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 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
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