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Sociability and Personality May 13, 2014   In “NDT” and “YDIYM” I offered a new view of personality in contravention to the prevailing consensus of learning theory, i.e. that reinforcements and instincts are enough to account for the complexities of how a dogs’ behavior changes over time. I discovered that two dogs living together and treated exactly the same (even were […]

Panksepp, Natural Dog Training, Part Two Mar 16, 2013

Panksepp, Natural Dog Training, correlations and distinctions. The interesting thing about writing this article which I initially thought would be pretty simple and straightforward, is that in order to make correlations, I have to at the same time draw distinctions. I hope this doesn’t detract from conveying how much I respect Panksepp’s work. Step by […]

Jaak Panksepp and Natural Dog Training Mar 10, 2013

Correlations between the research of Jaak Panksepp and Natural Dog Training The debates I’ve had on various forums with modern learning theorists ultimately revolve around my claim that emotion shapes learning through a process that is far more fundamental than any system of reinforcements. I argue that reinforcements aren’t instrumental, a template comes first and […]

The Constructal Law and Behaviorism Sep 20, 2012

I’m surprised, as a matter of fact stunned, that modern behaviorism isn’t taking notice of the Constructal law as articulated by Adrian Bejan in his book “Design In Nature.”  To me the implications of the Constructal law are overwhelming and yet no behaviorist or biologist is taking note. So about a month ago I had […]

What’s the Difference Between NDT and Lure/Reward Training? Jun 27, 2012

Cliff (of Lenny fame) and Eric Brad has an interesting exchange on Eric’s site, linked below, and this gives me the opportunity to emphasize again the fundamental distinctions between NDT and Learning Theory. And even though I’ve probably said these things many times on this site before, perhaps in this interweaving of a number of […]

What's the difference between Natural Dog Training and Operant Conditioning? Mar 15, 2010

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 […]

I am always amused when folks argue against operant conditioning. "Operant conditioning" isn't a method. It's the way learning works. You're using it whether you intend to or not. Whether you acknowledge it or not. That's like saying, gravity isn't the only way to stay on the ground Mar 11, 2010

Below are definitions from a site dedicated to Operant Conditioning. Reinforcement = anything that strengthens a behavior Punishment = anything that suppresses a behavior Positive = something added to influence a behavior Negative = something taken away to influence a behavior These are comprehensive DESCRIPTIONS that do indeed encompass the phenomenon of learning so […]

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.