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


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.

The first of these was that I was seeing a number of problem dogs and their owners with extreme problems that had not become better as the result of applying Dominance Reduction Programs, but were getting ever worse.

I must admit to having fallen prey myself to the unhelpful human behaviour of “if at first you don’t succeed, try harder”. Dominance Reduction Programs worked, right? The owners were just not doing them hard enough!

The effect of tightening up on the Dominance Reduction Program further and further was appalling. One dog in particular and one who, it could be said, gave her life for us all and me in particular at that time, was a Doberman bitch by the name of Bridget. When we started, she had some mild moments of general disobedience in an otherwise loving relationship with her female owner. After 3 months on the Dominance Reduction Program, she was a ravening mad beast who turned and tore apart an old cat she had played with happily her entire life and the owner had her put to sleep on the spot.

That is when I stopped dead and knew something was terribly wrong. I closed my behaviour counseling practice and turned with a passion to finding out just what had happened and to investigate the whole Dominance Reduction Program situation from a new standpoint.


Results Of Dominance Reduction Programs Over Time

And then the second piece of evidence came to me.

Previously, I had been involved in setting up a long term study of the effects of the Dominance Reduction Program on the dog/s and owner/s – in order to have scientific back up data on how good they were and how useful. As the questionnaires came back from the owners who had undergone these miraculous changes for the better two years ago it became blatantly apparent that;

  • many dogs had become worse and Bridget had not been the only example of this at all;
  • that many owners had stopped using the Dominance Reduction Program strategies within days of the consultation and the old original problems had never been resolved at all;
  • and that many more dogs developed behaviour problems of a different kind as well as the original presenting ones.

This rang a bell and I looked up a similar study conducted by an American animal behaviour team in the 70’s, a husband and wife – Hart & Hart. Their study had been conducted before the onset of Dominance Reduction Program and their popularity, and it mirrored mine quite perfectly apart from one detail – the statistics of dogs becoming much worse were absent.

At this time I was also beginning the study of NLP and this incredible modality suggests that one should model excellence in order to know how to design trainings and strategies to re-create excellence in others.


Studying Excellent Relationships With Companion Animals

When I looked carefully at people who I regarded as having an “excellent” relationship with their companion animals and including myself, I realised with astonishment that we were NOT applying any Dominance Reduction Program strategies at all with our own creatures.

  • Our relationships were NOT that of human wolves within a pack.
  • What we were doing was inherently and absolutely different.
  • Instead of turning ourselves into wolves, we remained human and endeavoured to teach our creatures the ways of human communication.
  • Instead of waging war with our animals, we were co-operating with them from a base line of mutual respect and understanding.

And then one day, it hit me like a ton of bricks what it was that was so completely overlooked in scientific animal behaviour and yet so glaringly on display if only one would open one’s eyes as THE major factor of the successful companion animal relationship:

Dominance Strangles Love

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