It has been amazing having discussions with Kevin about different topics ranging from martial arts, to family, to birds and fish, to society and social structures, philosophy and religion, to cars, and everything else under the sun. It never ceases to amaze me how it all relates back to dog training. We were talking about repeating the model and be to able to replicate the terms and all that, and Kevin stated that a person come to know the model simply by the body absorbing it. It will all come together as I continue to practice and implement the model beyond this apprenticeship. That really puts things at ease for me.
So, let’s talk about flow, which is how nature is designed, and how it fits into NDT. Understanding what flow is can be difficult to describe but simple when you see it in action. It reminds me of Kevin’s reference to the Chinese proverb, “nature is intricately simple, yet simply intricate.” In order for flow to happen hunger must override balance. When this happens balance is contained as tuning mechanism. In my own attempt at configuring things, hunger (the gut/the little brain/the positive) is “in charge” but it has to overcome balance (the inner ear/the big brain in the head/the negative) in order to attain a steady-state of focused attention toward an object of attraction. This can then evolve into complex expressions of behavior.
Flow can become inhibited with too much pressure from the negative (the predatory aspect) causing electrostatic buildup. Repeat after me, “electrostatic, bad, electromagnetic, good.” So, what happens is hunger energy from the gut is trying to make contact with the object of attraction and the balance circuitry (the big brain in the head) is saying, “whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up here this is too much to handle.” The energy may continue to try and move forward like a pulsation, and this is what we call load/overload – its just becomes too much and the dog, from the front end will try to push the energy back. An adaptation to that phrasing might be the dog will load/overload into mouthing and barking, which is a good start toward steady-state, but it can’t quite commit to a sustained bite on the toy because the pressure of the negative is too much – the balance circuitry is not letting the hunger circuitry to flow through. Its all about getting the Brain to “trust the gut.”
This load/overload goes back to a fear of falling. Making contact with an object that has too much resistance feels like falling. Falling is a matter of your physical center of gravity shooting right up from your gut through head and straight to ground. The fear of that comes from the physical memory of resistance that didn’t get solved. I think I have that worded correctly.
Bella is a the President and CEO of the World Headquarters for the Squirrel Detection and Destruction Agency (WHSDDA). I’m sure many of you out there have dogs who have yearly memberships to this noble organization ;). When I correct her for chasing or barking at squirrels, its like telling her that’s the prey and that’s what I want. Objects of attraction are objectified by the positive energy we assign to them. Its answering that question every dog asks it’s owner, “what do you want” and “what do I do with my energy.” Simply put, we determine what prey is. “Correcting” for chasing and barking at squirrels is like telling the dog that squirrels are prey and you want the dog to bark and chase them. That seems counter-intuitive to what we are taught in biology and behaviorism 101 but remember, nature is a mirror and our dogs will and do mirror us. This is a prime example of the negative gives access to the positive = I am the negative, the resistance, and the squirrel is the positive, the prey that solves the emotion/hunger problem. I’m already seeing the remedy of this with Bella since working her the last week. My goal, as should yours be if your dog adores squirrels more than you, is for Bella to feel more magnetized to me so that focusing on me feels better than eating a squirrel, or at the very least the essence of eating a squirrel IS down-stay and centered around me and whatever I determine is prey. The moderator to this process is box training. Through resistance, such as a high collar technique, the dog feels as if it made itself uncomfortable and this eventually turns into the dog choosing to self-regulate/settle into a down-stay and then I zing and get credit for her choice to collect herself. When a squirrel comes by and Bella begins to unsettle herself, I reintroduce the resistance until she resettles and I zing again. This is all a process of new information entering the system and I am using the system to my advantage so that Bella and I can create/elaborate into a complex pattern of flow to the extent I become more and more attractive than squirrels. As always, this leads to a broader scope of obedience: heeling.
And speaking of heeling, it got me thinking about it in nature. Check out these photos:
And then compare them the these photos:
The only difference between these two sets of photos showing “heel”: domestication by way of evolution. Amazingly, as simple as that. The dog has the same primordial makeup of heel as the wolf, yet through design the dog doesn’t kill us (lol)! If you look past the idea of a hunt and kill and see deeper into what’s going on in both sets of pictures you find that animal magnetism is alive and well.