Monday, January 5, 2015

The 5 Core Exercises

The 5 Core Exercises of Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan


(1) All behavior is a function of emotion and all emotion is a function of attraction. (2) When emotion can’t flow to completion, stress is acquired. (3) Stress, which may be defined as the physical memory of emotion that failed to run to “ground,” must be triggered by something just as intense as the thing that caused it to form in the first place. (4) The acquisition and build up of stress as a physical memory of emotional experience engenders a more complex form of attraction, coupled with resistance, in which the dog becomes highly attracted to the “negative” in order to convert stress back into flow and resolve it. (5) Stress becomes resolved only if the dog and his trainer or owner can interact together in a way that produces an emotional wave pattern akin to running at full speed, which itself is a muscular wave pattern moving through the body.

By doing the five core exercises—speaking on command, pushing for food, the collecting exercise, deep tissue massage (particularly of the shoulders, haunches and topline) to supple the dog, along with tug and fetch—you can activate and strengthen that wave function so that the dog feels the freedom of movement even when things aren’t moving, and even when his stress has been triggered by an agency of intensity that previously elicited survival instincts.

The most practical benefit of teaching heel, sit, down, stay, and the recall through this emotional wave pattern, is that lessons thus derived can be performed under duress, because the wave pattern emanates from the dog’s core, unlike other lessons which are acquired through instinct or fine motor manipulation, such as clicker training and dominance techniques.

My method with each and every dog, no matter what the context or past history, is to trigger the dog’s physical memories of unresolved emotion and then work to smooth them into a pure wave function through the core exercises. When the wave is triggered, and the dog is not allowed to fall back on old coping strategies, giving them free range to exert themselves and dominate the dog’s spectrum of responses, he will volunteer where he wants to be on the wave and how he’s able to participate. As a result, he begins to feel in control of what is happening around him because this wave pattern is the very basis of his construct of reality. And so he feels an immediate payoff because the triggering agency (the owner or trainer) is responding in terms of the wave pattern.

Some dogs might lie down, some might bark, some will jump up or grab your arm with their jaws. My next move is always to springboard off whatever opening is being offered by the dog in order to amplify the wave that he’s experiencing, and which we can clearly see building up within his body, and coursing through his external physical movements. This is why the core exercises—bark, push, collect, supple, and bite-and-carry—are central in NDT methodology because each enhances a specific dynamic within the overall wave template. A wave is how two beings integrate, and integration is the only way unresolved emotion can be fully released.

That’s Natural Dog Training in a nutshell. And this can be tested by anyone willing to look at the behavior of dogs (or any animal) with an open mind while simultaneously resisting the urge to inject thoughts into what they’re observing.


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  2. I have been working with a dog that has history I am not sure of because I got her at two. I knew she had been chained. I have finally gotten her to play with toys. At the beginning, I just got attacked. I feel she has the potential. I can see the dog she can be for some reason. A year later, I can play with her without her guarding her toy or attacking me. She is food motivated. Trying to figure how to add this in to what I have been doing. I never thought of ptsd.

  3. Sounds like you're doing a wonderful job with her.

    You should definitely try some of the 5 Core Exercises too.