Quantum Canine ‘Eye Contact’ Episode Part III

Kevin Behan and Trisha Selbach continue to discuss “Eye Contact” and the “Negative as access to the Positive”. Also learn more about how dogs “feel what we feel” and why Kevin advises his clients to “Be the Moose”.

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Published August 9, 2009 by Kevin Behan
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12 responses to “Quantum Canine ‘Eye Contact’ Episode Part III”

  1. Amanda says:

    So what’s going on when you have a ball “obsessed” dog? My dog is about three years old. We go to the park every morning. He used to wrestle and chase other dogs when we went to the park. He also would steal their toys constantly.
    When I started NDT a little over a year ago, I started playing lots of fetch with him. Now, if I don’t pull out the ball, he jumps on me until I do. If another dog is really persistent, he might play a little bit with that dog, but he always ends up pawing at me for the ball. He seems quite anxious about it. What’s going on here?

  2. kbehan says:

    Basically you are “mousing” with your dog when he needs The Moose. Your dog has a basic insecurity which had been channeled into the ball which is why he stole the ball from other dogs. You may have mistakenly played with your dog indoors as a puppy and have gotten him overly stimulated with such play and by always making him the center of your attention, thus when he steals another dogs’ ball he becomes the center of everyone’s attention. While you have now successfully channeled this energy of insecurity into you, the problem is the ball; it remains a trigger of insecurity. The problem with the ball as a mouse is that the dog’s battery never gets drained, the dog never hits the stop signal and so playing ball with your dog gets him more hyped up emotionally even if he gets physically tuckered. Exercise cannot satisfy the battery, only the “Moose” which behaviorally means overcoming an intense challenge in the form of resistance and which then summons up the deepest, latent energy that otherwise tunes the dog to critical situations. The goal is to cultivate in your dog a desire to tug and then push-of-war as a more powerful form of contact so that his “moose energy” can find satisfaction and he gets to the stop signal. With you as access to the moose, you have defined a group purpose and being aligned with this feels far better than being the center of attention.

  3. Amanda says:

    I definitely see how “I channeled his energy of insecurity” into me. A little background: I adopted Henry from a shelter when he was anywhere between 7 months and a 1 1/2 years old. He’s a 34 pound, neutered, wire-haired terrier mix. I contacted LCK a year ago because Henry’s energy was pretty spastic. He was rambunctious inside and totally destructive. Outside, he was very playful with other dogs, but was humping them and barking at them if they didn’t play, stealing toys and not dropping them, and jumping on up people to dig in their pockets for treats. His recall was mediocre at best.

    So, I had several sessions with Lee and started playing tug and fetch with Henry outside every day. I also push fed every-single meal for about 5 weeks. It was like a miracle. All of his bad behaviors just seemed to disappear. His recall was amazing. He stopped jumping on people. His energy and drive seemed to be completely channeled into me. I became the center of his emotional universe. People at the park started asking me what in the world I had done. But at the same time, he stopped playing with other dogs. Now, he never initiates play anymore. I thought this might just be him growing out of adolescence, but he still enjoys playing sometimes if meet another dog during our afternoon walks when and isn’t “expecting” to play ball as part of our routine. He’s just completely obsessed with the ball in the morning.

    Push-of-war will be easy to implement since he loves tug and pushing already. Is there anything I should avoid doing, though? Should I stop bringing the ball to the park every day? And how should I react if he starts pawing at me for the ball?

    I guess my goal is to be able to still play fetch, but for him to feel satisfied and secure when the ball is put away.

  4. kbehan says:

    The ball is like crack cocaine to Henry and this imprint is probably due to first owner. I’m sure it’s very deep, and now your attention to him is feeding it. (BTW where does Henry sleep?) So try the following. Bring Henry to the park without the ball and totally ignore him when other dogs are around. See if by “shunning” him he’ll initiate play with other dogs on his own. (as opposed to encouraging him to play with the other dogs.) However if he starts digging into your pockets and is channeling his insecurity into you and he doesn’t give up even if you ignore him for five or ten minutes without any eye contact or talking, then actively shush him away by crowding into him with little shuffle steps, jostling into him and bumping his feet with your feet in order to make him feel physically unsettled, you must upset his sense of balance. Don’t say anything. There’s a sweet spot whereby if you’re not too hard, but hard enough, he’ll be energized and this energy will need an outlet. If a dog is handy, you should start to see him flicking his attention their way. He may very well initiate play with this dog. I’ve induced this response in dogs that are fixated on their owners and even aggressive to other dogs (after a proper foundation) many hundreds of times.
    From now on, don’t play with the ball with him so that he can have his doggy time in the park if that’s important to you (it may not be that important to Henry) and then find a new spot other than the park to do tug/push-of-war so that he softens to the park as his heroin supply zone. If he takes to stealing other dogs’ toys, you will then incorporate repeat the training regime Lee taught you (this time with the push toy) in order to get back the recall and control you need if you see some lessening. I suggest you get back into a training program with Lee so he can be surrogate outlet to take weight off of you as “attention-as-crack dealer.” Only in dog training do we think learning and rehabbing is a quick fix kind of thing. Equestrians go round and round the ring day after day, year after year.

  5. Amanda says:

    Thanks for your responses! We’ll start working on this tomorrow morning. Another thing is that he only paws at me when I am just standing around, he doesn’t do this if I am moving. This is something the owner of his best friend, Charlie, and I realized some time ago. When we just stand around, our dogs do nothing. Charlie just sniffs around and Henry jumps on me for the ball. We noticed that every time we started making our way out of the park, they started playing together. They played when we moved. So we started walking around the perimeter of the park and wouldn’t you know, Henry and Charlie got into these great games of chase.
    We stopped our walks, though, because Charlie kept finding dead animals to roll in and his owner was getting tired of it. They also moved to L.A. for the summer. I’m hoping to resume our walks when they move back in Sept. I just thought it was an interesting observation.

    I’ll be giving Lee a call soon, it’s probably time to start working on some more stuff.

    Henry sleeps all over the place–his crate, the bathroom, my bed, and the living room. Sometimes if he is hogging the bed I tell him to get in his crate and he has no problem with it.

  6. kbehan says:

    Oops, sleeping on bed big NDT no-no, sorry. I’ll make this the topic of my next article. Meanwhile just put it in the hopper for your consideration.

  7. Amanda says:

    Looking forward to the article. “No sleeping in the bed” was definitely one of Lee’s rules that I eventually let slide. He only sleeps there once in a while so I didn’t do much about it, but no more bed for Henry from now on!

  8. AZdogerman says:

    Could the shuffle steps be used to energize a dog that is fixated on something else (like avoidance behaviors: sniffing, scratching etc). Like not too much but just enough to create a response that handler can then direct into pushing/tug? I was doing some pushing yesterday, dog would push for food really well then sniff the ground for “tidbits” even though none had fallen. So I experimented with stroking her hindquarters in quick and light ways when she was sniffing and she would get prey on me but in playful way then I would quickly flip to prey and she would launch for push. I wasn’t exactly shuffling but I was in her bubble. Thx!

  9. Christine says:

    Hey Kevin, is it possible for you to post the entire collection of Quantum Canine Episodes here or perhaps on your YouTube Channel? I can’t access episodes 13-18 on the community station, or at least not all of them and I like to plug into them and listen while I’m at work. It would be helpful if they could be posted in their entirety and not split into 2 or 3 segments, if possible. Or better yet, burn them to a DVD and offer them for sale…‼

  10. kbehan says:

    Yes, we’ll try to get that together, thanks.

  11. […] Quantum Canine ‘Eye Contact’ Episode Part III Kevin Behan and Trisha Selbach keep to talk about”Eye Contact”… […]

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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.
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