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”.
The discussion continues: click here to access Part III of this episode.
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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin BehanIn 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.|
Kevin, I have a few questions–
This may be obvious so I apologize, but what does the eye contact exercise accomplish in terms of how your dog relates to you? Or in other words, how does the exercise affect how the dog feels when owner & dog make eye contact? Is it that eye contact starts to move emotion in the dog?
Also, you mention that “vibrating” is not a good feeling– relating back to the dominance hierarchy clip with the black lab and shepherd– when the black lab was vibrating intensely, was this a negative feeling for him? Was the vibration caused by eye contact from the shepherd?
Just trying to get my head around how it all relates and applies in different situations.
The eye contact training has some effectiveness in higher levels, but other than perhaps high-level competition it’s quite overrated. When a dog is properly channeled, the eye contact thing takes care of itself because in an animal’s mind the “negative” is always given credit for any positive. But I’m making a point of this exercise because it demonstrates that nature is not random and animals don’t figure it out mentally or according to schedules of reinforcement. Nature is composed of “negatives” (predatory aspect, primarily the eyes) and positives (preyful aspects, secretions and smooth movements of the body) and in the animal mind, the negative grants access to the positive. This determines all learning. It’s important to me to claim authorship of this exercise because it is being used by trainers who have copied it to support models it actually disproves. It disproves the central tenet of learning theory: that animals learn the values of things by finding reinforcements to their actions, and the dominance theory, i.e. that a pack leader organizes social behavior. This exercise reveals that the canine mind is configured to learn in a particular way, it is a template that translates change into electromagnetic values that then become the basis of social behavior. The alpha’s behavior doesn’t organize social structure, the alpha’s behavior is organized by this template.
The lab is “vibrating” because she is internalizing more energy than she is able to express externally through action, hence the vibration. There’s a back log of “torque.” For example, imagine revving a car’s engine in first gear without it being able to shift into higher gears, the car will vibrate whereas if it shifted into higher gear, that energy would be grounded into smooth acceleration. So friendliness, or acting prey-like is not pleasurable, although it is a means of being safe. Think of the first ten minutes of a cocktail party, that’s friendliness i.e. vibration. And yes the eyes of the shepherd and its coiled, tightness (both of these reflect and resist the movement of energy) are preventing the lab from moving its energy so it’s just as if the lab’s engine is revving at high rpm, (she is extremely attracted to the shepherd) but the way isn’t safe yet because the shepherd’s eyes haven’t softened and granted the lab access to the shepherd’s body. Because the lab’s energy is not yet grounded into the shepherd’s body, and given her temperament, she rolls over on her back onto the GROUND and this is a feeling of being “grounded” literally. This then exposes her genitalia to the shepherd, she smells it, becomes grounded into the lab, and then the relationship evolves by virtue of each being grounded into the other. Then, they both can begin to move a lot of energy and they become bonded. It’s unbelievably simple, and infinitely intricate at the same time.
Aha! Light dawns in the deep, dark tunnel (at least, that is, a flickering candle). Thank you to Ben for the questions leading to answers….this helps to explain Bodie and Duncan’s interactions. If I understand this correctly, Duncan is attracted to Bodie but because Bodie is resisting Duncan’s energy, Duncan is, in effect, in overdrive. Sometimes Bodie does “join in” by running around in prey-like fashion (he does the butt-tucking thing sometimes). He zooms out into the yard, runs around and zooms back into the garage and repeats. Sometimes he will stand at the entrance/exit (which is about 2 feet up from the yard) and wait a bit before he zooms out again. Meanwhile, Duncan is on the ground waiting with great anticipation for Bodie to zoom out again. There are times when it gets a little intense and at one point, Bodie slammed into the fence.
The other thing I have noticed about Duncan is that he will roll-over onto the ground in a head-first, butt-last kind of fashion. This is usually during interactions with Diva but he does it with me as well and also during a greeting with a CGC evaluator (which he hasn’t passed yet). Is this Duncan’s method for “grounding” his excess energy?
PLAY !!!!! no one knows why dogs play the way they do and why they have many different and individual play behaviours … and ! …why they expend SO MUCH Energy on play, especially since it has been shown that they are able to perform adult survival behaviours without playing (much) as puppies….
anyway, no one is wasting research money on this right now, Kevin what is your theory on why dogs play so much and enjoy it so much ?
I’ll write a longer post on why dogs play, and also note that biology also doesn’t have a coherent explanation for the evolution of personality or sexuality as well as play, whereas an energy theory offers a whole model that can smoothly embrace all of these phenomena.
The nutshell version is that dogs play not for practice, but to charge up their emotional batteries through emotional induction via physical synchronization. (see my article on why dogs love car rides.) What’s really happening in play is that dogs are differentiating into the two primal Temperament traits, prey and predator. By generating prey/predator traits, their emotional juices begin to flow because a direction for energy transfer has been established, from a polarity of high concentration (predator) to one of lower (prey). With this pattern made physically manifest, they are next able to create a wave-function through a synchronization of movements, and if the wave form can get strong enough, it allows them to emotionally project their physical center-of-gravities into each other so that when they move, old and deep stress memories are converted into pleasure opiates through the psycho-somatic network (the existence of which is postulated by Dr. Candice Pert) and of course because of Pavlovian conditioning that happened during the imprint first phase of life. They perceive this emotional induction as “new energy” which they associate with the other dog(s). (It’s akin to only being able to feel “the harmony” in the presence of another singer with whom one has achieved harmony, as opposed to a singer who falters and destroys the wave form.) And what this then means is that two, three or more emotional batteries thereby become “fused” so that instead of a 200v problem, there is a 400, 600, or 800 emotional volt problem to solve. Therefore, as a group that is of one mind, they set out to find objects of resistance that can activate this higher voltage by offering 400, 600, or 800 volts of resistance and so that their combined emotional batteries can then be returned to neutral. Canines have a bipolar two-brain makeup so that they can only feel whole via synchronized action (harmony), and this means that the single principle of emotional conductivity is the reason dogs play (or any animal for that matter) and once entrained they are then propelled out into the world to do nature’s work of evolution, i.e. making new harmonies that generate new energy.
cool ! the way you explain play is the way these meditation guys explain meditation, i guess. or tai chi, etc..darvish dancing, choreographed stuff to create waves… maybe like japanese swordsmanship, (I practice it sometimes..)
or the 12 dog sled when all the gaits match…
you should put this post into a new discussion/mini article so that it does not get lost in this discussion and no one will ever read it…