Learning submission problem - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Learning submission problem

One of the first things I did to start training with Sugar was to teach her submission. I did this by holding her to the floor on her side and not allowing her to get up. She put up a brief struggle, but quickly got the idea. Her personality is pretty passive so it was no big deal. She actually likes it now since she gets her belly rubbed.

I tried the same technique with another dog who is Sugar's playmate and about 7 months old. She is a rat terrier and basically out of control. I allow Sugar to play with the terrier since Sugar has weak socialization skills around other dogs while the terrier is the complete opposite. The hope is that Sugar would learn from the terrier. The problem is that Sugar is also learning bad habits from the terrier. So I decided to start training the terrier as well.

When I rolled the terrier on her side and held her, she fought as expected and eventually gave in. But the entire time she shook and quivered like she was about to be tortured. She never did calm down even though she gave up the struggle. I held her for 10 minutes hoping she would just relax and realize she wasn't being hurt. No dice. It looks like I have a nasty trust problem with her since she seems to be threatened by the handling. The dog has no history of abuse and is actually a bit on the spoiled side. Any suggestions?
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post #2 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 06:32 PM
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Re: Learning submission problem

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Originally Posted By: Calipso Any suggestions?
My suggestion is to STOP doing this!

What you're doing will magnify any sort of trust problem and make it worse, not make it go away.

Forcing a dog into submission like this an unnecessary and psychologically damaging way to deal with the dog. Being a leader is being a leader, having the attitude of leadership, setting clear and fair rules and enforcing them consistently, teaching obedience, being in control of the resources. It's not alpha rolling or other displays of dominance. All those do is damage the relationship with the dog, causing fear and lack of trust.

The terrier is shaking because he's petrified. What you're doing is not something that another canine would do to another unless there was some major infraction on the lower ranking dogs part that needed a major correction. And then once the subordinate was put in it's place, it would be let up again and both would go back to whatever they were doing. It wouldn't be held down for minutes, or even seconds, on end. No good leader would do this out of the blue, just to do it. The dog doesn't understand it, and is frightened.


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post #3 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 06:42 PM
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Re: Learning submission problem

I agree with Chris, stop this practice on this dog and any dogs in the future.

There are a lot of things that can help this dog gain confidence. I don't want my dogs being submissive, I want them to do things because I have taught them how much fun doing things I want can be.

Things like TellingtonTouch can help the dog relax so you can get the mind to a point where it can learn. Agility can build confidence when you get to the point that the dog trusts you.

Trust between dog and handler is very very important, you won't get that through your submissive excercises.

Val


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post #4 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 06:53 PM
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Re: Learning submission problem

I think that this could magnify any issues the dog may have with aggression. Onyx was 7 mos. and on leash w/ my 12 yr. daughter, she lunged at a 9 yr. old boy who came from behind her to pet her. I put her in a submissive position and told her "NO" held her there for about 10 seconds. She still has issues with small kids and I think I had something to do w/ it. I won't do that again to her, will work on things in a more positive re-enforcing way! It is too bad that my dog has to learn from my mistakes...

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post #5 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 07:01 PM
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Re: Learning submission problem

Before I got my GSD I had a Jack Russell Terrier. Trying to roll the Jack Russell over on its side and make it submissive would cause precisely the reaction Chris and Wi. Tiger describe.

Mine was peppy, sometimes seemed fearless and was intelligent. But, treating a terrier in that manner is a reputation for disaster.
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post #6 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 07:08 PM
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Re: Learning submission problem

Quote:
Originally Posted By: Calipso
When I rolled the terrier on her side and held her, she fought as expected and eventually gave in. But the entire time she shook and quivered like she was about to be tortured.
She WAS being tortured


Quote:
Quote:She never did calm down even though she gave up the struggle. I held her for 10 minutes hoping she would just relax and realize she wasn't being hurt
She WAS being hurt, not physically, but psychologically


Quote:
Quote: It looks like I have a nasty trust problem with her since she seems to be threatened by the handling.
She IS threatened by the handling.


Quote:
Quote: The dog has no history of abuse.
Now she has.

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post #7 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 08:06 PM
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Re: Learning submission problem

I agree that the alpha roll goes against trust building, but some of you are being too harsh on Calipso.

She is here seeking advice on how to be a fair and respected pack leader, and is not intentionally abusing her dogs. She simply has recieved outdated and trust-shattering advice on achieving dominance within her pack.

Offer advice, but I see no need to go on the offensive. And if you are upset by her post, then disregard it knowing she is now turned on the right path, especially if there is nothing productive about the reply.

JMHO.

Calipso, there are other ways to build trust and be a pack leader. Be fair and just. That is the first aspect of a leader. Also being consistent is very important in your training.

Good luck.

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post #8 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 08:11 PM
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Re: Learning submission problem

why would you hold your dog down? try training your dogs. that submissive @#**!!! is garbage. you want to train your dogs not break them. get a trainer, go to puppy classes talk to the pros. stay on this forum it will help you.
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post #9 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 09:12 PM
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Re: Learning submission problem

A tough and not needed way to deal with a terrier. They are so different from GSD's. Other breeds, including a German Shepherd pup will react differently, but perhaps that is a different topic.
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post #10 of 32 (permalink) Old 02-05-2008, 11:49 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Learning submission problem

The roll was recommended by a professional dog trainer who trains a variety of breeds for search and rescue and for the military security. I have no reason to doubt his judgment and it does actually make sense. The terrier is uncooperative and dominative. So long as the terrier believes she's the alpha, it's going to be very hard to train her because she thinks she's the leader. The roll is a benign way of establishing who's the pack leader.

Getting her accustomed to the roll is also practical and even necessary. It's better to have her accustomed to handling now in a calm familiar environment than to fight with her at the vet or groomers.

I've seen the roll done on numerous occasions with no problems. I've used it on some of my more assertive dogs in the past with no problems as well. This is just the first time I've had a dog react this way.

I'm open to ideas on how to rid her of the idea that's she's the alpha without doing a roll. But I can tell you that she doesn't respond to commands or treats. I tried being nice. It didn't work. She requires a firmer approach. Suggestions?
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