It is extremely rare for a dog to roll another dog onto his or her back. When you see a dog that is on their back, s/he has rolled over voluntarily, saying: “I’m not a threat.” It is actually a calming signal to the other dog. Unfortunately, we see alpha rolls being doled out at dog parks like candy on Halloween. In actuality, a wolf will rarely roll another wolf onto his or her back, and when s/he does s/he is actually trying to kill that wolf. What does this say to your dog when you do it?
No credentialed animal behaviorist would ever suggest anyone ever alpha roll a dog. Why not? There are a plethora of reasons in addition to the ones listed on the poster.
If you encounter a ‘trainer’ who advocates that you ‘alpha roll’ a dog, you should walk away – fast! The dog training industry is completely unregulated and anyone can call themselves a trainer. Moreover, specialties evolve and someone applying accepted techniques of the 1970’s should not be deemed an expert merely because they have been doing something (wrong) for many years. Would you expect a heart surgeon who graduated medical school 30 years ago to never learn about new medical techniques? Or a neurologist to not understand and interpret new research in fMRI? Or a Marketing Professor to be ignorant of Social Media and its role in Corporate America? Well, there is a defined and studied field of animal behavior that has released a plethora of scientific data on behavior modification, learning theory, animal cognition, etc., and any individual who is worth their weight in their field of study will stay abreast of such scientific data.
For those of you who are actively looking for a trainer to help with behavioural issues, we highly suggest you use The Pet Professional Guild to begin your search.
For more information about the alpha roll:
New Study Finds Popular “Alpha Dog” Training Techniques Can Cause More Harm than Good
How Not to Train a Dog - Alpha Roll
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