Yesterday, a fawn that was hiding in the grass next to the forest trail, jumped up in front of my dogs. But my dogs didn’t chase it. They stood and watched it run away. They were clearly excited, but they didn’t dash into the woods to hunt it down. Why? Because we use certain tools.

I like to say, that these Predation Substitute Tools are a deal that you make with your dog. In this case, the deal is the STALKING DEAL = “You can’t chase but you can instead watch as long as you want to!”

Sounds easy and like an useful solution? It is! Let me explain the Stalking Deal to you.

This article is dedicated to dog owners and dog professionals! If you are a dog pro, keep an eye on these boxes to gather some deeper extra-information.

What happens when you make that deal with your dog?

I’m sure you heard that when working with aggression in dogs that punishing a growl is like removing the battery from a fire detector. On the ladder of aggression, growling is a milder way to communicate than biting. So, you want them to growl, because then, the dog has a tool that they can use to communicate that they feel uncomfortable, and you can withdraw without being physically hurt.

Predation Substitute Training follows the same approach.

Predation is a chain of behavior: orientation – stalk – creep – chase – grab-bite – kill-bite – possess – dissect – consume.

 PRO-TIP: Always remember this chain of predatory behaviour: orientation – stalk – creep – chase – grab-bite – kill-bite – possess – dissect – consume. You will recognize, that some breeds are specialized in performing selected parts of this chain more intense than others. Also, some breeds skip parts and don’t show the whole chain of behaviour.

But here’s the game-changer:

You can use and reinforce certain parts of this chain for managing and training predatory behaviour.

If you do so, you will choose those parts, that are more suitable and less critical in your daily life. Stalking is one of my absolute favorites! By highlighting the stalk massively and giving it a good reinforcement history, four things will happen:

1. It buys you time!

Your dog will stalk longer in the future before he runs off to chase. This will give you precious seconds to recall your dog or at least to grab his harness and put him on a leash.

2. The rest of the chain will become weaker

This means that the dog might only chase for about 100 meters and come back instead of following the deer for a much longer distance.

3. The chain will break off after the stalk

This means, the dog does not show the rest of the chain anymore.

 PRO-TIP: Point 3 is something that cannot be achieved with every dog. Genetics and previous learning experiences are a big factor. It’s something that can be best achieved if you teach them young.

4. You and your dogs will love to cooperate!

Dogs love this training technique – and so will you. It will make cooperation and successful training so much easier for both of you! Watch a video of me and my dogs making the deal: Watch on YouTube.

Are you going to make that deal with your dog? Let me know in the comments below!

Simone Mueller

Predation Substitute Expert & Founder of Predation Substitute Training™

Predation Substitute Training™ is more than a technique!


If you want to learn more about it, I would absolutely love to see you in our next instructor course, starting in 2023. Take a sneak and get on the waitlist right now:

(Waitlist is non-binding)