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 Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!

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mollybear
Newborn
Newborn
mollybear

Female Join date : 2014-04-10
Location : Santa Cruz, CA

Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! Empty
PostSubject: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 10, 2014 7:40 pm

Hi there, I'm new to this community, and I recently have brought home an adorable, 11 week old Husky/German Shepherd mix. Training has been both frustrating and definitely rewarding, I believe little Molly is learning very fast and she is quite attached to both me and my partner, who picked her up together.

Now, on to my subject line: I have read that alpha rolling is a BIG NO NO. Because of this, it's been hard for me to find a video that demonstrates what it looks like so I can avoid it. When Molly is being much too rough in play, however, I do put my forearms on her, she typically lays on her side, and I give her a firm"NO". She doesn't squirm, I don't pin her so that she can't move, and she doesn't whine or try to bite. I usually have my arms on her for no more than 5 seconds, then a minute or two of ignoring, then back to play. She typically is willing to play immediately after.

Judging by her behavior, I feel that I am not doing anything to make her fearful but I would like to hear from the community if this should still be avoided? I do not use my hands to hold her down (ie I do not grab her front legs or anything like that), and I do not force her to the floor, it seems like she knows what to do. This is also something I do as a last resort before time out (She has not yet become used to being alone, in the process of crate training so timeout in the bathroom is my last resort). I am a new puppy owner, and I'm trying to become as knowledgeable as I can and would LOVE constructive criticism/advice on this. Thank you  Smile
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seattlesibe
Senior
Senior
seattlesibe

Male Join date : 2013-02-05
Location : seattle, wa

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 10, 2014 8:11 pm

Technically what you are describing is an alpha roll if you are getting her down on her side and issuing a correction or reprimand.

How do you feel about alpha rolls? Do you subscribe to the idea of pack based hierarchies via dominance and submission? What do you think her underlying motive is when she plays rough as you describe it?

It helps you formulate ways of addressing her behavior if you have a clear understanding of why you think she is doing the behavior.
Alpha rolls fit pretty soundly into the dominance-based ideology.

You can avoid it and try alternative ways of correcting and reprimanding if you don't buy into that ideology.
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mollybear
Newborn
Newborn
mollybear

Female Join date : 2014-04-10
Location : Santa Cruz, CA

Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! Empty
PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 10, 2014 8:29 pm

From what I've heard about them, I want to steer clear of it for sure,  so maybe I should just try the time out as the last resort then, I do NOT want my pup to become frightened of me. I want a companion, but from much of the reading that I've done, my partner and I need to be seen as the "alphas" so that she will listen, but with that we usually use positive reinforcement and treats to try and establish that (making her sit before going outside then praise, issuing a command before giving food and praising when she listens, etc.). In other words I do not subscribe to dominance-submission ideology.

Usually before I resort to the alpha roll type maneuver, we will play, she will bite (though not all of the time), when she does I will tell her no and make sure she looks me in the eyes, stop playing, then begin playing a bit later (I also usually try to redirect her back to her toy). If she continuously bites, then that is when I use it.

I know that she is still just a baby so I want to correct MY behavior as soon as possible, should I just continue and be persistent with the verbal warning? Do time outs instead? Any other techniques that work when pups start to get way out of hand? I'll do whatever seems most effective without terrifying my little one!

EDIT: As far as why I think she bites, I think it's because she wants to play like she does with other dogs - we have a 4 year old Husky here who she plays pretty rough with (all supervised of course), but she is probably still too young to realize the difference between playing with people and playing with other dogs when she really gets going.


Last edited by mollybear on Thu Apr 10, 2014 8:33 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : answering question from other post)
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seattlesibe
Senior
Senior
seattlesibe

Male Join date : 2013-02-05
Location : seattle, wa

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 10, 2014 8:40 pm

Great explanation, nice.

Ok, so her seeing you as an alpha would necessarily imply a status hierarchy that you would control based on her submission to your dominance.

Sounds like you want to scratch that all together , and I for one, agree with you.

So now you should be expecting her to listen to you because she respects you and trusts you and she should look to you as a source of good things and companionship.

Time outs are fine but the process of doing the time out is kind of a big deal, right? It will elevate the excitement of the situation for you both and can cause even more anxiety.

Try instead just walking away cold, no talking or touching or eye contact. Her motive for engaging you in rough play is play, binding, and relationship building. She needs to do it and this is how Huskies interact with the people and dogs they like. In light of this as her motive, remove yourself suddenly and ignore her fully.

Until she is ready to play this way only when you initiate it at your own pace she needs to be taught that her behavior is unwanted and inappropriate. This can be done by just stopping the engagement and walking away quietly and calmly.

She is trying to elevate the situation so it is important that you in turn bring it down to a calmer state . This will set a precedent with her that you expect calmness until you give her the green light to behave otherwise.

Hope that helps.
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mollybear
Newborn
Newborn
mollybear

Female Join date : 2014-04-10
Location : Santa Cruz, CA

Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! Empty
PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 10, 2014 8:46 pm

Absolutely, thanks so much! It's been kind of confusing, learning so much about training tips, from one source I'll hear that "you should be an alpha, but NEVER alpha roll", or "not to subscribe to the alpha dominance ideology, BUT it's a husky, so they're different"....ETC. Just gotta remember to be calm and consistent! Thanks again~
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Eresh
Adult
Adult
Eresh

Female Join date : 2012-10-06
Location : Space Coast, Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 10, 2014 9:51 pm

I've been teaching "settle". When she's starting to get that crazed 'about to go hyper' look, I have her sit beside me, resting my hand on her back and say "settle". As soon as she calms down (relaxes her body and mouth), I praise/treat. It's been a huge help whenever she gets too excited (playing too rough, around other dogs, meeting new people, etc)
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wpskier222
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Senior
wpskier222

Female Join date : 2013-02-11
Location : NYC

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyFri Apr 11, 2014 11:00 am

I agree with all the great advice given above. In a weak moment of frustration, I alpha rolled my puppy, and as soon as I let him up, he just jumped up and started chewing on my shoulder. I sat down, put my head between my knees and balled my eyes out, while he was zooming around play growling and trying to bite various parts of me. When I decided to do a more calm approach as mentioned above life got a lot better.
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mollybear
Newborn
Newborn
mollybear

Female Join date : 2014-04-10
Location : Santa Cruz, CA

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyFri Apr 11, 2014 5:07 pm

Thanks so much for all the great input, y'all! I think the settle command would be a good next command as my next plan of action is getting her and the older Husky to hang out somewhat calmly instead of them turning into a Tazmanian Devil-like whirlwind around the house! It's adorable, but Molly definitely tries to punk Akira(the older Siberian) constantly, haha.
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riggaberto
Puppy
Puppy
riggaberto

Male Join date : 2013-04-28
Location : Seattle area

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyFri Apr 11, 2014 7:39 pm

My personal view is that you can be pragmatic and combine techniques based on the behavior. For example, I can use positive reinforcement a lot of the time with the 'leave it' command - I stop or prevent the behavior as well as reinforce commands and respect.    

I see the next tier as minor corrections, which combined with the positive deterrents I just mentioned cover most bad behavior. When Chuck was jumping on people or being just too crazy, turning away and ignoring for a little bit has reduced those behaviors to almost never. Just a verbal "ah ah ah ah" will work for a lot of time.

I occasionally use an alpha roll via neck scruff for serious things like chasing the cats at full speed or chewing on household goods (only when caught in the act). These corrections are rare - he learned the boundaries very quickly. If he's not responding to the 'ah ah' verbal correction I will give his neck scruff a pull and maybe time out.    

I'd say my breakdown is roughly this
50% deterrent with commands
45% verbal corrections/ignoring/ending play
5% physical corrections

I don't think dominance as a cohesive theory makes much sense to teach your dog to be a good member of the household/citizen, just as 'all positive' doesn't adequately set boundaries in some situations.

You can make a decision for yourself obviously - be pragmatic and adjust things if they dont seem to be working. Take everything you read here with a grain of salt - I've been told I'm doing my dog a disservice and don't understand the breed for talking about techniques I learned from my breeder (who was cited as super ethical by multiple people on this very forum). It's a great place, don't get me wrong, but just be aware people will evangelize their view of the world, and you can take the best from everyone.  

Best of luck.
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seattlesibe
Senior
Senior
seattlesibe

Male Join date : 2013-02-05
Location : seattle, wa

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyFri Apr 11, 2014 9:44 pm

@riggaberto wrote:
I don't think dominance as a cohesive theory makes much sense to teach your dog to be a good member of the household/citizen, just as 'all positive' doesn't adequately set boundaries in some situations.
.

This is well said and a very important point.
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seattlesibe
Senior
Senior
seattlesibe

Male Join date : 2013-02-05
Location : seattle, wa

Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! Empty
PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptySat Apr 12, 2014 1:21 am

I think a major issue often overlooked with alpha rolling is that it is an extremely advanced maneuver with a vast amount of underlying assumptions that would be required to pull it off correctly, the least of which is a pretty far fetched idea that we can and should replicate the symbolic behavior of a dog.

Performing an alpha roll assumes that hierarchical status based in dominance and submission exists within dog culture (if you will) on the one hand, and that we can and should replicate this behavior in our relationship with our dogs on the other.

I'm not going to even bother debating the reality of this culture in dogs because I don't think it is actually possible to prove anything about its legitimacy one way or the other.

But IF it is indeed a part of dog culture then it would be extraordinarily difficult, if possible at all, to come anywhere close to being able to accurately replicate the maneuver.

Further, IF it is indeed a legitimate part of dog culture it certainly does not follow that we can or should replicate it with our dogs if for no other reason that it assumes that our relationship with our dogs is indistinguishable from our dog's relationship to other dogs, which I think is a pretty outrageous claim to make.

At the most basic level replicating this type of maneuver would be a.tremendously advanced skill that the overwhelming majority of dog owners would not, and should not, be able to perform it with any degree of authenticity.

Not to mention, there are far less controversial and foolproof ways to accomplish the exact same thing.

Rob, this is in no way a provocation to you or an undermining of your post but rather only my thoughts on the issue. For the record, I actually respect your post in this thread very much.
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riggaberto
Puppy
Puppy
riggaberto

Male Join date : 2013-04-28
Location : Seattle area

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyWed Apr 16, 2014 6:18 pm

@seattlesibe wrote:

Rob, this is in no way a provocation to you or an undermining of your post but rather only my thoughts on the issue. For the record, I actually respect your post in this thread very much.

Thanks - I totally agree that it would be extremely difficult to prove from a behavioral perspective how the dog actually interprets any owner behavior...if and when my behavior is viewed as dog-like, etc.

To talk a little training philosophy - I try to have a basic understanding of husky and dog training theory in general and I've ended up using a blend of techniques, erring on the side of positive until it doesn't work - just based on results.

When I do give him the rare roll I don't know whether Chuck sees me as some alpha wolf or just me being disappointed in him and causing him discomfort that he'd prefer to avoid in the future. I do know that as a last resort it very effectively sets boundaries that I otherwise haven't had success setting and/or it demonstrates that certain behaviors are never okay. It makes the two of us sad for a little bit and then we move on.

If I have to repeat a correction for the same issue regularly, even if it's just an 'ah ah ah' over and over again, I re-evaluate. Either the correction isn't getting across, or, my expectations of him as a dog are mis-aligned so I need to change up his circumstances.

Obviously I'm still learning a lot and not always successful, but that's my basic mindset. Maybe you've posted elsewhere that I haven't seen but curious if you have any core principles or methodologies you go by Jeff - you've obviously thought about this stuff.






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TesiaGolec
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2014-04-15
Location : 7,000 ft above sea level

Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! Empty
PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 17, 2014 12:20 am

Hi everyone, I've read all the posts here and I must say I like the blend of different techniques that everyone uses, and it makes sense that everyone trains differently because all dogs are different, even if they are in the same breed.

A couple of questions come to mind here:

1. How do you get your friends to understand that your dog is in training? When they come over and the dog jumps on them and the friend just lets it happen and praises the pup how do you help your friend understand that you don't want that? I'm afraid that my friends will just say something along the lines of "He's a dog, he doesn't know better. It's no big deal anyway, I love dogs." It is obvious you can train them not to jump, but when your friends don't help, what do you do? What if they're your roommates?

2. Has anyone off-leash trained their husky here? I know this is something you shouldn't even attempt unless you know how to do it and you are absolutely sure the dog won't run away, how do you get to that point?

3. I've seen instances where time outs just make the dog whine and cry and bark and howl and be bad in wherever you have put them. Any thoughts on this?

That is all I can think of for now, I think I'll definitely do the positive reinforcement of good behavior first, then ignoring and "ah ah ah" when bad, and as LAST resort, neck scruff (gently, of course). Any other training tactics used? Thanks! You guys are so knowledgable! So glad I found this forum. (:
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Eresh
Adult
Adult
Eresh

Female Join date : 2012-10-06
Location : Space Coast, Florida

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 17, 2014 9:24 am

Tesia, the thing with dogs jumping on friends is a common scenario at my house. It usually goes like this:
Friend: arrives, dog gets excited.
Me: remind dog 'off'
Friend: "it's okay. I love dogs"
Me: "I know, and she loves you. But I'm working on her manners, so let me get her sitting calmly before you pet her."
Friend: may roll eyes but complies with my request.
It's hard when the noncompliant human actually lives there. My hubby is a good example. I give him firm instructions. He smiles and nods. I catch him letting dog get away with it. I sternly repeat the rules. He (probably) does it behind my back anyway. I try to time it so that it's dogs' nap/crate time when I'm not home to minimize things. Dog behaves when I'm around.

As for off leash, I just don't do it. There's leash laws in my county that I prefer to obey (minimizes my liability just in case....)

As for barking/whining, Luci was *really* bad with this. I finally just decided to let her 'cry it out' and not let her out until she settled down (assuming it wasn't the 'I have to go potty' bark, which sounds different) It took a while, but she finally got it.
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TesiaGolec
Newborn
Newborn


Join date : 2014-04-15
Location : 7,000 ft above sea level

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyThu Apr 17, 2014 3:21 pm

Thanks Eresh, I'm glad the dog still knows not to misbehave around mom or the "alpha" so to speak. I'm just crossing my fingers I don't end up with roommates.

Colorado leash laws are dependant upon the county, but if you're in National Forest I'm pretty sure anything goes. Not 100% sure though. Before I get a husky, I'll be sure to look that up. I was just wondering if there are ways of training off leash safely so that they do not get that instinct to run far away. Of course, my dog would definitely be on a leash if there are any roads at all nearby. Don't want to have that on my conscience.

About the barking, this makes sense. The last dog I had, she passed away, rest in peace, she would bark for HOURS. Literally. She barked for 18 hours straight once and wasn't even in her kennel. I'm not sure why she did it, but she started to do it once she got past age 11. I was pretty sure it has something to do with her developing blindness and deafness in her old years, but I had no idea what to do for her. Poor thing.
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riggaberto
Puppy
Puppy
riggaberto

Male Join date : 2013-04-28
Location : Seattle area

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyFri Apr 18, 2014 3:51 pm

My thoughts in bold


@TesiaGolec wrote:


1. How do you get your friends to understand that your dog is in training? When they come over and the dog jumps on them and the friend just lets it happen and praises the pup how do you help your friend understand that you don't want that? I'm afraid that my friends will just say something along the lines of "He's a dog, he doesn't know better. It's no big deal anyway, I love dogs." It is obvious you can train them not to jump, but when your friends don't help, what do you do? What if they're your roommates?

You have to be firm with your friends. Explain that you know they're okay with it but he needs to learn to never do it, otherwise he'll jump on old ladies and break their hip. I usually go straight for the imagery of old ladies being trampled and it's pretty effective.  

2. Has anyone off-leash trained their husky here? I know this is something you shouldn't even attempt unless you know how to do it and you are absolutely sure the dog won't run away, how do you get to that point?

Maybe a super old one...I would not recommend it though. They see something interesting > prey drive > run > gone

3. I've seen instances where time outs just make the dog whine and cry and bark and howl and be bad in wherever you have put them. Any thoughts on this?

I would say two things...when you do time outs, be strong, and dont let him out until he calms down. Secondly, what kinds of things are you putting him in time out for? In some cases another course of action might be more effective? Hard to say without knowing the full picture though.

That is all I can think of for now, I think I'll definitely do the positive reinforcement of good behavior first, then ignoring and "ah ah ah" when bad, and as LAST resort, neck scruff (gently, of course). Any other training tactics used? Thanks! You guys are so knowledgable! So glad I found this forum. (:
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smm1129
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smm1129

Female Join date : 2014-08-19
Location : Long Island

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PostSubject: Re: Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling!   Want to make sure I'm NOT alpha rolling! EmptyWed Nov 05, 2014 5:04 pm

@wpskier222 wrote:
I agree with all the great advice given above. In a weak moment of frustration, I alpha rolled my puppy, and as soon as I let him up, he just jumped up and started chewing on my shoulder. I sat down, put my head between my knees and balled my eyes out, while he was zooming around play growling and trying to bite various parts of me. When I decided to do a more calm approach as mentioned above life got a lot better.

I know this is an old post, but I am working with my puppy, Roxy, primarily with the play biting and I am loving all of the advice on this post. I know she is a baby and doesn't realize she is hurting me, but I had an identical scenario last week where I got frustrated after trying to hold her down and I just sat there and cried while she was on top of me chewing on my back and shoulder, thinking it was all a game lol. Roxy reacts very similar to the alpha roll with me, and I do not apply pressure, but sometimes I feel like her wiggling around will cause me to hurt her rather than help her, and so I think I will try a more calm approach with her. I think we are making progress, she is a doll 80% of the time, but its when she has these crazy energy bursts that make me concerned. I want her to learn that biting skin, is not okay. So with that, I just wanted to say thank you for encouraging me that a calmer approach will hopefully work better. =)
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