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lots of fantastic info and thoughts on this older thread, minus the most recent 2 pages that end up being the back and forth debate over differing semantics and terminology.
 

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Resurrecting this thread because Akiva and I came back from puppy class where the alpha roll was taught. About half the pups let their handlers do it. I just let Akiva sit comfortably between my legs.

I did not attempt it as I've seen my father & father in law try it on my pup a few weeks ago. I was as uncomfortable watching as she was resisting being pinned.

The trainer recommended I do this every night this week. How should I tell her no thank you?
 

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Resurrecting this thread because Akiva and I came back from puppy class where the alpha roll was taught. About half the pups let their handlers do it. I just let Akiva sit comfortably between my legs.

I did not attempt it as I've seen my father & father in law try it on my pup a few weeks ago. I was as uncomfortable watching as she was resisting being pinned.

The trainer recommended I do this every night this week. How should I tell her no thank you?
A good trainer is like your partner that works with you to better your dog's behavior, provide advice so you can teach him what he needs to know, just like a good vet is like your partner that works with you to better your pup's health and provide needed advice. At the end of the day, you are responsible for your dog's health and behavior. They give you options, pros and cons, advice, suggestions, but you have the final decision, and you have to live with the consequences, they do not.

I have a GREAT trainer, but I do not do everything she has the class do. Some of it seems like teasing to me, and I don't play those games with my dogs. I tend not to say a whole lot during the class if I am not going to do something, I just do my own thing or let the pup sit between my legs as you said. Sometimes it is helpful to practice a quiet stationary exorcise while the others do their thing, just don't draw attention to yourself.

2 weeks ago we were teaching, LEAVE IT. She handed everyone a big milkbone dog biscuit. I came in late so I did not get one. They were to put it on the ground and then tell the dog to LEAVE IT. Praise and treat from the pocket when they did. When I teach LEAVE IT, I never let the dog have what I told them to leave. So I thought about it, and instead of a treat, I threw my inhaler on the floor. I told her to LEAVE IT. she did, praise and treat. The instructor asked if I wanted a biscuit and I said, "No, when I train this, I do not let the dog have it." She said, she was going to tell the other folks to put it in their pocket and give it to the dogs later.

The thing with that though, I have seen a 5 week old puppy find a chicken bone in the yard. I snagged the pup, got the bone and put him in his play yard. I got the mess out of the yard, and 8 hours later. I released the pups to bring them back inside. That puppy made a bee-line to that spot where he found the bone. These dogs CAN remember longer than a couple of seconds, especially if it is rewarding. So you are teaching them, that sometimes something you want them to leave is a very tasty treat. Whatever.

The thing is, you don't have to do everything your vet says. You do not have to do everything your trainer says. For some things, I would find a new vet or a new trainer. Alpha rolls are old school. With young puppies, they may safely give the pup the impression that you are bigger and stronger and the boss. And that may be carried forward later in life. Probably will with a lot of dogs. There must be success or it would be so prevalent. If you are ok with your relationship being hinged on that premise than following the trainer's advice.... Most of us, and it sounds like you are included in this, want a different kind of relationship with our dog.

I wouldn't tell her anything unless she asks, and if she does ask, just say, "We're not going to do that." If she persists, she gets what's coming: "because it is a stupid, outdated technique that can get your face bit with the right dog and with the wrong dog will cow way beyond any reasonable reason to do so."
 

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@selzer Good story about the inhaler. I'll follow that advice and try not to draw attention by doing something different. I know my trainer will ask since it's a small class, so I was thinking of just coming in early to tell her that it is a no-go in our house and not be THAT GUY undermining her in front of everyone.

One of her arguments was that she said it let's you handle the dog any which way you need for the future. But I can carry Akiva, touch her toes and tail, and the vet/techs already do whatever they need on her without a flinch. The other argument was it calms them down.
Well, petting Akiva seems to do that, too.

@Jax08 Thank you lol. Hopefully I won't have to get to that point.
 

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You have your answer right there. Tell the trainer you can already handle your dog any which way you need and ask her to show you something that actually is useful, like a motivational down because you don't want to pick stupid fights with your dog.
 

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My philosophy with my GSD was that I never wanted to do anything that would destroy his trust in me. Sure, easy to alpha roll and hold down a puppy and feel all powerful, but try it with a 90 lb SchH trained Working Line full grown GSD. I too could get Gryffon to do anything, as long as I was no-nonsense and gently insistent, but if he sensed that I was going to use force or fight him, his whole demeanor changed, and I knew he would win.

Like one knowledgeable person told me: "With these dogs, once you start a fight, your MUST win, but the only way you will win is if you take a two-by-four to them, and that is not were we want to be going with our dogs".
 

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@EyeDogtor I have two questions, one for you and one for your trainer.


For you, why are you going to this trainer who sounds sadly behind the times?


For your trainer, who do you want watching your back, the dog you bullied and forced into submission or the dog that thinks you are the sun, moon and stars?


I was a hand on a large cattle ranch in Wyoming. Lots of the guys laughed at the way I treated my horses. We were out rounding up for the sale and one of the guys started on me so I asked him, when you get caught in a stampede, what do you want under you? The horse you broke or the horse you trained?


Dogs are no different. When it comes to crunch time one is going to fight to save you, one is going to save himself. Training done by force will never hold in a real struggle.
 

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Resurrecting this thread because Akiva and I came back from puppy class where the alpha roll was taught.
Was this described as an alpha roll? Was the intent to show that you're the alpha? Or is it possible that the exercise was to desensitize the puppy to being handled and gentle restraint such as during a veterinary exam?

The first is bad, the second is not. We did handling desensitization exercises in the puppy classes I took with Dena, Keefer, and Halo, teaching them to be calm and relaxed while we cradled them in our laps and touched various parts of their bodies, like ears, feet, tail, muzzle, and bellies. This was to be a positive experience for the puppies, not a show of dominance. https://www.dogstardaily.com/training/handling-gentling

 

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@Sabis mom
Initially, I signed up for her because of the advertised "positive" approach and we needed the controlled puppy socialization and training with distractions aspects. Three weeks in now, and this thing just came up.
@Cassidy's Mom
The trainer did not use the term alpha roll, but she said the primary intent was to show dominance. To her credit, she said to do it when your puppy is calm (mine is calm only when asleep). It was easy for her to do on her own labrador of course, but when I wasn't doing it she tried to demonstrate on Akiva and straddled her tightly and pinched her muzzle shut. Whimpering and wiggling ensued. She couldn't get her calm enough to lay her down. So maybe it's not the alpha roll, but in the same line imho.

The secondary and tertiary purposes she mentioned are the desensitization and calming effect. I've been working on that since day one. I haven't tried cradling her like in the photo though--I will try it.
 

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I currently have 15 GSDs that range in age from 4 months to 12.8 years. Most of them were born here, but some have not, or have lived elsewhere for a while. I have never alpha rolled any of them, nor have I let anyone else do that when they were my dogs. For the couple that I did not have the entire time, I cannot be 100% certain that it did not happen there. But evenso, I can take any of them anywhere, handle any of them anywhere. Any of them will allow a vet or vet tech to take blood or stick a scary object down a sore ear if I am there and am allowing it. I don't know that alpha rolling would make this worse, but I know it can't make it better for my dogs.
 

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Let's dump the dominance idea

I always wondered where people find dogs that are so stupid that the dog thinks it can dominate its human. Further, I wonder what the dog could possibly hope to gain by dominating.

Look at it from their perspective. You get good food every day, you get back rubs and treats ten times a day, and any time you get near your human they tell you that you are the best dog that ever walked Planet Earth. In return, your only duty is to tell them when someone comes to the door. What are you going to gain by dominating that human?

For those who want the science, look up the research of Dr. James Bradshaw. He concluded that there is no evidence that dominance is a character trait of individual dogs. None. Any "evidence" that is out there is correctly classed as "confirmation bias". People interpret things the way they want to interpret them.

I have raised lots of dogs over the last 70 years. My method of training is what you might call the "boy and his dog" approach. That is, I stay as physically close to them as I can for the first year. Physical contact all day long, with an hour on the floor every morning where we all do a puppy pile. During those times, I tell them what I like and don't like just by the way we play together.

If you look up the latest research on dog play, you will find that dogs playing together could be described as a "dance". If you slow the motion down, you will see that they are sending all kinds of signals back and forth to each other about which way they are going to jump next. They learn to understand their peers just by watching them and interacting with them. They know what to do next because they understand the signals, just like you understand facial expressions when you talk to someone. The same thing happens if a human is in the puppy pile. The puppies will try to bite the human. All you have to do is say "Ow! No bites!" and indicate your displeasure. They know that playing depends on not ticking off the ones you are playing with, so they will get the idea fairly quickly. No dominance is required. They will comply just because they like playing with you. By the time we get to actual training, they already think of it as play.

For those who might think that this result is only because I was dealing with small, non-aggressive dogs -- most of my dogs have been GSDs of 150 pounds plus. That is GSDs -- the breed known for being so aggressive that your insurance company might drop your homeowners insurance if you have one. In the puppy pile, I may have 350 pounds of dog standing over me, ready to rip my throat out if they thought it was a good idea. None of them have ever been confused about who is boss. They will stop what they are doing and comply with my wishes if I make any sign at all. By the time they are adults, most of my dogs will respond to single finger commands to do things that they weren't even formally taught. They just learned to read me and what I want.

A lot of this dominance stuff comes from Leerburg. This is the guy who will tell you that, if your dog asks to be petted, they are trying to dominate you, so don't allow it. Never mind that the reason you pet your dog is because it feels good to you, and also feels good to him. Forget the simple pleasure of being close to someone you deeply love. Instead, the dog thinks that they can dominate the human who is bigger, smarter, and knows how to operate a can opener. BS.

Let's also recognize that dogs don't act like wolves. If they did, you would kill them the first day. They have recently concluded that dogs have socialization genes that are not found in wolves. Dogs are far more agreeable than wolves. One example of the difference -- if they give a wolf a problem that the wolf can't solve, the wolf will sit there and struggle with it all day. Given the same problem, the dog will try a few times and then sit down and wait for his human to help him. The dog knows that the relationship is a partnership and that the partners have different roles. They are quite happy with their role so you don't have to worry about them stealing the car and running off in defiance.
 
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