Private article

You must log in to view this article

Related Articles


  1. Everything in one spot.
    I like it.
    Kind of funny in Mech 2000, where he says the, “female would return after sufficiently motivating the male,” and is the, “male showing leadership by provisioning the female or is she by taking charge of the food?”

    Although valid questions, as humans most want to see and understand things in a human context (humanize), however by doing so it makes it harder to see. Humanization of dogs, has lead to many problems for both owner and dog.

  2. I just started to re-listen to this & am just a few minutes into your first lecture (the 5.0 one), so you might discuss this later on in this vid or in other vids. If so, my apologies, but the following thought popped right into my mind, based as much on observation of dogs/dog walkers and personal experience trying to help people ‘train’ a problematic dog: When you interview them initially, and even later when you train, many/most owners, w/o even realizing it, don’t describe, the interpret. First step, especially, when you begin, and even if the dog is present in the client’s living room, etc, is to ask them do ‘describe,’ step by step what they they experience as ‘aggression.’ They probably are right that ‘aggression’ is present, but, going forward, it’s very useful to get the client to focus on what — precisely — triggers the aggression. Because, when you determine the cause(s) and develop a management & training plan, particularly the latter, you need to start the training before the dog is in the danger zone and cannot control himself. IMO, you need to start before he’s in that zone and teach alternate behaviors. Maybe this is obvious, but even if it is, going through this with the client will help him/her develop appropriate observational skills so that they implement your training protocol BEFORE their dog is so far gone he can’t control himself. You need to start at the point, for example, where he’s curling his lip or his body has stiffened etc, not if he’s barking, pulling, with stretche, curved tail, etc. IMHO.

  3. Somewhere in your instructional vids or in a q&a, you mention (possibly after we watched a trainer’s vid) that this dog that’s being walked looks like it’s displaying territorial aggression, if I remember right. My questions are: how/why would a dog come to regard the ‘neighborhood’ as being his ‘territory.’ The only xplanation I can come up with is that the dog — maybe because of breed type — tends to be territorial but lives in an apartment and so doesn’t have it’s own territory. Does this sound reasonable??? Second question: Is the body language/vocalisation of such a dog noticeably different from displays of fear or protective aggression??? I believe that if it’s real territorial aggression, then the dogs body language will be very tense, very strong, tail out and kinked, etc., because when you are defending your territory, you are going for the kill, w/o hesitation. I’m not sure territorial vs fear vs protective makes a whole lot of difference in terms of management, leadership, and training, except that if it’s genuinely territorial, it might be harder to deal with in some dogs. But on the other hand, a fear or protectively aggressive dog can be just as hard to handle/train, imo. Whatever the cause, far as I can tell, the earlier the trainer and / or owner recognizes the problem the better, because then he can work with the dog before the dog’s so out of control he’s not capable of learning.

    1. The territorial aggression blueprint goes into more detail about this. Basically, what we vs our dogs perceive as our territory depends on where the dog regularly is walked/patrolled/etc…
      Where does the dog regularly mark?
      Body language can vary depending on the confidence level and state of mind of the dog, but if the aggression is suspected to be related to a conflict over territory, then it is accurate to call it territorial aggression.
      Sometimes it is not obvious if it is general fear aggression and may or may not warrant further troubleshooting, but most of what you do to resolve the issue will be similar, except there should be special emphasis and management as to where a true territorial aggressive dog is either walked and allowed to mark:

  4. I just did a ‘seek & ye shall find’ search on ‘predatory drift’ and on ‘instinctive drift. Didn’t find an article. (I recall that the Breland’s came up w/this concept based on their efforts to train a racoon or maybe another kind of rodent) to pick up and drop coins into a container. They had a hard time. It was easy to teach the racoon to pick up the coin, but took more work to teach them to drop it into the container because they did what they would have done w/a chestnut, etc. Took a lot of sophisticated efforts using contingencies, reward schedules etc etc. I am wondering if this has any relevance for developing a well-designed training planfor working with dogs you believe are prone to instinctive drift; e.g., a pitbull watching a puppy get it’s nails clipped or kids runnning around the living room. In these cases, my hunch is that if it’s a deep-seated genetic ‘instinct,’ you miight have to do the doggy version of what the Breland’s did re: their racoon, because it’s not just a matter of leadership / attitude / teaching an alternative behavior. I could be wrong. Never had to deal with the problem, but I figure it’s one practicing and aspiring pro-trainers might encounter. Thx.

  5. The latest version of The Pyramid places ‘Perception’ at the very top.
    After watching and rewatching these Aggression vids, I am wondering whether, after good FSDT training and handling — including Ph 3 maintenance — is changing the dog’s Perception a reasonable mid- long-term goal, at least for certain types of aggression and, most likely, genetics. After all, behavior that’s repeated and rewarded repeatedly often becomes habitual. In other words, if a vigilant, responsible, patient handler works consistently over time in triggering situations, won’t Fido’s perception eventually change. You might have to continually be on the alert, as a matter of ethics, but maybe you could relax a bit after you see Fido consistently behaving nonaggressively in situations that formerly triggered him. I don’t train a lot of dogs, but I have seen this. I would hope that clients who care can get there dogs to the same place. Does this hope/expectation fall under ‘Perception?’
    (Perhaps you covered this in a 5.0 lecture I haven’t yet viewed. If so, my apologies. )

    1. “Perception” is listed at the very top of the pyramid, mainly because the most difficult cases may need everything else below addressed or looked into first before making a perception change. For instance, good obedience may be necessary to stop self fulfilling behaviors to more easily counter-condition to a certain situation.
      It is true that the obedience, itself, may inadvertently be what was needed for the perception change without any purposeful counter-condition and it is also true that perception changes could happen even before there is any obedience training, but it is simply at the top for troubleshooting purposes, similar to the fact that obedience can be trained without great leadership, but leadership may need to be looked into for the more difficult obedience jobs.