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Review of “How Dogs Work” – Part One Dec 22, 2015

  Anytime a book merges canine behavior with thermodynamics (the study of how things move) it represents a milestone in Dogdom. “How Dogs Work” by Raymond Coppinger and Mark Feinstein, (University of Chicago Press) is such a book. “It’s not too far off the mark to say that, for ethologists, what evolution really “cares about” […]

Calming “Signals” are not Intentional Jun 25, 2015

I excerpted the following from a dog discussion site: “I have an interesting question, which I’m not sure there is a definitive answer for, but may lead to some interesting discussion.   How do dogs learn calming signals (appeasement behaviors, etc)?   I know there are lots of terms used for these behaviors, but calming signals seem […]

What Are We Learning From Animals? (per the NY Times) Jan 31, 2015

I offer the following as an exercise in critical thinking. The New York Times article below illustrates the pretzel knot that modern behavioral analysis is locked in. The problem arises from trying to understand animal behavior as states of intention rather than as states of attraction. This leads to the false dichotomy that if behavior isn’t […]

Sociability and Personality May 13, 2014

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/13/science/the-social-life-of-spiders-thriving-in-a-social-web.html?ref=science&_r=0   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 […]

Indiana NDT Conference Note Three Sep 02, 2013

At the NDT conference I often referred to the concept of “emotional momentum.” For example I mentioned that Pushing teaches the dog he can transfer emotional momentum to the owner, most especially his stress reserves, and conversely, Collecting teaches the dog he can absorb emotional momentum from others, most especially, even their stress reserves. The […]

Playgrounds Are Network Play At Work Dec 11, 2010

Thank you for your great answers and I feel each response is a variant of the same underlying phenomenon. In other words, there’s no “reason” why children love seesaws and swings, rather their bodies and minds (just as it is for all living beings) evolved to feel good when (1) riding on a wave and […]

From what I have read, young wolves DO need to be taught to hunt – what they already have are the ritualistic behaviors that make up the act of hunting, but they need to be taught how to apply them properly Mar 11, 2010

In the seventies I was training a Bernese Mountain Dog and after weeks of training and the dog seeming to have mastered the obedience exercises, I decided to test my control by taking him into the pasture with my father’s herd of cows. Big mistake When the dog was but one millimeter beyond some invisible […]

Definitions Jan 15, 2010

Some of my definitions are scattered across this site and mostly in terms of why-dogs-do-what-they-do, but what follows is a more concise summary. ENERGY: An action potential, a differential of force between two poles. Energy in animals builds up by virtue of a bipolar, two-brain makeup each with its own divergent agenda just as if […]

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.