the shuffle but I am surprised that such a  question didn’t come up given that the phenomenon of hierarchy is the number one feature of the canine mind. If dominance is an instinct, yet malleable to context (and thus a […]

From the “Vortex of Life” Jun 06, 2014

“It is a fact that we have only to set the most simple and primary into action, to find, without our having to import any further complications, that more sophisticated considerations are already implied, inherent within them.” Lawrence Edwards   The principle of emotion as a function of attraction, implies flow, resistance to flow, and […]

More On Canine Muzzle Grab May 28, 2014

Occasionally the Unknown Scientist puts down the pipettes, quells the bunsen burners and graciously takes the time to critique my work. Recently the US has questioned the linkage I’ve drawn between emotion and stress as an explanation for why dogs muzzle grab. The US has employed the technique of interchanging equivalencies to see if my […]

Of Deer and the Deer Man Apr 18, 2014

PBS this week featured two excellent shows on animals. One was a Nature episode about the Turkey man, Joe Hutto, who grafted himself into a flock of wild turkeys and learned their ways. In this new documentary he makes contact with mule deer simply by being among them for two years. http://www.wgbh.org/programs/Nature-26/episodes/Touching-the-Wild-51073 {It seems to […]

“The Vortex of Life” Mar 26, 2014

(Thanks to Ann F. for bringing this important book by Lawrence Edwards to my attention) The following passages from “Vortex of Life” (p.17) are  especially apropos to our discussion about seeing the interactions of the street dogs in the “heat pack” as a flow system, rather than reducing them to a smattering of disconnected parts, […]

Physical Memory Is Transferable Mar 09, 2014

Can the stress that an animal experiences in its lifetime be inherited by its progeny? Yes http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/09/opinion/sunday/can-children-inherit-stress.html?ref=opinion&_r=0 “What explains this pattern? Does trauma lead to suboptimal parenting, which leads to abnormal behavior in children, which later affects their own parenting style? Or can you biologically inherit the effects of your parents’ stress, after all?” “It […]

Marrow Bone and Softness Feb 10, 2014

When I deal with dogs afflicted with what other trainers term “resource guarding” (which in actuality is an instinctive “excuse” to vent held back energy, i.e. unresolved emotion) my method is to turn the object of friction, into an object of flow. I do this through Push-of-War. Whereas I’ve seen on the web some trainers […]

The Thermodynamic Basis of the Animal Mind Jan 27, 2014

A great unraveling of Neo-Darwinian logic is underway. https://www.simonsfoundation.org/quanta/20140122-a-new-physics-theory-of-life/ Specifically the concept that the perpetuation of genes is the organizing principle of animal behavior. Neo-Darwinian logic is the basis of both the Dominance model and the model of learning by reinforcement. They are not as different as they may appear. Whereas my premise is that […]

The Nature of Fear Jan 26, 2014

Aggression and the Nature of Fear Since in my view all expressions of anti-social aggression are manifestations of fear, it would prove fruitful to take a closer look at the nature of fear. Fear is the collapse of a state of attraction. And because a dog doesn’t discriminate between physical and emotional equilibrium, all forms […]

Dogs, Snowflakes and the Constructal Law Jan 09, 2014

Why Every Dog and Snowflake Is Not Unique One of the biggest bromides in dog training is that every dog is unique. On one level it’s directed at those who lock into a method and refuse to adapt to the dog. Of course there’s merit in criticizing a closed mind, we all should be willing […]

New Paradigm for Modern Behaviorism? Oct 04, 2013

“Testosterone Promotes Reciprocity in the Absence of Competition” “Boosting testosterone can promote generosity, but only when there is no threat of competition, according to new research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science. The findings show that testosterone is implicated in behaviors that help to foster and maintain social relationships, […]

Why We Like Sad Music Sep 23, 2013

From the New York Times “Why We Like Sad Music”   http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/22/opinion/sunday/why-we-like-sad-music.html?ref=opinion   The emotional experience of listening to music is an excellent way to separate thoughts from feelings and emotion from instinct because as a pure wave form music is principally apprehended and processed by the heart. Understanding how the heart works is vital […]

Objects, and the process of Objectification as a Function of Emotional Conductivity Aug 13, 2013

“Movement is the only way we have of interacting with the world, whether foraging for food or attracting a waiter’s attention. Indeed, all communication, including speech, sign language, gestures and writing, is mediated via the motor system.” Daniel Wolpert Phd. http://cbl.eng.cam.ac.uk/Public/Wolpert/WebHome To repeat, full emotional conductivity is moving without restriction. This kind of movement is […]

More Evidence of Physical Memory Jul 12, 2013

The body does more than carry the head around. http://theweek.com/article/index/246703/the-worm-that-regrows-its-head-and-memories-when-decapitated Also note in the article below, the bee in its relationship to the flower is described as a tuning fork, so that its body resonates with the shape of the flower and accelerates it so as to vibrate and release its essence, i.e. pollen. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/11/science/unraveling-the-pollinating-secrets-of-a-bees-buzz.html?ref=science […]

George Carlin On the Nature of Intelligence Jun 11, 2013

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201208/rank-and-dominance-matter-when-trying-teach-dogs In this article Dr. Coren talks about an experiment wherein one dog watches another dog solve a problem and the observing dog copies the problem-solving dogs’ successful actions if as Dr. Coren puts it, the problem solving dog has a high social rank. Dr. Coren interprets this experiment as verification that whatever we human […]

Canine Constructal Mind and Ant-Bots May 31, 2013

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/21956798   This experiment featuring robotic ants illustrates how a simple principle of conductivity can elaborate into intelligently adaptive behavior without the benefit of advanced hardware or software. An ant-bot’s “mind” is organized around a principle of flow through which collectivized action spontaneously emerges as the solution to a foraging problem. Here again science demonstrates […]

Why Don’t Free Ranging Dogs Live In Packs? May 22, 2013

Question: If wolves hunt in packs—and if hunting begat the dog—why don’t free ranging dogs live in packs? Answer: Dogs don’t form functional packs because dogs were domesticated from wolves. The fact that free ranging dogs don’t form working packs is cited by proponents of dog-as-scavenger theory and modern learning theorists as evidence that dogs […]

Misinterpretation of Behavior Due to Calming Signal Theory Apr 15, 2013

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00_9JPltXHI&feature=youtube At the 3:00 minute mark of this video there is an excellent example of how the notion of calming signals leads to a fundamental misinterpretation of two dogs interacting. The author of the video interprets an interaction between a yellow dog and a black lab in terms of calming signals, as one self-contained entity […]

Reflections on University of Tennessee Conference Apr 14, 2013

My profound gratitude to Joyce Miller, Scott Hamilton, Dr. Jean-Marie Thompson (and of course “Romeo”) for introducing Natural Dog Training to the academic community. Our talk was well-attended and I was gratified to see more than a few light bulbs going off in the eyes of the audience. As always, my challenge was not to […]

Censorship In Dogdom and the Nature of Dominance Feb 22, 2013

Psychology Today has the right to summarily delete any column or terminate any columnist as they see fit, even on a whim, and so their decision to end Lee Charles Kelley’s column “My Puppy My Self is not censorship by any means. When it comes to privately held methods of discourse all’s fair in a […]

Being In Sync Dec 19, 2012

Recently tried to present my interpretation of “calming signals” to a group on Facebook that represented that they were a forum interesting in discussing what’s going on in calming signals. There was much magical thinking going on such as: “Dogs are good at calming signals because they had to be good at calming signals since […]

Behavior Is Attraction Oct 02, 2012

In this article the author conjoins two studies which demonstrate that wolf hunting behavior is analogous to the mass flocking of starlings. This is an interesting article because these studies demonstrate the exact opposite of what this author is arguing in the article entitled: “To Hunt, Cooperation Is Not Needed.” The evidence the author cites […]

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.