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QUOTE(Pearse @ Jul 28 2010, 02:39 PM) *

 

I've seen it also in one of my wife's dogs who, if I throw her ball on the dining room table, will walk around the table and weigh her options; (stand on a chair, pull on the table cloth, stand on her hind legs, poke her nose between the table and the wall) before deciding which option is most likely to meet with success. This is a very deliberate process and she is clearly thinking about the possible outcomes and is almost always successful.

How is that different it terms of process? In each interpretation the dog is still weighing factors - that is, "thinking it over." In one case it's, "How best to get that ball down?" In the other it's "How best to stay out of trouble while getting that ball down?" Cognition is defined as: the process of obtaining knowledge through thought, experience and the senses. Thought is the past tense of think, which among other things, is defined as to use the mind to form connected ideas about someone or something.

We know that dogs can think. eg.: Dog wishes to escape from fence. Dog looks carefully at a group of objects placed before the fence, and deliberately approaches the lowest, deliberately moves on to the next highest, until he clears the fence, and then takes a similar descending route to get down. The dog clearly thought about what he would do before attempting to do it.

A non-thinking route would be to run the perimeter of the fence randomly try to force, dig or climb it's way out, without attempting to work it out in advance.

So to my way of thinking a dog can think. And if the next time the dog finds himself chucked into the same yard, he gleefully bounds over the set of obstacles to effect his escape again, then we can safely say he has gained the knowledge (of how to escape the yard) through thought, experience and his senses.

Since this scenario can happen, has happened, and was seen by me to happen, I draw the conclusion that the dog is capable of cognition.

 

Reason is defined as: (verb) think, understand and form judgments logically. Logic is defined as: the science of reasoning. If you follow/ agree with the above analysis, then you can see that the dog, in fact, reasoned his way out of the fence. Ergo, a dog can reason. He may not be able to do higher math, (although it would seem that he does have a start on geometry) :rolleyes: or plot world domination, but he can think about things appropriate to his species.

 

 

I don't think I am very good at explaining all this. I didn't intend that the dog was thinking anything at all. The table is a very charged spit for the dog. It is the human's eating place. The dog doesn't eat there, so he is feeling options out in an organic way. Very similar to what rootbeer suggests.

 

If dogs can reason then why don't they do it all the time?

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I don't think I am very good at explaining all this. I didn't intend that the dog was thinking anything at all. The table is a very charged spit for the dog. It is the human's eating place. The dog doesn't eat there, so he is feeling options out in an organic way. Very similar to what rootbeer suggests.

 

If dogs can reason then why don't they do it all the time?

 

My guess would be - for the same reason that humans don't do it all the time. Some are less intelligent, some are constitutionally more emotional, some don't need to as much because of the kind of life they lead. And besides, what makes you think they don't?

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Y'all remember the movie, "It's a wonderful life"? Remember when the pharmacist was drunk and wracked with pain over his son being killed in the war? And he put poison in the medicine bottle for a young girl. And young George realized what it was and refused to leave to deliver it, even after getting smacked hard enough for his ear to bleed and lose his hearing. But young George stood his ground until he made the pharmacist realized the mistake. THAT was willful disobedience. I think what is hanging some folks up is that they keep wanting to equate "willful disobedience" for malicious behaviour. Willful means on purpose. Disobedience means not doing what you are asked. So, regardless of the REASONS, if a dog KNOWS what you want, KNOWS what is expected, and does not do it, that is willful disobedience. It's not a plot against you, it's not because the dog hates you, it's not because you called it a good for nothing sheep dog,,,,(sorry Skip!)it's simply because at that moment, for whatever reason, the dog DECIDED not to do as asked.

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Y'all remember the movie, "It's a wonderful life"? Remember when the pharmacist was drunk and wracked with pain over his son being killed in the war? And he put poison in the medicine bottle for a young girl. And young George realized what it was and refused to leave to deliver it, even after getting smacked hard enough for his ear to bleed and lose his hearing. But young George stood his ground until he made the pharmacist realized the mistake. THAT was willful disobedience. I think what is hanging some folks up is that they keep wanting to equate "willful disobedience" for malicious behaviour. Willful means on purpose. Disobedience means not doing what you are asked. So, regardless of the REASONS, if a dog KNOWS what you want, KNOWS what is expected, and does not do it, that is willful disobedience. It's not a plot against you, it's not because the dog hates you, it's not because you called it a good for nothing sheep dog,,,,(sorry Skip!)it's simply because at that moment, for whatever reason, the dog DECIDED not to do as asked.

 

YES!

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QUOTE(flyer @ Jul 28 2010, 04:29 PM) *

 

If dogs can reason then why don't they do it all the time?

 

Another reason "they" don't do it all the time is that some breeds have been intentionally selected for intelligence and the ability to think independently. Border Collies were developed to follow the commands of a shepherd, and the ideal sheepdog is bred to also make independent choices/ decisions when they are working at distance from the shepherd, or out of his sight. They must make decisions based on their understanding of what their job entails moment-to-moment. Thus you get refusals. The dog makes a choice to ignore direction in order to carry out his work as he understands it. The dog could be seen as willfully disobedient in the context of the immediate direction (command) given by the handler, but he can also be seen as obedient to the greater context of getting the job done as he understands it. This, to me indicates a high order of intelligence - the kind of intelligence that is necessary for, and shaped by the breeding choices made to preserve superior working ability.

 

Of course, it also possible that "Rex" may "blow you off" when you tell him not to eat the dead gopher he finds on a leisurely evening stroll. He likes ripe gopher so he's going to run the risk of a bawling out in order to enjoy the delectable morsel before him. However, from what I understand from reading these Boards, if Rex appears to "blow you off" in a stock working context, he is more likely being obedient to his understanding of what is expected of him in the larger context of the job he's doing. (As opposed to a single "lie down" or a "way to me" command that he knows will spell disaster for getting that bunch of nervous wethers through that gate.)

 

This is similar to the rigorous training/ work of a blind leader-dog. He must be biddable, yes, but he must also understand his work well enough to disobey a command which will result in the person he is leading from walking into an awning. The awning will not be an obstacle to the dog's progress, but he must understand the concept of the object or situation that will endanger his human and chose to disobey a command that will endanger the human. These dogs must think. They have to be able to constantly assess possible hazardous situations, decide which ones are truly dangerous, and choose to disobey an order to get his charge in harm's way. This is a high degree of intelligence. This is true reasoning. It is the reason why such a high percentage of dogs wash out of leader dog training programs. Only exceptional dogs can use their minds this way, day after day and not make mistakes.

 

I suspect it is the same reason that the Barbie Collie can be taken to the trial grounds, work diligently and obediently - following scrupulously every spoken or whistled command and still fail to move his sheep well. It takes a very special, carefully bred dog to have the intelligence, bid-ability, natural stock-sense and the special wisdom of which to apply at each instant. This is what makes the Border Collie so special - so precious. These qualities are rare, and hard-won. They have taken centuries to shape, and these qualities which make them so superior are arrayed and balanced on a razor's edge. Too much or too little of intelligence, bid-ability, natural stock-sense, or that elusive wisdom of which to apply, and the superior quality goes away. What remains is merely a clever dog.

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QUOTE(flyer @ Jul 28 2010, 04:29 PM) *

 

If dogs can reason then why don't they do it all the time?

 

Another reason "they" don't do it all the time is that some breeds have been intentionally selected for intelligence and the ability to think independently. Border Collies were developed to follow the commands of a shepherd, and the ideal sheepdog is bred to also make independent choices/ decisions when they are working at distance from the shepherd, or out of his sight. They must make decisions based on their understanding of what their job entails moment-to-moment. Thus you get refusals. The dog makes a choice to ignore direction in order to carry out his work as he understands it. The dog could be seen as willfully disobedient in the context of the immediate direction (command) given by the handler, but he can also be seen as obedient to the greater context of getting the job done as he understands it. This, to me indicates a high order of intelligence - the kind of intelligence that is necessary for, and shaped by the breeding choices made to preserve superior working ability.

 

<SNIP>

 

I suspect it is the same reason that the Barbie Collie can be taken to the trial grounds, work diligently and obediently - following scrupulously every spoken or whistled command and still fail to move his sheep well. It takes a very special, carefully bred dog to have the intelligence, bid-ability, natural stock-sense and the special wisdom of which to apply at each instant. This is what makes the Border Collie so special - so precious. These qualities are rare, and hard-won. They have taken centuries to shape, and these qualities which make them so superior are arrayed and balanced on a razor's edge. Too much or too little of intelligence, bid-ability, natural stock-sense, or that elusive wisdom of which to apply, and the superior quality goes away. What remains is merely a clever dog.

 

I don't know of course who is right, you or I and I am certainly very much in a learning place with all of this, but it was actually taking Bea to sheep and seeing her "turn on" that got me looking more deeply into working on this other level with a dog. What Bea did in that field made me sit up and take notice. I don't see her innate ability to work stock as being a reasoning thinking sort of thing at all. In fact it felt way more like a feeling instinctual intelligence. I have worked with horses for a while now and they work from an energy place too and work off feel and pressure.

 

When I taught Bea to sit when she was a little pup when she hesitated I simply leaned over her very, very slightly, some might not even see me lean and she would instantly sit. My instructor is working with Bea in the field with absolutely no words. It was like watching a ballet this week when moments of flow would happen between the two of them and the sheep.

 

I see Bea feeling of the sheep and reading them inside her core not her brain. I don't think she is having conscious thoughts about if a sheep drops that shoulder it is going to run out. Her instinct and talent that she was bred to have are being stimulated and she is working from that place.

 

Now that I am working a trained dog I find that I am most able when I leave my brain at the gate and get into that feel place myself. Feeling the dog and the sheep. Since I am learning I have to use my brain, i.e. do I say go by or away , and that is often when I lose either the dog or the sheep.

 

Good thread!!

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I don't know if this would be the right kind of example, but here goes. This actually happens with most of my working dogs eventually (thanks to Hooman Error Factor and the high integrity of my dogs) but I'll describe it from a single example.

 

This generally happens when we've recently been making the transition from fetching/wearing to driving, so from my point of view, there's a been whole lot of flip-flopping going on. (I can only imagine what it's like for the dog.)

 

The dog is a good listener, generally obedient, decent to its stock, takes flanks promptly and squarely, and clearly understands verbal commands (in that it will consistently take the correct flank with its back to me, including off-balance requests).

 

Say we're doing a straightforward fetch, something simple and basic that the dog understands very well. And there's a fairly strong draw to one side, and I'm asking the dog up (but not "in") to cover. And I'm asking, and I'm asking, and now I'm telling. And now I'M TELLING. And the dog (generally responsive and always honest) is giving me these feeble little half-hearted pokey flanks, interspersed with a certain look. (I've learned to watch out for The Look.) And maybe we're losing the sheep off-line in that direction despite my insistence, though we haven't completely lost control.

 

What the dog is telling me is that I'm busy hollering the wrong flank command.

 

Oops.

 

You catch yourself (faster once you've become acquainted with The Look), you grin feebly, you give the right command; and the dog suddenly moves with strength and confidence exactly where you were NOT correctly asking it to be a moment before. (And when it's over, if you're me, you grin and apologize to your dog for being so thick.)

 

What the dog is doing is superficially disobedient. It's not taking the wrong flank I'm hollering. Nor is it covering quite properly, though it clearly understands what I really intend, since it's maintaining some control of its sheep and the fetch is continuing, however diagonally. I do believe it's a choice made by the dog, to send a message to me that crossed signals are in progress.

 

I wonder how often they think, "If humans can reason, then why don't they do it all the time?"

 

Liz S in Yadda(3)

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I don't know if this would be the right kind of example, but here goes. This actually happens with most of my working dogs eventually (thanks to Hooman Error Factor and the high integrity of my dogs) but I'll describe it from a single example.

 

This generally happens when we've recently been making the transition from fetching/wearing to driving, so from my point of view, there's a been whole lot of flip-flopping going on. (I can only imagine what it's like for the dog.)

 

The dog is a good listener, generally obedient, decent to its stock, takes flanks promptly and squarely, and clearly understands verbal commands (in that it will consistently take the correct flank with its back to me, including off-balance requests).

 

Say we're doing a straightforward fetch, something simple and basic that the dog understands very well. And there's a fairly strong draw to one side, and I'm asking the dog up (but not "in") to cover. And I'm asking, and I'm asking, and now I'm telling. And now I'M TELLING. And the dog (generally responsive and always honest) is giving me these feeble little half-hearted pokey flanks, interspersed with a certain look. (I've learned to watch out for The Look.) And maybe we're losing the sheep off-line in that direction despite my insistence, though we haven't completely lost control.

 

What the dog is telling me is that I'm busy hollering the wrong flank command.

 

Oops.

 

You catch yourself (faster once you've become acquainted with The Look), you grin feebly, you give the right command; and the dog suddenly moves with strength and confidence exactly where you were NOT correctly asking it to be a moment before. (And when it's over, if you're me, you grin and apologize to your dog for being so thick.)

 

What the dog is doing is superficially disobedient. It's not taking the wrong flank I'm hollering. Nor is it covering quite properly, though it clearly understands what I really intend, since it's maintaining some control of its sheep and the fetch is continuing, however diagonally. I do believe it's a choice made by the dog, to send a message to me that crossed signals are in progress.

 

I wonder how often they think, "If humans can reason, then why don't they do it all the time?"

 

Liz S in Yadda(3)

 

I'm not a stock dog person, but this sounds like the deal to me. Pros?

 

It would seem to me to be a perfect example of a dog being disobedient to a specific command - or at least resistant to taking the command - while being obedient to what he knows is necessary to the work at hand. He is clearly thinking - comparing what you are asking for to what he knows is needed to get 'er done.

 

I wonder how often they think, "If humans can reason, then why don't they do it all the time?"

 

:rolleyes::D:D

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I have one open dog who will give me "the look" if I give her a wrong flank or a flank that might create a problem, even if it seems to be the right flank given the position of the stock, at a trial. I don't give wrong flanks often, but I do sometimes ask for flanks she doesn't think she should take, and she sure lets me know if I do. Although sometimes she goes ahead and takes the flank anyway, almost as if to say, "Okay, if you want to be an idiot, have at it!" So I have learned that if she doesn't comply instantly to a flank command maybe *I* better reassess the situation and make sure that she's not reading something I'm not (in the trialing world, it's called "the dog saving the handler's a$$)....

 

J.

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I don't know if this would be the right kind of example, but here goes. This actually happens with most of my working dogs eventually (thanks to Hooman Error Factor and the high integrity of my dogs) but I'll describe it from a single example.

 

This generally happens when we've recently been making the transition from fetching/wearing to driving, so from my point of view, there's a been whole lot of flip-flopping going on. (I can only imagine what it's like for the dog.)

 

The dog is a good listener, generally obedient, decent to its stock, takes flanks promptly and squarely, and clearly understands verbal commands (in that it will consistently take the correct flank with its back to me, including off-balance requests).

 

Say we're doing a straightforward fetch, something simple and basic that the dog understands very well. And there's a fairly strong draw to one side, and I'm asking the dog up (but not "in") to cover. And I'm asking, and I'm asking, and now I'm telling. And now I'M TELLING. And the dog (generally responsive and always honest) is giving me these feeble little half-hearted pokey flanks, interspersed with a certain look. (I've learned to watch out for The Look.) And maybe we're losing the sheep off-line in that direction despite my insistence, though we haven't completely lost control.

 

What the dog is telling me is that I'm busy hollering the wrong flank command.

 

Oops.

 

You catch yourself (faster once you've become acquainted with The Look), you grin feebly, you give the right command; and the dog suddenly moves with strength and confidence exactly where you were NOT correctly asking it to be a moment before. (And when it's over, if you're me, you grin and apologize to your dog for being so thick.)

 

What the dog is doing is superficially disobedient. It's not taking the wrong flank I'm hollering. Nor is it covering quite properly, though it clearly understands what I really intend, since it's maintaining some control of its sheep and the fetch is continuing, however diagonally. I do believe it's a choice made by the dog, to send a message to me that crossed signals are in progress.

 

I wonder how often they think, "If humans can reason, then why don't they do it all the time?"

 

Liz S in Yadda(3)

 

This is a really clear example I think of what happens very frequently when a dog is disobeying. The dog is caught between it's energetic alignment with the human and the sheep. It knows what the job is, knows it does the job with it's human partner who wants the same thing and the dog is trying to do that in spite of the human mistake. Nothing "willful" here, IMHO.

 

Liz: "I wonder how often they think, "If humans can reason, then why don't they do it all the time?"

 

I think if they could think they would think this a fair bit :rolleyes:

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I think what is frustrating about the turn this has taken (and about the energy theory in general), is the vagueness of the terminology.

 

Think

 

Feel

 

Energy

 

Emotion

 

What do you mean by these terms? Why is it anthropomorphizing to assume a dog is capable of thought, but not when you assume it is capable of emotion?

 

A dog has all the brain structures thought to produce emotion, amygdala, thalamus, etc. But it also has a large frontal cortex, like us. Why would you assume it does not use this at all? Or what do they use it for?

 

If you define thought as verbal thought, I get you. For humans, "thought" may be more easily separated from emotion because it is verbal. But even without language, there is cognition that is more intellectual (fact-based) than what we tend of when we think of "pure emotion".

 

You say the dog "knows" something, but how can it "know" but not think?

 

You never addressed my comments before, but again I'd wonder where the line between emotion and thought really is. Recently, they've discovered that decision making is a very emotional process in humans, even when we don't realize it. People with damaged brains who do not feel emotions normally also cannot make decisions the same way a healthy brain can. But we'd likely assume making a decsion was a willful, thoughtful process, right?

 

I just find it anthropocentric to assume humans are so different that only we think. And the energy explanation seems like it *could* be used for anything. When I sit down to do math, I am really feeling the innate energy of the numbers, which is why I "know" I can't take the square root of a negative - the energy is very wrong. Not making fun - I'm saying, a valid (while unusual) way to describe it is I feel energy of numbers. So am I not thinking?

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The whole energy thing just makes my head spin. Very New Age-y to me. But then I haven't read the articles closely. Just from Flyer's brief explanations here I am simply not getting it.

 

But then I don't buy any theory that says other animals besides humans don't think.

 

J.

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Ooky:

 

"I just find it anthropocentric to assume humans are so different that only we think. And the energy explanation seems like it *could* be used for anything. When I sit down to do math, I am really feeling the innate energy of the numbers, which is why I "know" I can't take the square root of a negative - the energy is very wrong. Not making fun - I'm saying, a valid (while unusual) way to describe it is I feel energy of numbers. So am I not thinking?"

 

I too would like these terms defined in the context of the Energy Theory. I think I'll get a book and read about it. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me so far, but then, I haven't heard the theory described in detail. Actually I've never heard of it at all. But that's not saying much. I don't watch TV, listen to the radio or read newspapers. I get most of my "dog input" right here, or from books I find. (Many of the latter recommended here too!)

 

But I have seen studies of various animals, problem-solving and how they figure things out - like the thirsty crow that when presented with a deep jar of water, brought the level of the water up to where he could reach it by adding pebbles. Or the one that fashioned a hook from a wire to fish out a little bucket with food in it. See video:

This animal is thinking. Why not dogs?

 

If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, has feathers, and lays eggs that baby ducks come out of - it's a duck!

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I agree with Ooky. We're anthropocentric all the time - and those psychologists who come up with their theories are as trapped in their anthropo-ness as the rest of us.

 

This line about "energy theory" bothers me:

 

"Whenever any two dogs meet and greet, it is possible to see step by step the evolution of sociability (the emergence of a network) unfolding in accord with the laws of nature right before our eyes. And while their sociability is automatic, spontaneous and innate, nonetheless it is not reflexive. It does not arise from instinct and not by “figuring” things out. It evolves. Therefore, it is incorrect to say that dogs are “pack animals,” meaning that dogs are social by instinct. Dogs feel each other’s “energy” and because energy works the same in all living beings, feelings guide them as to how to connect. These properties of energy and its principles of movement are felt by an animal in its heart, not its head." (Linked from Psyhology Today at: http://naturaldogtraining.com/articles/tow...of-seeing-dogs/ )

 

Meh, I say.

 

Replace the dogs with humans in that describe situation, and EXACTLY THE SAME THING HAPPENS. I "feel" whether an approaching stranger is threatening or not, a potential mate or not. I respond accordingly. Not because I can't think - but rather because as a learning mammal, I have spent my whole life watching behavior and its consequences. We call it "intuition:" that prickling up your spine when you feel someone is dangerous to you. It's not really intuition; it's your life experience telling you that behavior X usually precedes behavior Y. It's why young children can be lured into cars with strangers, while middle-aged women cannot.

 

I teach eighth grade far better now, after 24 years, than I did early on. I don't have to think much about how to respond to any given situation. You could watch me and say my behavior was natural or that I was using the energy of my classroom to guide my practices, and both would be true on some level. But neither would eliminate the years and years of making stupid choices, being burned by them, and learning my lessons. I am making conscious (under the radar) decisions every minute of every day, as are all humans, and I suspect as are dogs.

 

We are - no more than dogs - the product of millions of years of evolution. Dogs are as perfect a product of evolution as we are. It's just that our linguistics and thumbs have evolved us away from their big sharp teeth and olfaction. (The science is that neither we nor dogs nor amoeba is the end of the evolutionary line, either - just a recent chapter in a very long installment novel.)

 

Believing that we are the only species to think and reason at any level seems to me to be the ultimate in arrogance. We get away with it because we're the only species that can write this nonsense down. :rolleyes: Psychologists can only process thoughts in a human fashion, which is their giant weakness and tunnel-vision.

 

Mary

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I think what is frustrating about the turn this has taken (and about the energy theory in general), is the vagueness of the terminology.

 

Think

 

Feel

 

Energy

 

Emotion

 

What do you mean by these terms? Why is it anthropomorphizing to assume a dog is capable of thought, but not when you assume it is capable of emotion?

 

A dog has all the brain structures thought to produce emotion, amygdala, thalamus, etc. But it also has a large frontal cortex, like us. Why would you assume it does not use this at all? Or what do they use it for?

 

If you define thought as verbal thought, I get you. For humans, "thought" may be more easily separated from emotion because it is verbal. But even without language, there is cognition that is more intellectual (fact-based) than what we tend of when we think of "pure emotion".

 

You say the dog "knows" something, but how can it "know" but not think?

 

You never addressed my comments before, but again I'd wonder where the line between emotion and thought really is. Recently, they've discovered that decision making is a very emotional process in humans, even when we don't realize it. People with damaged brains who do not feel emotions normally also cannot make decisions the same way a healthy brain can. But we'd likely assume making a decsion was a willful, thoughtful process, right?

 

I just find it anthropocentric to assume humans are so different that only we think. And the energy explanation seems like it *could* be used for anything. When I sit down to do math, I am really feeling the innate energy of the numbers, which is why I "know" I can't take the square root of a negative - the energy is very wrong. Not making fun - I'm saying, a valid (while unusual) way to describe it is I feel energy of numbers. So am I not thinking?

 

 

Ooky, I am not able to answer your questions. I'm sure I'd get some things wrong. I am in the midst of exploring and examining all of this myself. As I said I have been using Behan's NDT for only a couple of months now, but the reason I glommed onto his work is that it fits with how I operate in general with all animals. It makes total sense to me. Took me a while to understand Behan's writings as he tends to write stream of consciousness style and it does seem out there at first, but after I put the principles into practice I began to understand his writing much much more because I was seeing the results. It's actually a very simple premise. I am focussing the work on the heart and drive of my dogs.

 

The more I observe animals the more I see the energy/emotional paradigm makes the most sense. One can feel the energy, one can see the emotional life in a dog. I have still not seen any proof of reasoning or thinking.

 

I get what you say about numbers and energy. Of course you feel it. I am an actor and a writer and trust me that is all about energy and feel. Anytime one is involved in a creative endeavor that is the place we live in whether that be acting, painting, writing, music, designing, gardening and on and on. The mind is consulted, but the richness is in the feeling senses, the heart. You see not anthropocentric at all. I have enormous respect for all creatures. I don't see humans as being superior because we think. Look where all that thinking has got this planet.

 

Go read Behan's site and ask him questions. He is a very open guy and 100% dedicated to dogs.

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Believing that we are the only species to think and reason at any level seems to me to be the ultimate in arrogance. We get away with it because we're the only species that can write this nonsense down. :rolleyes:

Mary

 

Amen, sista.

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Amen, sista.

 

 

I don't understand how this is arrogant at all? Would one of you mind explaining?

 

Personally I don't see intellectual facility as being a superior way of being. i.e. I've never been insulted by a dog.

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Flyer, it seems to me that this guy is saying a whole lotta nothing. In other words, all he is doing is calling crap a turd. I don't know how long you have been around dogs in general, or Border Collies in particular, but if you have never seen proof of dogs thinking or reasoning, it must not be much. Our trailer sits facing the front yard, if you are looking at it from the road, the right front corner of the house is the beginning of the fencing around our back yard. It runs down towards the pasture maybe 75'. The fence goes around and ends at the other back corner of the house. We have a doggie door in the back door. One day, I'm playing ball with Jackson in the front and the ball went over the fence into the back yard. I don't say anything, just waiting to see what he does, out of curiosity. First, he looks at the ball, does a few little runs by the fence, maybe 10'. He takes one more look at the ball, turns and runs to the back of the house, checking both gates. Comes back around. Stands looking at the ball. Looks up at the porch, back to the ball. I swear, I saw it on his face when it came to him. He pushes open the front door(it doesn't latch without the deadbolt), runs through the house, out the doggie door, around the house to the ball, runs back through the house, out the front door and presents me with the ball. Now if that's not thinking and reasoning, I'm a swamp rats aunt. The only "energy" involved was running through Jackson's legs, seeing as it took him less than a minute to do all that.

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I don't understand how this is arrogant at all? Would one of you mind explaining?

 

Personally I don't see intellectual facility as being a superior way of being. i.e. I've never been insulted by a dog.

 

 

Try running a dog in a trial, you WILL get insulted by a dog!

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Flyer, it seems to me that this guy is saying a whole lotta nothing. In other words, all he is doing is calling crap a turd. I don't know how long you have been around dogs in general, or Border Collies in particular, but if you have never seen proof of dogs thinking or reasoning, it must not be much. Our trailer sits facing the front yard, if you are looking at it from the road, the right front corner of the house is the beginning of the fencing around our back yard. It runs down towards the pasture maybe 75'. The fence goes around and ends at the other back corner of the house. We have a doggie door in the back door. One day, I'm playing ball with Jackson in the front and the ball went over the fence into the back yard. I don't say anything, just waiting to see what he does, out of curiosity. First, he looks at the ball, does a few little runs by the fence, maybe 10'. He takes one more look at the ball, turns and runs to the back of the house, checking both gates. Comes back around. Stands looking at the ball. Looks up at the porch, back to the ball. I swear, I saw it on his face when it came to him. He pushes open the front door(it doesn't latch without the deadbolt), runs through the house, out the doggie door, around the house to the ball, runs back through the house, out the front door and presents me with the ball. Now if that's not thinking and reasoning, I'm a swamp rats aunt. The only "energy" involved was running through Jackson's legs, seeing as it took him less than a minute to do all that.

 

I don't understand the anger. I have always had a dog. Always. Throughout my childhood and adulthood. I also train and work with horses.

 

My Colt dog does much the same thing as your Jackson. I really have no wish to argue. I find great value in Behan's work. Hundreds and hundreds of dogs have gone through his father's kennel and then his own through out a lifetime. He has trained his entire life. I'm thinking he may know a few things.

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I don't understand the anger. I have always had a dog. Always. Throughout my childhood and adulthood. I also train and work with horses.

 

My Colt dog does much the same thing as your Jackson. I really have no wish to argue. I find great value in Behan's work. Hundreds and hundreds of dogs have gone through his father's kennel and then his own through out a lifetime. He has trained his entire life. I'm thinking he may know a few things.

 

Errrr. Call me crazy, but I didn't get a sense of anger from Dixie Girl's post. Astonishment maybe. Confusion or disbelief even, that you could be around dogs a lot and have the idea that they don't reason. But not anger. Not from me either. Just a little head-scratching.

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Flyer, there is NO anger! Trust me! Typed words can never convey as truly as face to face.

 

As far as his experience goes, Ceasar Milan has worked with lots and lots and lots of dogs, many years experience. But SOME people still call his methods poppy-cock. All I'm saying is that he is taking natural instinct, reasoning, deducting, and thinking and calling it energy. But calling something different, doesn't change what it is. Energy, if you get down to it, is nothing without some guidence. Take lightening. High in the sky, it goes ever which a way. No particular pattern, and never the same twice. But when it gets closer to the ground, it will hone in on the closest (read tallest) object and go straight for it. High in the sky, it spreads out in spectacular patterns, closer to earth and it can zero in on a person and leave everything around that person alone. Energy is needed to think, and reason. But that doesn't mean there is no thinking or reasoning, only energy.

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I actually went to Behan’s website, and I didn’t have the faintest idea what he was talking about. However, I did find one of his books on Amazon for 65 cents, so I’ll probably read it.

One thing that did occur to me was that I don’t want to suggest that I never use a dog’s emotions to obtain a result in training or day to day handling. I do. I use tone of voice to rev up a dog to do something he might or might not be interested in doing otherwise.

 

Likewise, I will use the dog’s instincts to obtain certain results in training. Offering a treat is probably the most common example of this. Dogs are by nature opportunistic feeders. They are always hungry. (Well, the average dog is.) So by offering a treat to a dog to reward it for doing something I am utilizing the dog’s instinct to take food whenever it’s available.

 

But just as I myself am influenced by hard-wired instincts – fear of falling for example, and just because my ability to learn can be influenced by emotional states, for example, if I feel anxious I learn more slowly. I also use reasoning to solve problems, make choices, etc. Sometimes combinations of all three are at work.

 

Are some of a sheepdog’s responses to stock hardwired? My guess would be yes. Does a Border Collie think about what his body looks like when he goes into the classic “crouch?” I doubt it. But, and it’s a big but, that doesn’t preclude the dog using reasoning ability at the same time to address other aspects of stock work. In fact I would be very surprised if a generous helping of instinct, emotion, and thinking ability were not all necessary components to a quality sheepdog.

 

If Behan has found a way to tap into a dog’s instinctive/ emotional components to get dogs to do what he wants them to I would not be surprised. But Ceasar Milan can do the same thing, (undoubtably in a different way) and I think that many would agree that the results, though they may seem effective in the immediate or short term, they may not work out in the long run as planned.

 

But this is neither here nor there. I simply think that it is as short-sighted to assume that dogs cannot reason as it is to assume that their behavior is not influenced by instinct or emotional states.

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