I know the 'alpha' technique is very controversial and some people may 'swear' by it. There may be a few people who have physically forced their dogs into a behaviour they want with no repercussions. The sad thing is - people see the 'alpha roll' being used on dogs and they see a dog 'snap out of it' or 'obey'. What people don't realise is what they are actually teaching the dog - that sudden aggression without warning is acceptable. Additionally the problem that caused the behaviour has not been resolved. For example: the dog that was making your dog uncomfortable (so your dog snarled at and pinned) is still making your dog unhappy - but now that you've pinned the dog forcefully to the floor he's scared of you AND the other dog.
A great article written in APDT News Letter explains more...
"Alpha roll advocates often justify the technique because “it’s the way wolves do it,” but that rationalization is weak. As professional dog trainers, we—and ultimately our clients— would benefit from an explanation grounded in critical analysis rather than habit or myth."
The theory behind the alpha roll is based on a research study of captive wolves kept in an area too small for their numbers and composed of members that wouldn't be found together in a pack in the wild. Studies of wolves in the wild show wolves only 'pin' another wolf if the fight is serious (usually with intent to kill) and rarely fight within the pack to that extent. Dominance theory has been justified by some trainers as it can make owners act like they have more control over their dog than they may feel. Hard-nosed, brutal efforts to dominate pets can simply cause fear, anxiety and even aggression rather than creating a stable household. A more accurate way of comparing the domestic dog is to feral dogs that are scavengers who live and mate unrestricted by a 'pack' hierarchy.
' it is a form of cruelty. It may not inflict physical pain, but it can terrify dogs. And it can be dangerous, causing an aggressive dog to react strongly against an owner. Alpha rolls are part of an outdated theory of dog behaviour that’s based on discredited science. ' - Pete Wedderburn (Vet 25+ years)
Pat Goodman, MS, a resident ethologist at Wolf Park:
“I find it is rare for them to forcibly push down and hold down a subordinate, a rival, a youngster. In the overwhelming majority of cases, rather than being pushed down, the wolf who ends up on the ground is already going down in response to psychological pressure."
"I cannot think of many learning situations where I want my learning dogs responding with fear and lack of motion"
So what are you telling your dog by being a bully? That you are unpredictably aggressive and should be feared of. So instead of showing him that you are a calm, trustworthy leader, you are demonstrating very effectively through aggression that you are a threat, and you’re doing so in much the same way a highly insecure domestic dog would.
- Click Here -
*please note some of the footage used of the 'celebrity' dog trainer may distress some viewers. Footage is from the 'celebrity' DVDs