Alpha Rolling or “pinning” has many advocates but as many who are totally opposed to it. It involves rolling the Dog on its back and pinning its head to the floor by holding its neck.
Many say it does nothing as a corrective punishment and is NOT as some (including me) believe, copying how Dogs act naturally.
All the opinions in this post are mine alone. I am NOT recommending anyone to try any of the techniques. Alpha rolling is a training tool for seriously bad behaviour and if you are not totally sure of how your Dog will react it can be extremely dangerous.
Well, that’s out of the way! I don’t want anyone to get hurt and my Dog training is based on what I have found to work and everyone should get proper, qualified, advice if they are ever in any doubt about correct training methods.
Why Not to Alpha Roll
Many believe that the only time Dogs Alpha Roll each other is when they are actually trying to kill each other. They believe it is the way they try to pin another animal to basically get at its throat. It is also commonly believed that if you do it to your Dog it will think, naturally, that you are trying to kill it. It is further believed that if you have a submissive Dog you will make it even more timid and if you have a very dominant Dog it will become more dominant.
It is also (correctly) pointed out how close you are to the Dogs Jaw, and if it decided to attack or bite you it would most likely be successful.
Alpha rolling is seen by many as something that simply does not occur in the wild as an act of asserting dominance. They believe it is simply not done and if we alpha roll our Dogs we are simply putting the fear of God in to them.
Why You Should Alpha Roll
Personally I don’t believe the above. I have performed it and I did not see a look of abject terror in my little bone munchers eyes. I saw her in an act of total submission, knowing she had been very naughty and surprised at how quickly and severely she had been told off.
It did not have any negative effects on her behaviour, quite the opposite. She behaved better in lots of ways as she was well and truly told who is the dominant one. I believe Alpha Rolling does assert your authority and confirms you as the dominant one unlike what many others believe.
Alpha Rolling stops the bad behaviour instantly. It puts your Dog straight in to a submissive position and dissipates instantly the pent up aggression and energy that has led to the bad behaviour.
I believe it is copying what Dogs do naturally. A lot of the controversy over this technique is concerned with if Wolves perform it in the wild. I am not concerned with Wolves, I am concerned with my Dogs! When playing they quite often go in to submissive positions. They are just playing, but if things get rough or one of them bites a little too hard they will put the other Dog in to the submissive position. This is the difference. Putting the Dog in the position is a quick way of asserting authority and correcting very bad behaviour.
Alpha Rolling – How to do it
Alpha rolling is a serious issue and MUST be done correctly. It is best first used on young Dogs as trying to do it for the first time on a large adult Dog will be near to impossible.
Pinning is used primarily if your Dog is showing acts of aggression to other animals or when it has done something extremely BAD. It must be performed immediately, it will not know why you are doing it if you wait until after the unwanted behaviour has occurred.
- Grab the scruff of your Dogs neck and pull( without hurting or using excessive force) downwards so your dog becomes submissive and lies on its side.
- Put your hand on the side of its neck and keep its head pinned to the floor
- Keep eye contact for as long as possible
- Ensure you have told the Dog off whilst performing the actions, it needs to know it has been bad
- Loom over the Dog making it submit and know it has done wrong
- Keep the Dog there until it has totally calmed down
Many see this as arcane and outdated, believing hands on punishment should never be performed. It is often cited that you are actually making your Dog believe you are trying to kill it. I disagree. I have performed “pinning” on only a few occasions and it has always worked instantly.
Faye was once very bad and completely hyper, I performed the Alpha roll and she was instantly subdued. She calmed down instantly and knew she had been very BAD indeed! She went straight in to a submissive roll, breaking eye contact with me after a while and when I let her go she stayed in the submissive position voluntarily for a little while. When she finally got up and eventually came over to me in a calm manner I gave her a fuss and that was it. It is important to reaffirm friendship after you perform any form of punishment. You do not want a scared Dog.
Faye is by nature a very dominant boisterous Dog and it is for this type of Dog that I believe the method to be most effective on. She was not overly scared, she just knew that she was getting told off in a very serious manner. I asserted by role as the leader and it made her very well behaved.
I would NOT perform it on Daisy, who is a very shy, gentle girl. I believe it would have a negative inpact as she would be scared of the overt aggression. It is all about common sense and knowing the nature of your Dog.
As stated earlier I am not recommending anyone do this as I don’t want to be responsible if anything goes wrong or, at worst, you get bitten. I do not know the nature of your Dog or how it will react, or even if you can perform it correctly.
What I would like to know is do you Alpha Roll?
Do you think it should be performed or do you think (ike many others) that it is cruel, outdated and you are making your Dog think you are trying to kill it?
May the Doggie Force be with you all.