Features July 2006 Issue

Puppies Who Demonstrate

In a real alpha roll, the dog is physically forced and pinned to the ground until he goes limp and “gives up.” We’ve staged a mock “alpha roll” with a playful dog who was actually enjoying having his belly rubbed; however, note his tense expression when we held him firmly for even just a moment. This is a vulnerable position for a dog.

Puppies Who Demonstrate "Alpha" Behavior

Why you should never use the “alpha roll” (and what to do instead).

Teddy’s owners were distraught as they explained to me on the phone why they had called. Their veterinarian had told them that their nine-week-old Golden Retriever puppy was “dominant aggressive” because he was biting their hands. He had advised them to alpha-roll the pup every time he tried to bite or otherwise challenge their authority.

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