Achieving Balance and Harmony


A Feral Guard Dog, a Newcomer Bully Bulldog, and a Lazy Pit Bull Terrier

Season 4 | Episode 2 | Reggie, Diva, Rocco, & Vito, and Mugsy

Meet Reggie, a feral dog who likes to guard pregnant horses on a breeding and training ranch near Prescott, Arizona. Next, Vito, a boxer, and Diva, a cocker spaniel, were a team all their own -- until an English bulldog named Rocco joined the pack and singled out Vito as a target to attack.

Finally, meet Mugsy, a rescued pit bull terrier, who has turned out to be quite a couch potato, refusing to go out for a walk. How will Cesar motivate this lethargic canine?


The Lone Wrangler

I’ve worked with a number of feral dogs over the years and have learned that these dogs don’t respond to people the way domesticated dogs do, and because of that, they initially don’t trust us. So the way I deal with them is more instinctual, meaning I have to think on more of a primal level and study the way they survive outside–where they live, how they move from place to place, and where they rest.

In Friday’s segment, because I knew this feral dog would probably not come to me, I needed to be able to trap her—both physically and psychologically—in order to help her. Remember, animals who think they’re cornered will instinctively go into a fight-or-flight mode. So, in order to catch her, I chose a time when she would be unaware I was coming – during rest. I made sure my human helpers were staged to create a sort of psychological fence. Once she knew she couldn’t run from us, she surrendered psychologically.

Designer Dogs

Dog aggression doesn’t have a gender, but it’s true that un-neutered males can be more aggressive with other males around a female dog in heat. And an un-spayed female dog can show defensive behavior when surrounded by males dogs who have picked up her scent.

With un-neutered male dogs, that female scent is an invitation to mate, and, when there is competition, they can go into a fighting mode. Remember, aggression is not just a physical state; it’s also mental. There are fights because there’s only room for one at the top. This is why it is very important not to bring un-neutered dogs to a dog park.

When someone goes to neuter an aggressive dog, it’s helpful to create a calm-submissive state of mind before handing over to the vet. Neutering prevents signals from this part of his body and will ease aggression around other dogs.

Tired Terrier

In many ways, you are the source of your dog’s energy, so motivating him really begins with you. Motivation doesn’t necessarily mean saying “good boy;” it’s an energy. And you can’t fool a dog – in other words, if you don’t believe it, neither will he. As long as you are positive and see no limits, you can accomplish anything with your furry friend and you can also have a lot of fun!

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