"alpha Roll" With Dogs Videos?

Discussion in 'Advanced Dog Training' started by srdogtrainer, Apr 5, 2014.

  1. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    Okay, so let me just say this is not meant to be a thread on debating if people should alpha roll their dog or not...

    ...but, I have been hearing a lot about the dominant theory and use of Alpha rolls and how dogs get alpha rolled by their parents and therefore that gives people the right to as well...

    So All Opinions Aside...I got to thinking, I have never seen a dog physically force a dog to roll over. Have you, ever seen a dog physically force a dog to lay on their back?
    Is it only mother dogs? Have you ever seen a mother dog do that? Is it specific breeds? Maybe breeds that get called 'dominant' breeds?

    So I started searching on you tube for videos that show one dog forcing another dog over and I haven't found a single one. I searched for 'dominant dog' 'submissive dog', dog alpha roll another dog, Dog Alpha roll, 'Mother Dog' Alpha roll. So far I have not found a single video of a dog forcing another dog over, or a dog physically holding another down.

    I have found humans alpha rolling dogs, humans showing how to alpha roll dogs demoing with other humans, dogs being submissive to other dogs and rolling in front of other dogs but not a single dog forced into a roll by another dog.

    So have you found any? Am I using the wrong search terms? It must happen if you hear about it so often. There has to be videos out there if it is happening.

    If you know of any or search and find some please post, thanks!
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  2. Evie Experienced Member


    Think you're onto something there.

    I've spent countless hours at dog parks watching dogs play, I've seen plenty of dogs CHOOSE to roll over submissively because of another dog, but as you said, I've never seen a dog physically force another dog down.... because they dont.
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  3. southerngirl Honored Member

    I've never seen a dog alpha roll another dog. My dog Missy has had two litter not once did she alpha roll one. i have seen dogs roll over themselves but never forced by another dog. Missy used to roll over any time a guy(person) tried to pet her.
  4. brody_smom Experienced Member

    Maybe it's a wolf thing? Have you tried searching with wolf?
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  5. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    Here is the only one I could find:

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  6. brody_smom Experienced Member

    I saw this one as well, after I posted above. Even in this, the wolf who "rolls" does it in submission, but is not forced. Could it be the whole idea is a myth?
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  7. brody_smom Experienced Member

    On the same YouTube page as the above video:

    The pack, consisting of 2 white males and 2 pups, converge on a female at about 1:54 to 2:20, then at 2:29 to 2:44. I don't know if these are considered "alpha rolls", but the whole scenario seems less than natural. I feel so sorry for her!
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  8. Pia Lagotto Well-Known Member

    Wolves do not live in packs like people think. This is only in captivity that wolves form packs. Wolves live in a family consisting of mother father and cubs. The male and female cubs never breed each other. When they are old enough they go off and form there own family. The video above is in captivity and this NEVER happens in the wild. Wolves mate for life and don't breed other wolves. That only happens in captivity.
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  9. srdogtrainer Experienced Member

    I found this info on Wikipedia,

    An alpha roll is a technique used in dog training to discipline a misbehaving dog. It consists of flipping the dog onto its back and holding it in that position, sometimes by the throat. The theory is that this teaches the dog that the trainer is the pack leader (or alpha animal).

    The alpha roll was first widely popularized by the Monks of New Skete, in the 1978 book "How To Be Your Dog's Best Friend".[1] (In the 2002 second edition of the book, the monks recanted and strongly discouraged the technique, describing it as "too risky and demanding for the average dog owner."[2]) Although the 1976 book itself is widely regarded as a classic in dog training literature and highly recommended for people trying to better understand their dog, the alpha roll is now highly controversial among animal behaviorists, since the theory of canine dominance has been drawn into question. In the original context, the alpha roll was only meant to be used in the most serious cases.[3] 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. These conditions resulted in increased numbers of conflicts that scientists today know are not typical of wolves living in the wild.[4] Behaviors seen in wolves (specifically the alpha roll) living in atypical social groups and crowded conditions does not translate to dog training especially since using the technique can be harmful to the handler and the dog.[5]

    It has been argued by some that a dog will only forcibly flip another animal onto its back during a serious fight where the intent may be to kill the opponent[6][7][unreliable source?].
    Further, the name alpha roll is considered a misnomer by top wolf experts, such as David Mech, because the practice as used as a behavioral correction bears little relation to the natural behavior shown by wolves in the wild. Dr. Mech refers to this behavior as pinning, which he describes as a dominance behavior.[8] These dominance behaviors are shown significantly more often by the breeding pair of the pack, but the purpose or role of the behavior is controversial.
    This suggests that this ritual does not serve as a behavioral correction or punishment, nor as a reinforcement of the dominance of the breeding pair. On the other hand, dyadic play between wolves involves behavior like pinning. Wolf puppy play patterns demonstrate that puppies prefer to assume the dominant role in play (see dog behavior), and avoid the submissive roles such as being pinned. This suggests that dogs do not instinctually panic if they are forced into this submissive position against their will. Although neither of these positions speaks directly to the issue of whether the alpha roll is an effective correction tool, it does call into question the behavioral validity of the technique.
    Contemporary use

    Position statements on dominance released by AVSAB and APDT in 2009 draw into question the science behind techniques that rely on dominance theory. It should never be used by inexperienced trainers, and never to correct undesired behavior caused by the dog's failure to understand your command. Used in a controlled way and coupled with praise and rewards when the dog changes its behavior appropriately, it may have positive effect, but there is disagreement about its long-term effectiveness and safety. A 2009 study by University of Bristol’s Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences showed that methods of handling that relied on dominance theory actually provoked aggressive behavior in dogs with no previous known history of aggression.
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  10. brody_smom Experienced Member

    This has been discussed many times on the DTA, but the point of sharing the video was in answering the original question, which was whether dogs perform alpha rolls on other dogs, or was this a human invention. This video shows some pushing behavior, but not pinning. The one dog submits to the dominance of the others in this scenario, but they are clearly ganging up on her, so she had little choice. Was this an "alpha roll"? I don't know.
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  11. Pia Lagotto Well-Known Member

    Here is something I found.
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  12. Pia Lagotto Well-Known Member

    Here is yet another

    May 25, 2009 - An alpha roll is the term used to incorrectly describe the situation ... In reality, in a pack of wolves, higher-ranking wolves do not roll ... The thought is that they are mimicking what a wolf would do in the wild to assert higher rank.
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  13. Pia Lagotto Well-Known Member

  14. Pia Lagotto Well-Known Member

    Here is yet another

    May 25, 2009 - An alpha roll is the term used to incorrectly describe the situation ... In reality, in a pack of wolves, higher-ranking wolves do not roll ... The thought is that they are mimicking what a wolf would do in the wild to assert higher rank.[/quote]
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  15. Pawbla Experienced Member

    People, this is not a discussion about if the alpha rolls are right or wrong.

    Yeah, I think that would be considered an alpha roll. But consider that these are wolves in captivity, an unnatural setting for them... and the basis of the whole "dominance theory". The dominance theory and rank structure was observed from wolves in captivity that have a very much different social structure than wolves in the wild (and, as you can see... much more aggression going on). It doesn't correctly translate to natural wolf packs (families), so I don't think it actually counts. That's why that theory was debunked in the first place: it doesn't correspond to actual wolves in the wild.
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  16. MaryK Honored Member

    L. David Mech, one of the people back in the 70's is mainly responsible for some of the incorrect data regarding Wolves. He has since gone on to make a video apologizing for his misconceptions about Wolves. His studies, back in the 70's were of captive Wolves whose behavior is totally foreign to a natural Wolf Family in the wild.

    Since then he's gone on to study wild Wolves, who as has been said above, live in a Family not a pack.

    Alpha rolling, or Alpha dog etc. is incorrect and not the natural behavior of any dog species, domestic or wild. Alpha rolling is also a very dangerous practice for both the dog and the person using such a method and is a totally awful way to train a dog.
    brodys_mom likes this.

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