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Why dogs roll in smelly things update Oct 14, 2016

    From the NY Times 10/10/16 “Why do dogs love to roll around in things that smell repulsive?” “One theory is that their sense of smell is really a complex motor system related to the brain. And so, Dr. Horowitz said, when Finn alights upon a rotting squirrel corpse in the park, the smell […]

Do Dogs Understand Fairness? May 12, 2016

One reason NDT is hard to propagate is that it requires seeing the evidence through an unfamiliar lens, what I call an immediate-moment manner of analysis. Some mistakenly think the shift required is metaphysical, others think it’s mechanical. Some say my interpretations are too simplistic, and then at another juncture they say it’s too complicated. (I […]

Why Dogs Play Jan 23, 2016

I have been expecting that “How Dogs Work” would spur a great debate throughout Dogdom. Yet the only discussion I’ve found is a review posted by Dr. Bekoff on his Psychology Today blog. Beckoff challenges Coppinger and Feinstein’s thesis that play, specifically the play bow, represents a state of conflict, i.e. an emergent behavior […]

What Emotion Is, And Isn’t Aug 04, 2015

“Most people, including many scientists, believe that emotions are distinct, locatable entities inside us — but they’re not.” Lisa Feldman Barrett   Professor of Psychology Northeastern University If you have been following NDT theory then you are not among the “most people” referenced above. My study of dogs through the lens of the immediate-moment […]

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.   There is a lot to ingest in all this, but this passage leaps out from the article on […]

Theory is Replicable Jan 14, 2015

I converted this to a post for two reasons. 1) b.. ‘s synthesis represents an achievement of replicability. The good news is that one can learn to understand the internal processes of the animal mind, we do all have one after all. However the bad news is you might end up thinking like me. 2) […]

Getting Under The Charge Jan 02, 2015

Oregon Seminar October 2014 In any particular seminar some idea tends to stand out. While for me it’s all one thing, I know from my  experience when learning a new system that something said once might not sink in, but then later in a different context it rings a bell so loud I can hear […]

Impulse Control and Body Language Aug 19, 2014

(This is a very, very long post on NDT theory)   Canine body language revolves around the same question that drives much social research, what is the nature of impulse control? I propose that a primal impulse can only be held in check by an impulse of equal primacy. Otherwise an individual will be in […]

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 […]

“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, […]

Making Waves Mar 19, 2014

Thanks for collectively straining over the puzzle as to what flocks of birds cavorting aloft, Orcas porpoising alongside boats, Orcas collectively knocking a seal off an ice flow, a horse and dog playing, and in fact we could extend it to all the things that animals do, have in common. Below is a compilation of […]

Physical Memory Is Transferable Mar 09, 2014

Can the stress that an animal experiences in its lifetime be inherited by its progeny? Yes “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 […]

Baying and Howling, a Function of Emotional Projection Dec 22, 2013

This is a classic example of emotional projection. The hound has driven the prey up the tree and longs for it. Note the body position and the vocal behavior that is wholly concordant with the howl. This is the evolutionary antecedent to the howl as emotion is predicated on the prey/predator duality and dynamic. The […]

Physical Memory Is Transferable Dec 07, 2013 The transfer of physical memory from one individual to another is the function of DISfunction. It’s why there is stress in life. Organisms are carriers of an emotional charge more than they are of genes. Lamarck was wrong about the mechanics of evolution, but he was right that evolution happens in real time. […]

Why We Like Sad Music: Part Two Sep 27, 2013

Music, Natural Dog Training, Panksepp and the Constructal Law My argument is that the locomotive dynamic is the basis for our aesthetic appreciation of music, however not in the manner which is theorized in the article below, i.e. that synchronizing footfalls renders a beat of silence which then makes it easier to hear […]

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. To repeat, full emotional conductivity is moving without restriction. This kind of movement is […]

The Principle of Emotional Conductivity Aug 05, 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. Taking this viewpoint, the purpose of the human brain is to use sensory signals to determine future actions.” […]

Point Three Jul 23, 2013 POINT THREE: Resource Holding Potential   Animal Behavior Desk Reference – A Dictionary of Animal Behavior Ecology and Evolution 2nd ed – Barrows (CRC 2005) An individual organism’s potential for obtaining, or retaining, a resource based on its fighting ability [coined by Parker 1974 in Maynard Smith 1976, 44]. An individual organism’s potential for […]

Synchronization and Alignment May 15, 2013

Leah asks if the video below of synchronizing metronomes is akin to the trampoline analogy I offered recently. To repeat, a trampoline is analogous to consciousness as both are a displaceable medium, i.e. when stimulated an organism is induced into sensations of disequilibrium. So two people standing and especially moving on a trampoline displace the […]

Emotional Projection May 08, 2013 Does this dog need its head examined, or does this video reveal something profound about the nature of information? Modern ethologists, behaviorists and many trainers argue that dogs and wolves organize into social structures according to a rational calculation relative to gaining control over resources. Supposedly dogs compute a cost/benefit analysis, while taking in […]

Emotional Fusion Apr 26, 2013
Panksepp, SEEK, and Natural Dog Training Mar 18, 2013

Part Three (17:05) At this point in the interview the subject of the brain reward system comes up and Panksepp points out that this was an unfortunate term because it should actually have been called the “seeking system.” Panksepp’s research discovered that this system elaborates in higher cognitive processes into creative impulses and makes enjoyment […]

The Math Underlying Natural Dog Training Mar 07, 2013

(This is a long article to demonstrate how recent science validates the theory of Natural Dog Training as first articulated in the 1980’s.) Text: Sometimes critics ask for the math that substantiates the theory that underlies Natural Dog Training (emotion=attraction—-feelings=resistance) which is a little tough given that I’m not a mathematician. And the request is […]

The Higgins Method Feb 15, 2013

Recently I became aware of “The Higgins Method” of gun training developed by Brad Higgins. Brad has sent me two videos and invites commentary so I’ve added the NDT way of looking at things. Brad’s website is below: It’s very gratifying to find folks from different ends of the dog training spectrum having […]

A Critique of Context-Is-Everything Followed by an Introduction to Canine Body Language Jan 19, 2013

I started this section on body language in order to explain what’s going on in a You Tube clip of an interesting interaction between a Rhodesian Ridgeback and a Malinois. While brief, the video is rich with dynamic. In fact there’s so much going on that it’s necessary to do some theoretical backfilling before going […]

Body Language 3 Jan 11, 2013

Rhodesian Ridgeback meets Malinois Part Three   This diagram refers to the first seconds of the video linked below wherein the Rhodesian Ridgeback is lowering its front end and the two dogs are engaging without exhibiting much friction at least for one or two seconds. There are two very important elements. One is that they […]

Body Language 2 Dec 30, 2012

This diagram outlines the generic problem confronting any dogs when they interact. Any interaction has to be understood as an emotional transaction, and emotion moves from one individual to another by way of the same processes by which physical momentum moves. An animal moves its mind through the same neurological and physical scripts by which […]

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 […]

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.