Day 14: Kibbles ‘n Bits, Oh My!

Part 1

I feel inclined to reiterate from the previous blog entry that 1) knowing the terminology of NDT is very important and 2) to become fluent in it as a trainer is crucial when applying the training exercises. It’s easy to put your own terms in there but you have to be careful what you say and how you are relating it to the training – (i.e. you don’t want to start sounding like a behaviorist!). Of course, as most people acknowledge, Natural Dog Training theory can be complex and confusing , but it should be this way– and we learned that this is a good thing. At this point in time, I believe you can become efficient in simplifying the model only AFTER you begin to master the complexities of it (e.g. the terminology, application to training, understanding the physics of NDT, differentiating NDT from other training theories, etc.). It is hard to simplify NDT when one doesn’t have the foundation of the entire model in the “battery.” This is not to say you can’t do the exercises alone but it is nice to understand how and why things unfold when you see NDT at work. I could be wrong here but that’s how I feel about it in the moment – Correct me if I am wrong Sang, Kevin.

Part 2

I want to make mention of a phenomenon we witnessed with Trace. You might tell that both dogs have come a long way these past two weeks and still have a ways to go. Trace, my husky who has a high prey threshold, tunes me out, and runs away from me has begun to channel his energy back to me as evidenced by his heeling on a loose leash, increasing his bite on the toy, and making contact to jump up. He’s still a bit reactive in his load/overload state but we are seeing bits and bits of active flow. We are creating a circuit with him to where’s he’s overcoming the resistance of the human and turning it into a flow pattern. One of the amazing things has been watching him take kibble! As many of you know I feed the dogs a raw diet and at the beginning of this experience they wouldn’t eat the kibble. What Kevin states is that it is not about the type of food itself, rather its about overcoming the resistance that is more important to the dog. Kevin also postulates that Trace might also be remembering the physical memory of taking kibble when he was younger. Nonetheless, it goes to show that the type of food itself does not determine its value; it’s the drive to overcome resistance that gives value to the food. People say that when a dog doesn’t take food “he’s just not hungry,” when in reality it is whether or not the dog can overcome a degree of resistance, especially when it is the ultimate predator – the human.

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