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

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter #10
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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Oh Calipso, we have given you lots of reasons to question the trainer's advise... It's bad advise. It's old advise. And, guess what?, you've admitted it isn't working...

I think part of the problem you are having is that you think you should dominate a dog. There's an interesting book out there that I haven't seen referenced here in a long time "So your dog's not Lassie." This would probably be an interesting read for you because it discusses challenges such as you present.

My experience with challenging dogs is that they can teach me a lot. I do have to be open to learning, though. If you do stick it out with this terrier and learn a new way to work with this dog, you'll be surprised with the results.

There's a way to build a positive relationship with this little dog. Force isn't it.
 

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Originally Posted By: CalipsoThe 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?
Not all professional dog trainers are truly knowledgeable about dog psychology. Especially in the military where they are about twenty years behind the times with all of their training methods.

She doesn't think she is Alpha! If she truly thought she was alpha you wouldn't be asking this. A truly dominant aggressive dog who believes he is the leader and the strongest will not allow an alpha roll they will fight, they will bite, they will die before they stop trying to escape. If you can roll one of these guys at all it usually isn't without a price in blood. Even with a Jack Russel a trip to the ER is in the offing. Since you wouldn't be typing with the bandages on, she doesn't believe she is the alpha.

If she won't respond to commands there are only two reasons: She doesn't understand the meaning of the command or she isn't motivated to carry it out. Motivation is the easiest thing to work on. If she doesn't want food, does she want to play with you? how about earning a game of fetch? Your trainer probably won't allow you to play tug as he probably thinks it teaches the dog dominance but Jack Russel's will often do anything for a good game of tug. You could let your dog skip the meal before training to insure that your food reward will be worth more to her. You can try different food I have a dog that only works well for cheese, I have heard of a Boxer that didn't care about raw meat but would work his butt off for a banana, it is up to you to find what works.

If none of the above helps to motivate your dog (or your trainer doesn't understand what you are doing) and you still need help, you can motivate a dog to work using pain through a collar like a pinch or electronic trainer, avoidance of pain is a powerful motivator. This would to me be a last resort in training but its still a far more useful training tool to teach obedience than the Alpha Roll.

The most important thing you can do to get better obedience on the field is to regain her trust off of it. This is going to take a lot of play time and fun outings were nothing from you is negative. Without that bridge of trust though her work will never be as good as it can be.
 

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Quote: 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 don't think anyone here is saying that you shouldn't get her accustomed to handling. It's definitely important for all the reasons you describe. I think people are just debating that "dominating" her is the best way to do it.

Can you go over the reasons and behaviors she's offering that are causing you to think she's super dominant? She sounds more fearful.

Quote: 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 wondering if that's not why. I know alpha rolls seem to make sense - I think that's why they've hung on so long but these days they really are outdated and were based on some wolf research that has since been discredited. That said, they don't really do any harm to a confident and comfortable dog - but neither do they offer any benefit. However, to a truly dominant dog you can get the situation Tim mentions. And in a fearful dog you can get a similar reaction. The dog thinks they're going to die - they're terrified! Even in wild canids, a subordinate is not necessarily going to roll over or give up food to a higher ranking pack member. A lot of what we think we know about wild canids is based on captive packs where other normal behaviors - like running away, were unavailable.


Quote: 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?
There are a lot of knowledgable people on here and I think it's great that you're open to other approaches. Can you maybe list specifically what it is that you want her to do and what she's doing instead?
 

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Hello Calipso,

I figure as much your training was based on professional advice. It is unfortunate, but it is normal for any individual to trust someone who is considered an 'expert' or a person of authority. And it is not uncommon for these professionals to be dead wrong.

Don't feel bad, you are realizing there is a problem and coming here to seek it.

Anyway, I personally like to suggest you invest in this DVD:
http://www.leerburg.com/308.htm

I am no spokesperson for this kennel, but I own this DVD on establishing pack structure, and it is incredibly informative & in-depth. I think it will help you understand how to be a packleader without any need of force far better than most written advice.

Good luck.
 

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Calipso, in my experience, the best way to establish leadership over a dog is to withhold whatever the dog enjoys most (food, affection, treats, play, etc.) and show it how it can work for you to obtain those things. You have to teach the dog that in order to get what she wants, she must respect and obey you. NILF really works, trust me.

First establish trust, then she will begin to respect you. The only time I've ever alpha rolled a dog was Sasha, who wanted to be a super bitch to any dog in her sight by attacking and pinning for the slightest perceived infraction. When verbal and leash corrections didn't work, I showed HER a super bitch alpha roll once, and she found she didn't like it. She accepted my position, but wanted to super-dominate the other dogs we lived with at the time, and I had to show her that was unacceptable.

But she is my dog and I already knew I could do whatever I wanted to her and wasn't going to bite me. I'd never do it to a dog that was dominant aggressive to people, or that wasn't my own dog.

Good luck with the terrier
 

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Jessica beat me to it, but allow me to second it, NILIF. I can't stress strongly enough how much better this would be for both you and the dog than the method you're currently using. Obviously, from the dogs reaction, alpha rolling him is not going to work and only cause a LOT of damage. I have yet to see a dog that NILIF did not work with and it promotes a positive, CORRECT relationship between dog and owner.

Here's a link

NILIF
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well, I've been doing some reading and there looks to be two rather different forms of the alpha roll. The first is the one proposed by the Monks which is completely flipping the dog over and throttling it by the throat. The other (the one I used) involves laying the dog on its side and restraining it by the shoulder.

I'm not really seeing how lying the dog on its side and holding it is really any different than restraining it at the groomer or vet. Fortunately, the troublesome terrier is only 11 lbs so it's no problem restraining her. But it would be nice if she would just sit there on her own.

I've since shifted to a new technique which involves cradling the dog. The dog soon tires of being held and struggles to be put down. I continue to hold the dog until she relaxes and then put her down on my terms. This is actually working out nicely. It doesn't threaten the dog and it establishes control. I've since noticed changes in her behavior. For one, the humping has nearly stopped and when she does do it, it's very tentative now. She tries to do it in slow motion to test the waters. A dirty look is all that's necessary to to stop the behavior. You used to have to pry her off. The good news is that she isn't becoming fearful of me. She's still quite eager to play and sit in my lap, and she is now taking notice of verbal corrections.

I imagine there's going to be a lot of controversy over the benefits or harm of establishing physical dominance. It looks like it's working out in my case. Your mileage may vary. It think it comes down to how you do it.
 

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I struggled with this issue when my pup was going thru puppy kindergarden. The first red flag I saw in your post is IT WAS NOT YOUR DOG. There is no trust or bond between the two of you. Maybe if the owner did it but not you. I think it should be a bonding experience. Sounds like the terrier was terrorized. I am amazed his owner let you do it.
 

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yeah, I dont think putting the dog into "submission" is a good idea, did someone tell you to do that? That doesnt make too much sense to me, would you do that to your child?
 
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