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Kevin Behan Playing Tug with Big Black Dog

Kevin Playing Tug with Big Black Dog at Rowe

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Published February 18, 2010 by Kevin Behan
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55 responses to “Kevin Behan Playing Tug with Big Black Dog”

  1. Donnie_O says:

    At about 0:40, you start pulling him around the room a bit when he starts to get very focussed on the toy. Is that just to keep him moving? When Jinxsie lays down and starts pulling her rope toys apart during our tug games, I usually give her some food and do some pushing or take a break and pet her up. If I want to keep the game going, can I also get her to start chasing me using this method? Sometimes I’ll do this with her at the beginning of our walks or training to get her to start orbiting me. Is this appropriate?

  2. christine randolph says:

    interesting that Kevin is not giving the dog anything verbal. i thought we have to talk goofy during this, or, like in that other video I saw a while ago, where Kevin is making dog play noises.

    I am wondering, is it very important to be silent ?

    I think the training location is absolutely beautiful ! looks like one of those old world square dance places that europeans envision americans having parties in

  3. kbehan says:

    Yes you always want the dog with calm grip (drive) rather than bogging down and tearing (instinct) and so moving away to get the dog moving is good, can even use long line to induce the follow. I use the tug to induce the dog to commit more energy into the object, and will even be okay with growling initially because this is old energy coming up the surface that we can then soften with the moving and the pushing. Hope this answers your question.

  4. Christine says:

    Again, great clip! It’s very helpful to be able to “see” what you’ve described in your book and on the blogs. Besides, it’s just plain FUN to watch you work!

    Ya know….when do get around to making a DVD, you might include some type of ethogram for the behaviors, movements, etc. Just a thought. Kind of a move-by-move definition/explanation of what’s going on.

  5. Donnie_O says:

    Yes Kevin, that certainly does answer my question. I’ve been using the long line to keep her moving and this has helped keep her interested in the game. However, I find that lately she has not been as interested in playing – she will play for a while and then want to . Do you have other suggestions to build her drive to bite the toy?

    Another question that I recently thought of has to do with “hardness”. In building a dog’s drive to overcome resistance through pushing and tug, are we also hardening their temperament? During my tug games with Jinxsie, I usually try to smack her on the sides and flank with my free hand as we’re playing. At first, she would growl when I touched her flanks so I would immediately let her win. This abated soon enough and now I can pretty much touch her wherever I want during the game. Is this an indication of the hardening of her temperament? And, if this is indeed what I’m doing, will this lead to being less sensitive to sharp or sudden noise?

  6. Donnie_O says:

    ha ha, i didn’t finish my thought in that last post. “and then want to go off and sniff the ground”, is what I was going to say.

  7. what does everyone think should the trainers do with Tilicum and other orcas who like to grab the trainer ?

  8. kbehan says:

    Yes, as a dog evolves to bite the prey object no-matter-what, its temperament is becoming harder, in other words it is more able to convert resistance and stress into information, and by this I mean “how to align” with complex object of attraction in order to overcome the path of highest resistance. So in this regards we can think of our dog’s prey/making impulse just as if it is the CPU of a computer. The more powerful the CPU, the more it can turn inputs into information. Whereas when the CPU isn’t powerful enough, then the computer crashes when applications are competing for its resources. So if your dogs CPU is strong enough (hardened temperament, i.e. it can feel the preyful essence) the more that what’s going on around it is energizing it in a coherent manner.
    So at some point you may hit a plateau by how much good positive inducement will benefit the dog. Then you have to “trigger” your dog’s battery because old values are locked up and preventing it from being able to perceive the preyful essence in the toy, this is what growling indicates. Then I suggest the dog be posted up and “stalked” i.e. you act like predator and this triggers the battery. Before you do that however, you have to teach your dog a coherent means of turning stress into information. So for example, growling is an incoherent means of dealing with stress in that it is a physiological manner of dumping energy from the system, it’s a defensive coping mechanism. Barking on the other hand in a deep-seated, metered way is a wholly coherent manner (for reasons I will discuss later). So when we train a police dog to hold a criminal at bay by barking, this is a reliable behavior that will guide the dog even after a high speed chase and the intensity of everything that’s going on and when the handler isn’t present. Whereas if such a dog was prone to growling, then its CPU would be weaker and it would break down and either bite the criminal, or avoid the encounter altogether and look for path of lesser resistance (circle the criminal, look for running criminal etc.). So once your dog is expressing strong energy with deep bark that is distinctly metered and reliably repeats itself, show your dog your predatory aspect by stalking/confronting, and then encourage it to speak on command. When it speaks, you can throw in the pushing technique, go back to barking, and then tease with toy. In this entire chain of events the dog is learning to align with you at high rate of intensity and this will be turning its old stress memories back into a feeling of flow, and eventually it will be able to sustain its focus on pure preyful essence despite the presence and proximity of your predatory aspect. This means that your predatory aspect isn’t inhibiting your dog, but is being perceived by the dog as “negative-as-access-to-the-positive.” When this connection is made, you will notice your dog exhibiting more and more energy in its drive. Its temperament (the capacity to turn stress/resistance into information) is becoming “harder.”

  9. christine randolph says:

    I am very interested !!!!!!!

    coherent, that means predictable, right ?

    teach the dog to bark instead of growl…

    so step 1 would teach the dog to bark on command ?

    step 2,

    i post the dog up , then stalk them and if they growl, give them the bark command ? then do tug and hup ?

  10. Donnie_O says:

    I figured that the goal was to harden her temperament. I guess that’s similar to what you’ve written elswhere: to nurture Temperament. I don’t think I understood it before but I feel like I do now.

    When I push with her I will get her to bark at me and she always gives me more energy afterwards. I’ve tried to move into the stalking exercise, but my success has been limited. I can see that I’m stirring up her energy, but it usually manifests in pacing and very little direct eye contact. Once I did start to get a good bark out of her and lots of direct contact, but it hasn’t happened since. I think I probably need to go back a bit and continue to work on barking and refine my stalking technique a bit (as in, start vibrating, etc, the second she gives me any degree of direct eye contact).

    Would another way of triggering old energy stored in her battery be to roughhouse with her? I do this occassionally with her, but stop when she a)growls; or b) mouths my arm. From what you’ve said above, I don’t think I should worry too much about it – initially at least – so long as she is still attracted to me.

  11. kbehan says:

    Don’t rough house with her because it’s reinforcing the holding-back problem as well which is apparently building it up as a block since you’ve hit a plateau. Concentrate on the bark because it is a state of conflict that makes energy, and if the bark is coming from the deep gut, then it is energy that doesn’t put her in conflict, no more than wanting a hot dog would but being held back. Dog gets more frustrated and energized even though in conflict. When she barks, your body involuntarily moves and she gets the feeling that her bark turns your energy into preyfulness. Your predatory stalk dissolves into prey, this is the primordial energy circuit and then the bite will immutably arise from here. When a dog barks from the gut, they must open the deepest emotional valve and “project” their reserve energy into you and then when you move that makes for more energy and this is what the dog lives for. You can then mix the pushing into the mix so that the energy is converted into strong drive, the hard bite will follow. Keep on pushing.

  12. kbehan says:

    Yes, coherent is social energy, predictably social. This is why when two dogs bark in each other’s face, there’s no fight, even though were they to growl same dogs could erupt into fight. The full, metered bark means energy isn’t being held in reserve, and when all the energy is at the surface, the cards are on the table and dogs can trust another being that’s showing its cards. Yes, so turn the growl, the snarls and the fangs which is deep energy stuck in the muzzle, into the clear, deep bark, and thus old energy is on its way to becoming “new energy.” When dog has good bark, get into the stalking and have this move your body so that you are performing emotional induction, moving emotional ballast within your dog’s body via your own motions and that feels energizing to a dog. Then work your way close for pushing and more barking. Eventually, drop toy on long lead at dogs feet, back off a bit and point at toy with some stalk thrown in based on dog’s capacity. Your predatory energy is now being channeled into the toy and the dog is grounding into the bite object by aligning with you, i.e. deflecting its energy off your eyes and back onto the toy, dog and owner are becoming one emotional energy circuit at peak intensity and optimal frequency for resolving unresolved emotion. Keep on pushing!

  13. AZdogerman says:

    This thread is great, I understand the tearing=instinct and why to avoid it. Should the goal for the grip to be totally stationary, with no side-to-side head movements?

  14. christine randolph says:

    Kevin,
    can you tell us a few of your exercises which have provoked for you the correct bark ?

  15. Heather says:

    Up until a couple of weeks ago, I had used the command “speak” to elicit barks – one day when I asked him to “speak,” Happy woofed and jumped up, landing with his paws on my chest. Since then, whenever I say “speak,” he jumps up and puts his paws on me (with or without barking). So “speak” changed meanings. During pushing I will pat my chest as an encouragement to do the same thing, but he prefers to leap toward me and push into me but not put his paws on me. Yet if I stand stationary and say “speak,” up come the paws (in a gentle fashion, not pushing).

    I tried to change words and hand signals to “bark” for barking, because the kids like to do this with the dog, but the same thing is happening, maybe or maybe not an actual bark, but in the process of gearing up to bark, he pops up in the air with his paws.

    It is like the act of barking itself is projecting him right off the ground.

  16. Heather says:

    I’m wondering too if I can do something at this time with his bite toy, to increase his attraction to the toy. At times of high frustration/excitement is when Happy loses interest in his toy and wants to use body parts as bite objects. We are doing much, much better at keeping things from getting too frustrating or exciting, and many days will go by where the energy is channeled into the toy – then once in a while there’s extra energy and not enough capacity and he goes for an arm. The extra energy/excitement can be something as simple as a few inches of new snow and some plastic snow toys lying about – stuff I don’t notice until thinking about it later.

  17. Sang says:

    Hey Heather, here’s one thing you could try. Try keeping Happy on leash when getting him to speak, holding the leash over his head with just a slight amount of pressure on it to keep him in place. You should hold it angled away from you to keep from being able to jump up and make contact with you. Then ask him to speak. Essentially, you’re forcing him to stay in one spot and keep his paws on the ground. It will force him to channel all that pent up energy into the bark instead of diverting it into jumping up and so on.

    One of my dog’s default behaviors when asked to speak was to jump into heel, which was one of her ways of dealing with stress. I’d put pressure on her, ask her to speak, and she’d jump into heel. Kind of funny actually, but not the best way to get a good, solid bark. Instead, she’d let out a higher pitched, more frenzied bark. But when I have her leashed up and force her to stay in place, and then get her to speak, she’ll let out a deeper, more channeled, focused, coherent bark.

    You’ll likely find that it will be harder for him to speak when he’s asked to do so while in a settled position, because that’s going to force him to dig deeper into his reserves to let out a more coherent bark. So you may find that you have to be more patient to get a bark in this situation. At least that would hold true of dogs that have been heavily suppressed. But based on what you’ve said about Happy, I don’t think you’ll have much trouble:)

    Anyway, that’s one way I know of to help get that deeper more coherent bark. I’m sure Kevin has lots of tricks up his sleeve though:)

  18. Heather says:

    Hi Sang, it is interesting because Happy used to speak really well but seemed reluctant to jump up to put his paws on me (he was also hesitant to jump up to get into our SUV or onto the grooming table, he is also doing those things more actively now that he is jumping up on me). Right now his body seems to lift “up” in the process of summoning a bark. If he makes it up before the bark, the sound is soft/muffled, almost like the lifting used the barking energy all up before it came out.

    So I am actually trying to encourage the jumping up, especially because I like it and he does too, it’s got the same effect as a good laugh, puts everyone in a good mood.

    I also thought it would be nice if the kids could still have a bark command that didn’t involve jumping up, because he is much taller and heavier than they are. I may just tell the kids not to ask him to speak…or I may have them do it while he is in his pen to see if he has the same liftoff with them as with me.

    When he jumps and grabs at arms, it is not the same sort of jumping “up,” it is more jumping “at” me and holding on. Like ideally he would do with the bite toy…

  19. kbehan says:

    This is a judgment call, but the reason he’s more focused on body parts than toy is because he’s experienced more intensity, more of a fight, more resistance from handler over the body part and dogs do things to drain the battery, and they need resistance to drain the battery, and this then becomes their imprint. So when the dog is mature enough and you feel you have a solid foundation to build on, the next step is to “fight” the dog over its access to the toy so this becomes the resistance to be overcome and which can be encouraged by handler rather than resisted in a negative feedback loop. Before you do that, you need to get a strong bark emanating from deep in the gut, so Sang has made some great suggestions and perhaps the easiest thing to do is also post him up, and then from a distance be semi-stalking and become still, and when he whines or any kind of woof, this animates you and you move side-to-side and come closer. Sometimes when you get too close the dog gets paralyzed and can’t bark so play around with distance thresholds. And if dog goes into avoidance, you can recover with push for food.

  20. kbehan says:

    The operative word is indeed “projected.” In order for a dog to bark he has to first project his physical cog into you and then feel void in gut at same time, and since any action first requires projection of p-cog forward as a computation of motion, this is why the leaping up and barking are so closely related. He leaps up because he loses focus on gut, which is why sit is a calming, prepatory to barking behavior, so take care where over his head you position food so as to induce the sitting more readily.

  21. kbehan says:

    As the dog’s mind becomes a “clear channel” then its entire body becomes a resonating chamber with the bark clearly coming from the gut rather than from the head. A dog can reference either the Big Brain or the little brain in the generation of the bark, and so the easiest way to get the dog to focus on little brain is through the hunger/arousal circuitry, and with the posting up you can see exactly where he is referencing. If he must act quickly and a physical action comes out before bark, then he is referencing Big Brain and its rule that output must equal input, i.e. balance, and therefore action to relieve pressure of sensory input. If you see the dog lick its lips, look away, or a little bit of pressure build up and then collapse internally, even though no bark may have been emitted, that is the beginning of the good bark.

  22. kbehan says:

    Exactly, the clearer the dog is, the calmer and fuller the grip. That said, it’s good to induce some side-to-side when you increase pressure so that the dog is grounding this input through prey-making. Remember that there’s always something good and something bad (not in the moral sense) in everything a dog does. So yes shaking sleeve means it is noticing an input that’s not grounded, but the dog is grounding the input. The question in training is the evolution of the behavior over the long run. So I don’t mind in the beginning getting growling and bucking back because the dog IS nontheless investing energy in having the bite toy I want him to want to have.

  23. Heather says:

    — the reason he’s more focused on body parts than toy is because he’s experienced more intensity, more of a fight, more resistance from handler over the body part–

    This is definitely true. I am absolutely certain that this kink will be worked out, sooner or later, but I think it would be ideal if I kept at the foundation work for a couple of months and make a trip to Vermont – I’m not sure if you got my email but either way I’m hoping you’d be willing to work a bit with us. Happy’s a good dog, very smart and eager, he’s probably what you would call easy or even boring, but he has a calm focus and determination, and he is also curious, open, and playful. He is also about 115 pounds, has enormous teeth and a very good grip. The only place he gets focused on body parts seems to be our own yard, however…

  24. AZdogerman says:

    How great! I was working on comment #11 activities and having a lot of fun developing her bark. After emotional induction it really got going and then she really launched herself into me for pushing. I did the above without her posted but I am unclear about how to incorporate the toy into the mix. When I progress to dropping it at her feet and backing up and then stalking, should I or the dog make the first move for the toy? This was such a fun exercise! How often can this one be done? I didn’t sense it was stressful in a bad way for her but want to error on the side of caution. It was nice to see her barking in such a nice way, a stranger came to the door today and she barked in her growly-bark with hackles up and then I encouraged her to “speak!” and the barked changed to the more clear metered bark. I was having the same jumping problem as Heather until today where “speak” had turned to “jump” but now speak means speak again. I find this fascinating that a command could switch meanings. It seems like the command really indicated an emotional state that was linked to different physical behaviors.

  25. AZdogerman says:

    Also, I know it’s not a good idea to pick the dog off all fours but would this be ok if the dog was calmly gripping the toy ( don’t know if its too much on jaws or emotions) ? I used to spin her in a circle in the air while she was gripping the tug toy with me as the axis point. To me this indicates 100% effort into the toy but I don’t know if this is 100% grounding into the toy. When I would let her “win” by gently letting go she would run back for more. I can’t remember if I posted this in another thread, apologies if I did! Thanks.

  26. kbehan says:

    I don’t recommend this because for the most part it just encourages the dog to just hold on and go for a ride rather than driving in to the handler. It’s okay to catch a dog at high speed and deflect him and as you absorb the impact the dog goes round through the air, but I don’t feel this does much for drive other than in the beginning when it experiences that the impact of flying into the prey knocks it down to the ground, so you don’t need to do much of this.

  27. kbehan says:

    Yes, there are three “valves” we need to concern ourselves with. The one in the Big-Brain which works on load/overload/balance, and when this is open then action can happen, but we then next need to open the valve in the little-brain, and this is what barking does because the dog must project its p-cog into form of attraction and so it feels a deep release, and then the final valve is the heart, and this is what happens when the intensity and frequency of the object of attraction (handler) matches the intensity and compression of unresolved emotion and so can absorb all the dog’s energy. So the correct bark opens the 2nd valve and then your body language and movements can open the heart valve because of emotional induction and we get the performance we need and the dog feels what it most wants to feel. So your observation about the linkage between emotion and behavior is quite right and indicates that emotion comes first, the body follows and thereby plugs the brain into the mind.

  28. kbehan says:

    It will be great to work with Happy, I like the big boy already. And don’t worry, this old imprint will slowly fade away as he experiences the real deal, and then gets strong enough to retain that feeling even in charged moments and situations.

  29. christine randolph says:

    here’s what I visualize when I read the above:
    (is this correct ?)

    i approach the dog who is tied out, slowly, moving side to side,
    they hopefully bark when I get close enough.

    then, I seem to have the following options:

    I wrestle with them for the toy ?

    I bump into them as though I want to play fight ?

    I do a pushing for food exercise?

    I do a game of tug and push with dog and toy?
    all this can happen without barking ?

    then, I move away for another stalking ?

  30. kbehan says:

    Okay just to be clear, make sure you have good push-for-food on post. Then perfect speak on command in separate exercise. Hold food over head, clasped up high on your chest and encourage dog to speak, if it licks its lips, builds up a little pressure in its muzzle that then collapses, or breaks eye contact, reward with food. It will begin to orient to a sit as it gets stronger in referencing its little brain and the bark will come out and get stronger. (Often starts with a sneeze or a cough) Once bark is strong, then do posting up and confront, if dogs licks lips, puffs up, or even looks off, or ideally barks, then move side-to-side which is opening the little-brain valve (digestion of movement). Then when this is strong, you can introduce toy flicking about a bit, and toss it under dog’s muzzle and with it slightly beyond dog’s easy reach, point toward it, and stalk THE TOY, the goal is for the dog to deflect its attention onto the toy, if it gets the toy, or paws at it, you can animate it with rope that is tied to it and you can have in your hand. If dog bites good you can play tug. When bite gets really strong, you can interrupt for push for food, then bark, and then eventually, get on box, down/stay, push, bark, bite, interrupt and make a very complex routine, and most importantly push toy into owner. The more pressure the dog can digest, the more complex the routine, the less it loses emotional velocity with every change in direction, therefore the more energy the dog is channeling through its body/mind as an energy circuit and most importantly, with its owner defined as its apex. The more you are the apex, i.e. you are the most intense negative that accesses the most profound level of grounding, the more your dog can tune into you and attune to you NO-MATTER-WHAT.
    Keep on pushing!

  31. AZdogerman says:

    Fun! Does animating the toy with a rope make the dog “think” that its predatory aspect is dissolving the toy into prey? What would be the effect of animating the toy when the dog is giving me eye contact and then if it gets distracted by the toy to cease animating it? And then to only animate it again once I am focused on it? I feel like the dog would learn that only by giving the focus on the negative or me would the positive become more intense. Also, my dog assumed the down position on her own with her front feet splayed out at angles and continued to bark at me. What is the significance of this? Thanks in advance!

  32. kbehan says:

    Yes, the dog FEELS that by projecting energy onto the handler (which immediately quickens a complementary urge to feel a deflection of energy onto something) the toy comes to life. The dog gives the handler’s negative (eyes) credit for animating the toy. In other words, the dog and handler are becoming one energy circuit so that the feelings that are engendered in the dog by how dog and handler interact are what cause the toy to come to life. So pressure in the dog’s head turns into arousal in the dog’s gut. Now the dog learns that rather than pushing energy out (growling, bristling, stiff posturing to maintain balance), the dog feels as if energy is flowing within, and this feels good because this is creating a whole body communication between the dog’s head and its gut, with the connection with handler being the dog’s means of completing this internal circuit. This is the point of the barking, to turn pushing-energy-out modality into pulling-energy-in mode of experiencing what’s going on.
    Important not to do anything but cement this connection. I trained my dog to give me “eyes” even when gently smacking its muzzle with a steak which it was about to be given, or when deer were in yard, but only do this at the very, very, very end of the training regime. The most important foundation is making and hardening the connection that the negative of handler connects dog with its own gut.
    When your dog does the down/splayed/bark, the prey making urge is becoming stuck in the personality mode and it’s not getting through (yet) to pure drive. So use straining at end of tie out cable to neutralize this more circumspective way of being, so it needs more experience at overpowering handler, of willing food into mouth by absolute exertion. This self-interruption means that the dog is experiencing a loss of emotional momentum when it is being made to shift behaviors and it has to get stronger in this regard.

  33. AZDogerman says:

    Thanks! This is working out great, she is pushing the toy into me but on all fours, I hope that she will jump up and push from her hind legs soon. The tie-out worked wonderfully and her drive is becoming more clear. I put out a toy on either side of her out of reach and sure enough, she only went after the one that I went after and her panic instinct of grabbing whatever is near seemed to diminish, eat least during the exercise.

  34. AZdogerman says:

    Can handlers help to create new energy and make tug more satisfying by creating a rhythm in the movement of the game? Perhaps a strong pendulum action from side to side coupled with front to back? Thanks!

  35. kbehan says:

    You make new energy by triggering old energy, i.e. by offering resistance. Just the form of a thing triggers physical memory so that’s going to be happening to some degree. By acting rhythmically you are absorbing and smoothing out the old energy, decompressing it, and once you get past a critical point whereby the dog projects all its e-cog into you, then any resistance you offer adds new energy by you and dog becoming one electromagnetic dynamo. You and the dog are becoming one wave function, like giving a child a push on the swing. Hope this is clear.

  36. Alec says:

    Re: teaching dog to speak

    I’m sure if varies amongst dogs but do you have any suggestions for how long to attempt this each session and generally how long it takes to accomplish a bark? I have tried but have only got a look away or licking of the lips so I broke it up with some good pushing and then went back.

    Also, I kind of get the feel for the licking of the lips or build up in pressure. Could you elaborate on why we should feed them when they look away?

    Finally, why are we pushing while the dog is posted?

  37. Heather says:

    I’m no expert but when I needed a new bark command because the speak command turned into jump up one day, I waited until Happy was barking on his own and said “bark” with a hand signal and then said “good” and treated him – maybe two repetitions. Next time when I asked for a bark during our pushing, he barked. For awhile it was also jumping, but now he uses speak for jump, and bark for bark (and “ready…” like Neil Sattin describes for pushing).

  38. kbehan says:

    As long as the dog is taking food you’re not overdoing it. So you can just allocate a meal in the pouch and that’s how the dog eats if you are wanting to get this done as soon as possible, which I recommend. When the dog is looking away, it has built up pressure in its head/muzzle and is “looking-for-a-new-negative” to relieve that pressure. So if you reward the dog at that moment, before it gets too deep into avoidance, then you are holding on by a thin thread the connection that your eyes are THE NEGATIVE that leads to the positive, i.e. the food. The reason the dog can’t bark is because it can’t project its “self” into its handler in a direct/active modality, and because a dog’s sense of self arises from the deep gut, this means that it can’t hold handler’s eyes in conjunction with this feeling of vulnerability (synonymous with self) which is necessary to complete the projection process so that handler is perceived as negative-as-access-to-positive. Eating the food is PULLING in energy, barking will at first be PUSHING out energy. (the pushing out when energy is stuck in the muzzle will often start with a sneeze. The energy wants to come out, but the muzzle is blocked too strong so the dog sneezes. The energy is sneaking out the nose. Also, sometimes the dog burps as it tries to recycle that energy back down into its gut. These are all involuntary actions like licking that do eventually lead to an outright bark.) Meanwhile we do the pushing interspersed in here to create a strong emotional ground between dog and handler so that it is able to feel vulnerable and look at handlers’ eyes at the same time. It is overcoming resistance which is part of the block to the bark as well. Eventually it will become sure of being direct and active in presence of handler and is clear about EXPOSING itself by a bark. Once you get the bark, you can then “tune” it so that its point of origin comes from the gut rather than the head. A very good, deep, strong, metered bark is PUSH/PULL with handler and dog part of one wave function, i.e. THE SAME FEELING. If we review the history of a dog, we soon see that every time it acted direct and active, it got in trouble, so we are rewriting the dog’s emotional history when we teach it to speak on command and most especially if we can get it to speak in deep, metered bark in charged moments when it is normally paralyzed with ungrounded sensations. Keep On Pushing!

  39. Alec says:

    Interesting! I am convinced that getting the dog to bark on command will help in many situations. When we first moved into our house she would go in the backyard and hear various noises from the neighbors and would get scared (tail tucking, want to go back in the house) and after awhile we noticed that she began barking at it. And when she barked, the tail remained wagging in the air and she was much calmer.

    I also find it interesting that you mention sneezing. I have noticed many times when she gets overly excited that she will sneeze (e.g., pretty much every time I walk through the door after being gone a while she will come running and her nose will curl and she will sneeze uncontrollably). If I can get her to speak in these instances, especially when meeting a new person, it may help to alleviate the build up of energy.

    Moreover, I’m hopeful that it will help her start to push back into me when the energy is high (e.g., after I let her win in a game of tug she will run back to me instead of around the yard with the toy).

    Thanks.

  40. AZDogerman says:

    Regarding comment 32, you stated that asking the dog for “eyes” when a deer is around should been done at the end of training, is this because asking for “eyes” is an interruption of drive for a dog who cannot fully give its owner all its energy? But for a developed drive it signals to the dog that moose energy is on the way?

    Would it be ok to hold food high on my chest, ask for push and then ask for bark while dog is in contact and then commence to push for food? I read that you wrote that wolves want to bring the moose to ground, could we as handlers adapt this into pushing? For instance, dog gives good push and then handler falls backwards onto the ground? Thanks!

  41. kbehan says:

    Yes, the risk is that the “negative” (eyes) collapses the elaboration process into a behavior and this could happen before you get to a full blown drive expression, so you don’t want to get to this step too soon. The dog is always giving your eyes credit, it’s always aware of your negative even when it isn’t looking at you so there’s no need to make an overt issue of it that can collapse the emotional state into an action prematurely. It’s very easy to tack it on at the end and make it an overt behavior.
    Yes, if you feel your dog’s drive is strong enough in the push, and you’ve got a good bark going, you can throw the bark into the mix whenever you want in order to make the elaboration process more and more complex. The more complex the behavior, the more energy it can channel (as long as there is no loss of emotional velocity.)
    Yes, you can let dog bring you to the ground. (I only recommend this for people who love to be physical with a dog. So if someone in the family is physical, and someone isn’t, that makes it easier for the dog to learn to discriminate between the two, just like we can learn who to joke around and don’t need to push the buttons of someone who is “touchy” by virtue of experiencing the fun of joking around with the kind of a person who is receptive to that stuff. So if someone doesn’t like being physical, don’t feel the need to be that way if the dog is getting its ya-yas out with someone who is. The dog can easily discern the distinction.) I also put on my coveralls, my hooded sweatshirt and then I like to cover up the bite object on the ground and have the dog overpower my form to get to the essence.

  42. Heather says:

    Happy likes it a lot if I lose my balance and fall – and is much more responsive to me after that if I play with him on the ground. He doesn’t seem to get overexcited.

  43. AZdogerman says:

    Ok thanks for all the info! I do like to get rowdy I think its fun and I’m amazed at her bite discrimination and being at the center of so much energy. So I will work on the aforementioned things. I will also be happy to be her moose if she learns to discern between people who want to be rough and those that don’t.

  44. christine randolph says:

    related to lying down,

    i was at the xcountry dog trail today.I ski, the dogs run off leash. one of my dogs found a bone and was guarding it instead of coming to the car when i wanted to leave.

    i lay down in the snow about 50 meters away and rolled myself towards the dog.for whatever reason he did not perceive me as a threat, maybe also because my eyes were not focussed on him by virtue of rolling around like a rolling pin

    when i was close enough i could take the bone and take him by the collar, then get up and take him to the car. he had absolutely no reaction to this, was docile.

    if i had just walked to him he would have jumped away and run with his bone. (combination of play and guarding the bone)

  45. AZdogermanstu says:

    I did a little “Frankenstein” today being careful not to pressure Bootsy beyond her capacity and she barked very well and hopefully knocked some old stuff loose. One thing that was different today was that in addition to barking when I stalked her, and her barking when I deflected to stalk the toy, she barked after I did pushing when I was walking away. Does this mean she is projecting herself into me more deeply and feeling safer expressing the anxiety she feels when I leave? As soon as she barked I turned around and moved side-to-side for more pushing. While she was crated today she whined a bit more than usual in my absence. She also was jumping up on my with toy in mouth very readily similar to Hessian in the video.

  46. kbehan says:

    You can expect that old patterns from puppy hood will resurface since this is when the dog got stuck. The dog feels safer to project vulnerability rather than fear onto the moment. This affords a new way of resolving something old. So keep on pushing.

  47. Rosie says:

    Is this right then? If your dog is anxious when left, and expresses this by barking in the crate and when posted up, then returning to your dog as soon as they bark when they are posted up will help the dog deal with the stress of being left in their crate?

  48. kbehan says:

    Not quite sure what you mean, but in any event, dogs learn by contrast. So if barking happens in crate, it will be harder to induce outside the crate. Therefore flipping it around, by inducing barking on the post, you are giving that energy an alternative “channel” or avenue of expression and this begins to heal the crate issue. When you induce clear channel barking, (i.e. originating in the gut and focused via the heart) which is deep, open and metered as opposed to emanating from muzzle and which is hectic, incoherent and streaming as one continuous sound, then the dog is feeling better doing the former than the latter, and then you add extreme intensity to this situation so as to make it more gratifying than crate incoherent barking. Finally, when you get around to correcting the latter if necessary, that will clean it up for good.

  49. Rosie says:

    Ok sorry, I didn’t explain my actual thought/question. I meant that when you post a dog up and they bark as you are walking away, is that because they are anxious when you leave them (like in the crate) or because they are more able to bark when you are not facing them – as the eyes are not on them?

    And so, with a dog that barks as soon as you walk away you should return immediately and push feed, because that then is the level of pressure at which they are working?

  50. kbehan says:

    Putting aside the specific nature of the bark (deep, metered, or hectic) yes, they are feeling a release from pressure and so easier to bark when not being looked at. On the other hand the anxious dog will have a hectic bark and when owner is walking away, be it from post or crate, they actually perceive that the owner is focusing on them and beseeching them to be quiet or assuring them that things are okay, and because the owner isn’t there to give them actual physical, tactile touching, the discrepancy between physical memory and actual reality wherein there is nothing concrete to make contact with, makes them hyper and all the more charged. Unfortunately with such dogs they can’t be calmed in the short term, the problem has to be approached with a long term process so that after they get the chance to experience full drive, this feeling of flow is what they can hold onto when physical memory and actual reality don’t match. In other words, they are able to sense that the discrepancy is what it is, potential energy that gives their Drive an opening and this is what enables them to defer immediate gratification and patiently wait for the opportunity that is predicted by the discrepancy. So when they see something going away, they can feel its return just as if it’s orbiting them on a circle. Their deepest Drive rhythm gives them this patience which is why we see calmness in dogs as a function of nervous thresholds, rather than cognition. The greater their capacity to bite, hold and carry the prey object, the easier it is for them to be calm when in a state of denial.
    With the dog that’s barking in hyper mode, it’s good to give them the opportunity to learn that they are wasting energy by acting so inefficiently, in other words, don’t do anything to help them. The heart, which is an efficiency expert, can only communicate to the brain through the gut. So if the brain is going to generate output that’s inefficient, the gut which is an accountant, can then report to the brain that for all that outlay, there’s nothing real to process and so maybe it should consider focusing on that “void” rather than reflexively generating output.

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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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