Harmony - An End To Dominance Reduction & Wolf Pack Mentality In Dog Training

Introduction To The Harmony Program

I have been particularly looking forward to this part of the course; understanding the nature of energy exchanges and their effect on the behaviour of animals (and people) was my own first breakthrough experience into the healing realms that are right here, completely accessible to anyone who might wish to enter there, make perfect sense in the context of practical living and results and yet for some obscure reason, seem to have been missed over and over as old entrainments are thoughtlessly repeated from one generation to the next and knowledge and understandings are lost and become corrupted.

I would like to tell you the story of The Harmony Program, how I came to it and what we learned from that time. It could possibly be the most important single aspect of this entire course for many of you, so and without any further ado, here it is:

The Harmony Program

In 1993, I was working as an animal behaviour specialist and had been doing so for the preceding 12 years. At this time, I was at the top end of the referral chain and worked closely with John Fisher and a number of other behaviour specialist to create new approaches and paradigms in the face of ever growing numbers of companion animals with severe behaviour problems.

We had by that time already developed major breakthroughs, such as the role of allergic responses to food in particular which caused severe and otherwise inexplicable behaviour problems; most notably the overfeeding of digestible proteins to under exercised pet dogs, causing hyperactivity and numerous other kinds of problems, but also responses to various other additives, colorants and flavourings in many other species and including zoo- and farm animals.

John Fisher was working particularly with the so called “Dominance Reduction Program” (Dominance Reduction Programs) for dogs, and if you are not interested in dogs or don’t like them much, I would suggest you still listen carefully because this is centrally important and the key points are beautifully portrayed in the problems of dog owners and the Dominance Reduction Program or DRP for short.

Trying to take a “scientific” approach to the problems of disobedience and behaviour problems in companion (pet, house kept) dogs across the breeds, it was decided at some time to try and copy the visible behavioural strategies that naturally exist in a wolf pack or in a pack of laboratory beagles, and have the human parts of the “pack” play the role of the “alpha male” by copying what “alpha males do” – the idea being that you “speak a language that an animal might understand that is too neurologically limited to understand in any other way.”

The owner was advised to “take charge” of all forms of interaction with the companion dog and to create a “power gradient” through a brick-by-brick approach that would clearly show the dog in question who was the ruler, the leader, the confident “alpha dog in the human pack”.

 

The Alpha Dog In The Human Pack - Dominance Reduction Programs

The areas where this charge was taken were global and comprehensive and extended over the following:

  • All forms of social interaction between owner & problem dog

The dog was not responded to unless it first “submitted” in some form - if it would come to the owner for attention, for example, it would have to go through an obedience ritual first before it was stroked. It was purposefully ignored in preference of other creatures/humans in the house upon greeting, and in many other contexts.

  • Power Games in movements and exercise

In “the wild” (what wild!) it is held that “the Alpha dog goes first” – gets the food first, leads the pack on the hunt, gets every bone by rights and enforces this entirely, does everything first. There is a famous picture that at that time just about every animal behaviourist had on their walls – of a wolf pack in the arctic in single file with the Alpha male up front, in strict hierarchy, and not one of these 20 wolves put a paw out of line ever as the snow trail behind them testifies.

  • Power Games in food and feeding to "reduce dominance"

Once again, the dog owner would eat first – if only demonstratively, a biscuit whilst the dog was waiting to be fed, and the dog would have to wait for permission from the owner before it was allowed to eat. Shock devices such as the so called “dog training discs” or the more old fashioned (and cheaper) version of “two stones in a coke can” would be used in set ups, like having food in the centre of the floor, to create “negative conditioning” in the dog to the fact that all food belongs to the owner, the shock device replacing the shock of an Alpha male flying out, teeth bared, to protect their bone “in the wild”.

  • Physical/spatial power games to "reduce dominance"

... such as forcing one’s way through a doorway ahead of a dog, up and down the stairs, making the dog get up and move out of one’s way deliberately numerous times a day, forbidding “privileged” resting places such as beds, arm chairs, power hot spots such as thresholds and landings, “taking the dog’s bed” by sitting or standing in it just to show the dog “that you can”, ensuring the dog walking behind the owner as a pack member would follow the alpha pack leader and so forth.

As time went on, the Dominance Reduction Program became ever more specific and watertight as the power divergence between dog and owner was extended into virtually every waking moment of their lives together.

And the results at that time seemed near miraculous. Dogs started to pay attention to the owners, became more “obedient”, pulled on the lead less and it is true, we really thought we had cracked it as far as dog behaviour was concerned.

In the spring of 1993, two things happened that began to erode my confidence in the Dominance Reduction Program and gave me a severe headache at the time.

UK 2 - Studying Dominance Reduction Programs

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