I used to believe ... a long long time ago ... that alpha rolling was the "ideal" way to train a dog.
The key thing to remember is that when you alpha roll you are physically challenging the dog. You will likely win while it's a puppy (unless it's Grim LOL). After all, a human adult easily outweighs a puppy.
The relationship that you build with your dog is not one of trust ... but one of ... if you challenge me ... I will fight you back ... and I will win. BUT ... what are you going to do when that 80 pound (or more) dog challenges you and you lose? Because you know what ... you WILL lose. Dogs are carnivores and predators. They are built to fight and to win. No one will win against an 80 pound dog coming at them ... especially if they are being challenged. They have four legs, are built of solid muscle and have huge potential to do a LOT of damage.
I learned this the hard way with a dog ... again, about 20 years ago. I had been doing the alpha roll with loads of success ... and then one of the dogs decided (at around 16 months old) to challenge my "alphaness" ... I lost. I was "flipping" the dog, it was "fighting" me and managed to break free. The next thing I knew the dog was flying at me, in my face barking, snarling and growling. Thankfully, I wasn't physically hurt, the dog never bit me.
Emotionally? I was a wreck. I talked to a lot of other trainers, etc. The ones who support the alpha roll blamed me ... "you weren't fast enough, you slipped, etc." The ones who don't follow that method looked at me like I was a moron (they didn't treat me like one, but I recognized the "look" ... you tried to do what????)
I quit working with dogs for about a year and a half and I did more research, met with more trainers, etc. And I learned a lot ... more than I ever thought. I learned how to build a bond of trust with my dogs, and other people's dogs. I learned how to accept the "challenge" from the dog and turn it into a teaching lesson - for both of us. I've never alpha rolled another dog, and I have no intention of ever trying it again (even on a freaking chihuahua where I know I'd win).
The key thing I learned 20 some years ago about puppies was to teach / guide and almost never correct (sometimes there are certain circumstances, but in my opinion, they are rare!) ... why would you correct a puppy? They have NO clue that what they did was wrong.
This is why when people say my dog is biting me all the time ... HELP ... the responses are shove a toy in the dogs mouth, redirect to another toy, etc. Correcting the puppy at this stage does absolutely NOTHING ... all you are doing is ramping the dog up with more energy. They have NO idea that what they are doing is wrong … they are puppies.
Alpha rolling at this stage ... you're telling the dog that you are physically stronger ... OK ... but like I mentioned earlier ... you won't always be. And if you've raised a puppy to adult hood under the premise of correction and alpha rolling RATHER than teaching / guiding / learning you will NEVER have the bond that you want. You might think you do, until one day ... when you challenge your dog, or your dog challenges you ... and you lose. Where is that bond that you said you had?
I would argue that you never had that bond in the first place, because if you are truly bonded with your dog, and you have taught / guided and led your dog towards a trusting relationship, it won’t challenge you in the first place.
I look back to my first dog I had that I “alpha rolled” into submission. I thought we had a great relationship. Then I look at the dogs I’ve had since, and my current pup Kyleigh. The bond I have with Kyleigh is stronger than any other bond I’ve ever had with any other dog. I’ve never flipped her, I’ve never been her “boss” and I’ve never challenged her. I’ve taught her what is acceptable and what it not, I’ve guided her through the stages of learning. Instead of correcting, I’ve redirected. I’ll give you an example.
I don’t like to weave around dogs when I’m going up or down stairs. Once Ky was able to go up and down stairs normally, I put her on leash, tied the leash to my waist and we started to go up the stairs. The second she put a paw on the stair ahead of me I used my leg and blocked her, and STOPPED right there on the stairs. I waited until she put her paw back down on the stair … either behind me or beside me. I praised her. I started to move up again. Repeated blocking if I had to. I did this a couple of times a day for 3 or 4 days … BOOM … done. I just taught her how to go up and down stairs … I guided her. NEVER once did she need a correction, and I didn’t have to show her who was boss.
The old methods would have had me correcting her the second her paw went ahead of my foot. WHY? She doesn’t know what she’s doing wrong? All she wants to do is go up the stairs with me … that’s what puppies do … follow … sometimes albeit quite rambunctiously. She just needed to be taught (not corrected) in how to do it properly.
THORNY – I’m not going to “bash” you about your method of training. I’m hoping to give you some food for thought. I’m hoping that if you read my post, you will step back and think about your relationship with your dog, and how you got to where you are … and where you want to be. I’m hopeful that you will research other training methods and see what else is out there.
For the OP … there are lots of threads on redirecting during the landshark phase … you’ll get a ton of information. Just remember to be consistent and patient. Your puppy is a BABY … it doesn’t know the difference … yet!
Marion’s Zoo-Kyleigh, Raylan-cat, Echo-TAG,
Last edited by Kyleigh; 12-20-2012 at 10:57 AM.