The Causes of Very Dominant Subjects (VD)

Why, within a decade, has the birth of overly dominant subjects increased by ten, twenty, or thirty times? And what has set back, at least in part, our ability to handle this disturbing phenomenon?

One of the most frequent reasons given is the incapacity of the owner to manage the dog, but this explanation doesn’t hold in mind the comparative analysis of the quantity increase reaching back to the 70’s.
During this historical period, the dog was still a “normal” animal, and the number of subjects as pack leaders was limited to very few puppies (usually, two per litter). All of the others had the gregarious instinct to submit themselves naturally to the represented “pack” of the family they went to live from their third month.

Even the meek element of the family enjoyed an automatic recognition of superiority from the puppy and resulting adult dog. Obviously the Very dominant (VD) or Dominant (D) subjects require another approach from the part of  the parents, but in most situations it was enough to intervene with authority at the first sign of challenge and it was not difficult to keep the dog at its rightful place.

The charging authority of a single member of the family was enough to deter the dog from challenging other family members. Currently it’s frequent to find that the VD or D subject respects the authority of one member of the family, but tends to “rebuild it” with some others who are more weak (children and the elderly, especially when the leader is not at home).

Unfortunately there are current educators who are convinced that the best educational system is that of persuasion and sweet education. Very nice in theory, but far from the natural law, at least from the pack leader subjects: they frequently behave very well with the trainer, who is obviously authoritative, but will return home unmanageable or actually worsened.

In my professional life I have found a large number of these situations, even if they are trained together with the parents. Underlying all, there is the consideration that authority is an innate gift and that you can’t earn. As to say that facing a pack leader subject, it’s almost inevitable, for an erroneous perception of the situation, that the whole family should bow to his rule. This doesn’t mean that such subjects are not affectionate or playful, but the dominant character will emerge in every occasion that you want to impose something or that something bothers them.

Consider that many people (really too many) are convinced that it’s normal for a dog to bite a child “because they are a pain in the neck”. It’s correct to teach children not to unnecessarily harass the dog, but keep in mind that dogs don’t have any sense of time.
Twenty to thirty years ago, apart from very rare cases, a dog would not even dream of biting. It would stoically endure all and as the only possible reaction (not even frequent), it would stay away to avoid the prosecution of “martyrdom”. To reiterate, when a dog bites a child, it is doing something that is not part of normal behavior.


All Pack Leaders!

Pack Leaders: the role

In the last few decades, there has been a sharp increase in the aggression levels of dogs. This has led to puppies and dogs of various breeds and sizes facing, sometimes fatal, conflicts with other dogs.
Often this violence has much more serious consequences than when concerning humans.

Paradoxically (but perfectly understandable), the most serious attacks occur most often in the family environment where the dog lives.
Interpretation of this phenomenon becomes understandable when its highlighted that a pack leader feels itself as the owner of its living environment and considers its family as “subjects”.
It seems logical from its perspective, to put in line the “puppy” of the human being.
What is less logical is the clearly disproportionate and particularly violent proof of its leadership.

In fact the rules of the pack dictates the leader exercise demonstrative action when necessary, but without causing serious injury and never killing. This behavior extends to even those who aspire to take its place. Contrary to the expression, dog does not eat dog.
Frequent episodes of violence from dogs towards family members (often directed towards the neck or face, a very serious action from an ethology point of view) requires objective analysis, not preconceived notions.

Different Types of Aggression

Types of Aggression: Dominant, Very Dominant/ Submissive, Very Submissive, Inhibited .


Aggression from dogs is divided into two groups: the type regarding the interaction between dogs and the other related to their interaction with humans, although some affect both.

Aggression from Physical Pain: such a form of aggression is born in response to a pain stimulus caused voluntarily or involuntarily. This response will be different according to the temperament of the dog: Very Dominant (VD) will be very violent with direct bites to the face or neck (vital areas), Dominant (D) will be violent with bites to the arm or legs; if the subject is Submissive (S) it will yelp trying to wriggle, if he is Very Submissive (VS) will yelp licking his hand.

Aggressive Competition for the Female: this aggression is completely natural and will show itself just when two or more males are in contact with a female in heat. In such situations it’s advisable not to intervene, because the males will “face each other” without major physical consequence.

Aggression of Competition for Food and for the Defense of Offspring: these forms are of natural ethological motivation, provided they are contained within the physiological limits.

Aggression in Defense of Territory: this can create many problems since the territory is represented by the garden or the surrounding are in which the dog lives: if the dog is Very Dominant (VD) or Dominant (D), it will defend the territory independently from the will of the proprietaries, creating a daily high risk situation.
The Submissive (S) subjects tend to defend their territory correctly, just in a dangerous situation when their parents are not at home.
While those Submissive (S), Very Submissive (VS) or Inhibited (I) certainly don’t create problems related to fear aggression, they can create the opposite situation, accepting joyfully thieves or unwanted people!

Fear Aggression: a dog with an unhealthy psychological balance perceives the presence of unknown stimulus (persons or noises) as stressful. This can lead to an aggressive reaction that is proportional to the level of character imbalance.

The official standard of every canine breed explains, next to the physical parameters, the behavioral and functional character. In no dog breed figure is aggression a talent in demand.

The optimum for any breed, from Poodle to Rottweiler, is always a healthy psychological balance, while any sign of aggression manifested during a dog show will result in disqualification. This means that no dog breed is aggressive by definition, but that among each individual race, may be born overly dominant individuals. This trait makes them incapable of performing the task they have been selected for. In the 70’s, the birth of Very Dominant (VD) subjects was very limited and unmanageable dogs were an exception.
In the 80’s and 90’s, their number increased exponentially, affecting the majority of subjects. In that period, the probability of having a dog with a problem in the family was consequently very high.

The circumstances were often that dog was good and affectionate because it did what it wanted, but took control of the family and the territory, biting anyone who went against it, or forced it to do something unpleasant. As further consequence, he prevented access to the house to whoever he believed unpleasant. The children were inevitably the first to undergo this situation, having a strong risk for bites.
Fortunately, the described situation has progressively decreased in the last decade, providing, however, far from the physiological numeric: dominant dogs are always in large quantity.

The Causes of the Most Common Behavioral Disorders

Behavioral Disorders: causes

Let’s consider it necessary to put the light on how these changes are the sole responsibility of humans as the animals simply have to endure themselves.

One of the main causes is, in fact, is the result of the lifestyle of our society.

Our cities, with their loud noises, hectic rhythms, and insufficient green areas, hold almost no similarity to their natural environment. If this is not the primary cause, it is a powerful amplifier of any embryonic imbalance.

Another cause, directly related to the previously cited, is the sensation of fearing “not being at the top”, which arises from a hyper technological world that subjects annulling individuals to phagocytosis with no escape.

This leads to a frustration concerning a rising difficulty in connecting with our neighbors in a satisfyingly human way, and contributes to considerable psychological problems, which I believe most of us can be accused of.

Unfortunately this situation and its consequences extends to our animals, contributing almost involuntarily to the determination of different kinds of imbalances.

Breed Aggression Standards

Breed Aggression

Let’s quickly clarify this fundamental concept: If a dog exhibits aggressive behavior towards the family it lives with, or against their acquaintances or visitors, the only logical explanation is that the animal has the character of a Very Dominant (VD) subject.

These subjects, until a few decades ago, were rare. This behavioral character represents, in every case, a danger for humans. Subjects in the vast majority of cases, from an early age, assume command with large facility of its own family and consider where they live to be their territory.

As a logical consequence, they put in line whoever tries to impose on their command and defends their territory (garden and house) from whoever they see as a potential invader, even family or close friends of the so-called owner of the house. In a normal situation, when a dog recognizes and accepts the dominance of its owners, it will welcome with a wagging tail and celebrate whoever “comes in peace”, while it will rail and bark at a person it doesn’t recognize.

In the opposite situation, it will be the dog to decide who can and who can’t enter the house, perhaps rejecting the brother of the “owner” and accepting quietly the unwelcome person. These situations are easily identifiable when the “owner” has to ask the dog or keep him on a leash when a guest arrives.

Usually a Very Dominant subject will be capable of barking and growling at a person, even if they pass daily in front of the house. While a “normal” dog, once identifying a non-dangerous stranger, will stop after a few days and begin to ignore them.

The German Shepherd was precisely described by Fioroni as the prototype of the balanced dog (when they were), but they are very often more terrible in this “specialty”, coming to organize ambushes, hiding behind the hedges until the last moment and appearing suddenly, barking furiously and making the people passing get terribly scared!
The aggression of an animal that lives in close contact with humans, therefore, must be seen as something thoroughly negative.

Fear and aggression can only be justified in cases of objectively serious self-defense. All subjects that show unjustified aggressive behavior have to be cut from reproductive activities.
Unfortunately, often the criteria of choice is based purely on beauty.
Too many industry insiders ignore these behavioral problems, which inevitably increases an already high percentage of imbalanced dogs.

The Campbell Test

The Campbell Test: performed with puppies in the range of six to eight weeks of age.


Exercise No.1 is called “Social Attraction”. It’s used to assess the probability level of dependency that it will have with the future owner. We move a few meters away from the dog and after kneeling in his direction, clap our hands.

The possible reactions are:

Very Dominant (VD): Rushes quickly with tail up, jumping on him and biting the hands.

Dominant (D): Comes to meet by scrabbling the hands without biting them.

Submissive (S): Approaches quickly with tail down.

Very Submissive (VS): Undecidedly approaches with tail down.

Inhibited (I): Stays away.


Exercise No.2 is called “Attitude to Follow a Person”, and it will assess the tendency to follow the owner.

We begin walking away from the puppy with a normal pace, making sure the he is watching us.

Possible reactions:

Very Dominant (VD): He follows us with tail up, biting the feet.

Dominant (D): He follows us voluntarily.

Submissive (S): He follows us with tail down.

Very Submissive (VS): He follows us undecidedly with tail down.

Inhibited (I): Stays firm or stays away.


Exercise No.3 is called “Reaction to Submission”, and it’s used to assess the probability level of submission to the owner. Kneeling beside the puppy, rub his back delicately and keep this position with one hand on the chest for thirty seconds.

Possible reactions:

Very Dominant (VD): Rebels violently, biting the hands.

Dominant (D): Rebels by wriggling.

Submissive (S): Rebels for a short time.

Very submissive (VS): Licks the hands.

Inhibited (I)


Exercise No.4 is called “Social Dominance”, and it’s used to assess the probability level of the acceptance of hierarchical superiority. Always on the knees, stroke the puppy with light pressure from head to the tail for thirty seconds.

Possible reactions:

Very Dominant (VD): Growls, bites, and rasp with paws.

Dominant (D): Jumps and rasp, without biting.

Submissive (S): Licks hands.

Very submissive (VS) : Turns to lick.

Inhibited (I): Tries to escape.


Exercise No.5 is called “Dominance by Elevation”, and it’s used to assess the probability level of dominance acceptance. Raise the puppy about twenty centimeters from the ground, holding it with his hands folded under his belly for thirty seconds.

Possible reactions:

Very Dominant (VD): Wriggles violently, growling and biting.

Dominant (D): Wriggles violently.

Submissive (S): Rebels calmly and licks the hands.

Very submissive (VS): Licks the hands.

Inhibited (I)

For an overall judgement, you have to check the consistency of the responses.
A puppy with at least two Very Dominant (VD) or three Dominant (D), will become an adult dog that reacts with aggression at every provocation.
With three or more Submissive (S) it will be gifted with a good capacity for adjusting to a family and will be a sweet and balanced dog. If the relations will be two or more Submissive (S) or Very Submissive (VS), it will become an adult dog that will always have to be treated with kindness and understanding.
Finally, if he will have two Inhibited (I), he will be extremely submissive and will require a lot of affection, coming to bite only for self-defense. A subject with this type will be a dog suitable for all children.

For convenience, use the following table:

1-2 VD or more Dominant and Aggressive
2-3 D or more Dominant and Extroverted
3 S or more Balanced
2/3 VS Submissive
2 I Poorly Socialized Puppy

In every case, whatever character set of the puppy, it will be important to apply education methods that take into account the individual difference. It’s literally impossible to apply a standard method in the educative process of a puppy.

The character of a dog is also determined by the individuals capacity to learn and remember experiences.

If you are lucky enough to have chosen, consciously or unconsciously, a Submissive (S) or Very submissive (VS) subject, there will be no problems.
If a puppy is VD or D, it’s very important not to underestimate or justify the first signs of aggression, thus unknowingly preparing the way for an escalation of violence. The dynamic looks impressively similar to how it happens with many cohabiting couples.
It starts (usually with the male, but increasingly there are cases of violent females) with insults and switches to a slap that is unfortunately accepted by the partner. Step by step, you get punches, beatings, and incrementally serious injuries, in some cases even resulting in killing. Especially later when deciding to leave or having already left the violent partner.
With dogs, the progression is similar. Often, the Very Dominant subject has already started from a few weeks of life by growling at the “owners”, rebelling towards impositions, then comes the first bite, and then successive increases towards more serious attacks if it is not stopped in the correct way. The main problem is the authority level of the owner. Unfortunately, leadership capacity is largely innate.
As to say that, if we go back to finding the predominance numeric of a puppy, it’s easy to understand that many dogs first bite humans who are not pack leaders themselves! (sorry for the joke)

The distinction between dominance and leadership is in the application method of authority.
A dominant subject controls just because it is the strongest. A leader, on the contrary, commands because the submissive recognize the advantages derived from it.
As to say that a leader is also dominant while the dominant is not automatically a leader.

The peak of degeneration arrives when a subject comes to kill a child or an adult of the family where it lives.

We are not talking about a few cases; dog violence regards a significant number of families.
Too often, evidence of their situation is denied. This situation is perfectly similar to problems we have with humans: the incredible mistakes in education and the relational behavior of family that is only noticed by relatives, acquaintances, and friends.

Finally, I want to emphasize the statement of personal clinical experience gained in the field of “home” dogs, and how breeders need a scientific basis for behavior.

I believe these observations can represent a theme to confront and discuss with specialists better mechanisms for understanding and regulating the behavior of man’s best friend.

The Physiology of Aggression

The premise is that experiences don’t change the character, but they can modify the behavior.
If we analyze the most common causes of the behavioral disorders in dogs, we will see that the behavior of every dog is the result of an interaction between genetic and environmental components.

The first to manifest in the individuals character is represented in addition to the logic morphological similarities, from the behavioral characteristics inherited from the parents.

The environmental component will be strongly influenced by cohabitation with humans or other animals, from the education that he will receive from the territory where he will have to love, although the given character may not be completely transformed in some way.

If the dog has been genetically printed as a pack leader, it will never be able to pretend to be a follower.

Whoever receives a dominant subject needs to understand the large responsibility they are assuming.

To avoid choosing the “wrong” puppy (at least for the real characteristics), there are different tests that can assess the “reactivity” of the subject.

The Campbell Character Test. Like all the tests, it will not give certain answers, but represents an important screening to understand with “who has to do”. In the field of canine behavior, they hear thousands of different opinion, but it’s important to ask yourself if you to have the real answer although it’s uncomfortable, otherwise reassuring answers and make us feel good but it’s a false one.
How good it is to hear an answer from an “expert” that dangerous breeds don’t exist, and that gentle methods are the ideal ones! But then, if it’s not true, who will repay us for the unpleasant situations we should deal with our own dog and how will we react to reading that a dog has attacked or perhaps killed an adult or a child? Will we close our eyes and continue to claim that it is always the fault of the person?

It’s enough to see statistics about emergency room visits for injuries from bites to realize that the problem can’t be treated with phrases or with superficiality. The point is that if we assess the puppy with The Campbell Test, we will see that eighty percent of puppies are place within  the “Very Dominant” and “Dominant” zones, and that “Submissive” dogs are consequently very few.

Question: If experts correctly recommend choosing subjects with the most balanced psychological profile (not more than 20%), who should take the others?

Let’s try to identify the psychological profile of the puppy with The Campbell Test and through some simple exercises that it proposes.

The Psychological Profile of a Puppy

1) Temperament: identified by the speed of reaction against stimulus.

2) Temper: capacity to cope with negative stimulus, both physical and psychological, without modifying the real behavior.

3) Tameness: capacity to accept the human as a superior.

4) Sociality: capacity to interact and search for physical contact of unknown person.

5) Predisposition to be subject of stress.

6) Psychological balance.

7) Predisposition to aggression.

The Exaggerated Attitude to the Actual Dominance of Dogs

The dominance of Dogs

The first factor in what leads to a high level of undesirable characteristics is unknown at the moment.
One of the points of my hypothesis is the suggestion of an imbalance of neurotransmitters.
As the phenomenon has developed only within the last few years, it’s highly unlikely that this is due to environmental factors (for example a different way of life and the relation with the human). It should be noted that the increase of aggressiveness has appeared at the same time as the development of pathologies successfully linked to the presence of pharmacological residues in meat coming from intensive farming (see “Syndrome from Residues”, an article I published on the AIVPA Bulletin, January 1995).

Among the pathologies caused from these residues (aggressiveness, fear, exaggerated irritability, continuous barking), it’s possible to create a hypothesis that such pharmacological and chemical residues, with their toxic capacity, can also influence the synthesis mechanisms of some neurotransmitters. It’s already known, in this regard, that the lack of serotonin (one of the neurotransmitters) is associated with an increase of aggression. It will be very interesting to study if and which chemical substances are able to inhibit the formation of this fundamental element.

It’s very interesting to note that the character balance of the dog was born in parallel with the development of the diseases above. Personally, I had never thought about a correlation between the two phenomenon, and I always interpreted such a character transformation as a sudden and mysterious genetic mutation (without ever doing a simple consideration that a mutation certainly doesn’t occur in a few years). I made this possible connection during a neurophysiological convention where I participated as a relator on diseases coming from residues in food.
A report on neurotransmitters clarified that a serotonin deficiency increases the aggression level of a dog.

The hypothesis, therefore, is that certain chemical pollutants present in food can negatively influence the physiological formation of serotonin. According to my clinical research, the main cause seems to be the presence of toxic pharmacological residues in the meat coming from intensive farming, but don’t underestimate the presence of pesticide residues in the cereals and vegetables, accompanied by chronic and acute shortage of Omega3 in the food sources currently used for pet food.

A further element to support this hypothesis is given by the contemporary and progressive decrease in both physical and mental diseases in livestock in the last five years, since the livestock industries were prohibited the auxin (substances that increase the weight). This has initiated a real attention on the daily utilization of pharmaceuticals, especially the dosage administered to animals that are raised for their meat.

At the moment there is nothing that can demonstrate scientifically what I have stated, but I consider it important to investigate in this direction.

The second factor is due to the radical changes in the relation between humans and dogs, which has severely degenerated because of psychological fragilities that now haunt each of us. Our lack of human relations and consequentially feelings of loneliness pushes many people towards morbidly attacking their dogs, forgoing any form of education, or never establishing any limits or impositions. If this is in fact related to the increase of the pack leader subjects, it will lead to most dogs becoming the owner of the house without any obstacle. In this situation, it’s very common to see the “owner” of the house deny any evidence, justifying their absurd coexistence.

The third is due to the masses of idiots who, to compensate for their frustrations, deliberately select aggressive and dominant dogs, usually from the breeds that have the suitable attitude and physicality to defend their flock and owner from even more dangerous predators. These dogs were and are, unfortunately still used for fighting competitions, distorting their every natural instinct. This makes the breeder dogs a completely altered subject and aggressive against all odds, as the true and real war machine. However, as part of these breeds, there are frequently subjects born from parents according to these aberrant criteria, that are completely reliable and docile dogs.

This is why every dog behaves in a certain way by the interaction between two components, his genetics and environment. The first that is manifested in the individual character is represented in addition to the logical morphological similarities, from the inherited behavioral character from the parents. So, if some idiot selects just Very Dominant (VD) subjects, that would be systematically discarded from the reproduction, we are going to create the progressive disappearance of dangerous breeds. The environmental component will be, instead, strongly influenced from the cohabitation with people or other animals, from the education that he will receive and from the territory where he will have to live, even if the given character can’t be completely transformed in some way.

If the dog is genetically printed as a pack leader, we will never be able to make him into a follower.

Aggression Situations: the Trigger

Aggression situations in dogs

Dogs are social animals that live in a packs, and for the same reasons of survival, the presence of a pack leader is strictly necessary. In a pack there will be a maximum of two or three members with an instinct for dominance.
Their hierarchy is established through fighting, possibly bloody but never deadly.
The strongest will become the leader and his authority will be established. He will mount the females and guide the pack in hunting food and exploring territory.
All will follow his rule until, because of age, sickness, or another reason, his place will be taken by someone else.

A dogs behavior will be identical even when joining a human family. If he has the character of a follower, he will find it perfectly normal to become a member of the family and provide for everyones needs.

He will easily accept a higher hierarchy role from the family members, even the children.

If the dog has a dominant instinct, he will only accept a subordinate role if the owner is able to avoid committing any initial mistakes in communicating their authoritarian leadership.

If the message is not clear, it will be the start of a daily fight to settle who is truly in command.
Very often the situation is not clarified, which establishes an opportunity for the animal to take the role as pack leader.

Dangerous Breeds

Dangerous Breeds: the debate

The debate on breeds considered to be dangerous continues. Without questioning, almost all technicians are convinced that they don’t exist and that the problem is always the owners.
And yet, looking at the premise (Eisenberg Philosophy claimed that if the premise is incorrect, all of the consequences are incorrect), we realize that we are starting from the wrong conventions.

If you judge carefully before the start of any work or theme, you will avoid a series of incredible failures, misinterpretations, and outrageous mistakes. One of the fundamental problems in the canine field arises from the fact that these animals have undergone impressive changes in the last 35 years, with the peak of the phenomenon between 1975 and 1985. They have been affected both in their behavior and by diseases.
These very rapid changes are shown by personal experiences of experts as compared to older data.
We tend to believe what we see in our own historical period as normality, and act accordingly.

In this regard, it’s striking the judgement that many experts give the current Fioroni, at the considered time most experts of dog breeds from both the structural and character point of view. I happened to hear, at a meeting with leading dog lovers that Fioroni was imbecilic, because he stated, all dogs are brave and kind.
From what I have seen in my years of dealing with 50 dogs a day, I can confirm that what is written by Fioroni corresponds with reality. Chihuahua or mastiffs were meek (apart from the obvious few exceptions), very sweet with children, and absolutely reliable, however, ready to become fierce in the presence of danger, of a threat, or in the case of an absent owner from the home. Simply, they defended the owner and children when it was necessary.

In the last few years, the following striking changes have occurred:

Puppies at the age of 20 days, perhaps still with semi closed eyes, had more than 60-70% of subjects intolerant to manipulation, especially opening their mouth. Some of these young puppies even growled menacingly. At two months old, two of the puppies were hyperactive and would not come close to visitors. After a few years, I changed my advice in choosing a puppy. I used to suggest choosing the lively one, so the owner would have a nice pack leader. Now I think it is better to opt for a more “dumb” one, which will become a normal dog in most cases.

Aggression in dogs has become much more common. There is an old proverb that says “dog doesn’t eat dog”, but it has become common to witness puppies slaughtered by adult dogs, and fierce and often fatal quarrels among adult dogs. Before this change, it was common to see small dogs being aggressive towards very big dogs without the giants reacting. At that time, dogs would stoically endure any harassment from children, without ever dreaming of biting them. Obviously, I have always insisted on the need to educate children to respect animals without torturing them, but it used to be that the printed ancestral laws inside every dog prevented an aggressive reaction. These laws don’t work anymore, and experts are forced to warn the owners of almost any breed of the risk of a possible attack, often for a futile reason.

The actual aggression of the dogs has two completely different causes:

The first is a currently unknown factor and involves the whole dog species.

The second is due to the idiotic human selection of dominant and aggressive dogs, identifying the breeds suitable for defending their flocks and their owner from predators. Some of these dogs unfortunately are still used for fighting competitions, which distorts their natural instincts an proliferates altered subjects who are aggressive against all odds, and who are true and real war machines. However, there are frequently dogs born from non-selected parents according to this aberrant criteria, that are completely reliable and docile dogs. To confirm that there is no dangerous breed itself, but there are subjects that come from parents and “calibrated” ancestors, that are really dangerous.

Both in the first and second case, the dog, obviously, is just a victim and doesn’t hold the responsibility.

It is said that much depends on the attitude of the owner, but in this regard we work on the effects and not on the causes. It has become difficult to find a person who has good self-esteem and authority, so we have to work towards helping the dogs rather than trying to fix the owners.

It’s possible that the increase of dog aggression is related to a defect of the main neurotransmitters acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. The attention is on serotonin, since it was verified that its deficiency causes increased aggression. Among the causes of such shortage, there could be the presence of pesticides, largely used in the cereals that we administer to the dogs with the kibbles, pasta, or rice.
Another cause could be the shortage of Omega3 in the food, or the presence of pharmacological residues in the meat coming from intensive farming.