When I first got my Husky, I had a lot of problems with him. He’s a tenacious, independent minded man, and I was anticipating a more Disneyesque kind of dog. I got an aloof thing that looked the same as a dog, but acted more like a “panic that flaps in the nighttime”.
I started with aversive training techniques because Sephy was so confident, stubborn, and independent. In this specific article, I talk about three common dog training procedures why I’ve quit using them, and that I used on Sephy.
Leash corrections, collar corrections, or leash jerks.
Holding a dog to the ground (also known as the alpha roll).
This technique is widely used to stop a dog from obsessing on an external stimulus (e.g. another dog, a cat, a person). Competitive or reactive dogs often start by actively hunting for something to focus on. Once a target is acquired, the dog will stare unblinking at the object, and gets exceptionally still.
In this time, the dog isn’t going to give attention to anything else food.
When it gets within range, from here, the dog can explode in a burst of energy and lunge after his target.
I attempt to stop my dog as early as possible, and redirect him onto something else. He’ll lose control and practice reactive/hostile behaviour, that he will subsequently be more susceptible to duplicate if I wait too long.
After a few times however, he got habituated to it and would simply dismiss the touch.
The top technique, for preventing reactive/aggressive causes, I’ve found, is to blow off those objects myself, and only transfer my dog along. There are many different other techniques for coping with dog-to-dog aggression and aggression that is other causes.
A variant on the touch, is what is referred to as the finger jab. Instead of pat or a touch, some trainers direct clients to use a hard jab to the dog. While the two techniques may sound similar, they really work quite differently.
Unlike a touch, finger jabs are extremely dependent on the total amount of physical force employed. We need to employ the right quantity of force, so our dog has an aversive answer. Too feeble a jab and our dog will simply dismiss it, and too strong a jab may cause fear, stress, and much more.
Finger jabs are a pain established technique, and as such, all the dangers of aversive approaches are present too.
2. Leash Jerk, leash Correction, Collar Correction
Leash corrections are very difficult to execute with the suitable force, with the proper time, and with the correct technique. I received many private lessons on how to do leash tugs, and I was still not doing it accurately.
And most of all, the collar correction must be a fast jerk or snap. There’s just tension for an extremely brief amount of time (a quarter-second or less), and subsequently the leash should be loose again.
A lot of people often do yanks rather than jerks, which have very little effect on the dog.
Second, we must be correctly positioned for the jerk so that the force is always to the side, rather than directly back.
Ultimately, the leash jerk needs to be executed with the proper quantity of force in order our dog presents an aversive response. For me, this was the most difficult part.
My leash tugs were consistently too soft, and my Husky promptly got habituated to it. Rather than enhancing his conduct, my dog just got frustrated and competitive I did a leash correction. He’d jump and bite on the leash.
I used the martingale along with the prong. However, as with the flat collar, results were good at first, but degraded after my dog got accustomed to the increased force from the prong.
The collar correction might be more suitable for a less strong willed class, but it didn’t work nicely on my stubborn Husky.
3. Alpha Roll
The alpha roll involves holding or immobilizing down our dog until he surrenders, gives up, or shuts down.
It’s exceptionally challenging to execute an alpha roll in the appropriate condition and well. In the control of the majority of pet owners, alpha rolls frequently gets overused and misused.
My Husky got really stressed (wild eyes, mouthing, screaming, flailing) whenever I did this on him. He got really detached afterward after he relaxed, and it did not seem to have some effect on his poor dog behaviours.
After a lot of counter-conditioning work, he is a little better today, but is still skittish of heavy handling and restraint. I am slowly working to gain the immense amount of trust back I lost using the alpha roll technique.
The Monks of New Skete, who were the first to popularize the alpha roll, have lately said that they regretted placing this technique in their book because it’s been misused.
Alpha rolls should exclusively be utilized by expert trainers, who are excellent at reading dogs, and just as a final resort for dealing with dogs which don’t respond to anything.
Sadly, this technique has gotten more popular because of television training shows.
I see lots of people using it in dog trails, dog parks, and veterinarian offices for slight violations, or not real violations whatsoever. The most regular case of alpha rolls happen when a rude dog runs up to intrude on another dog’s space. The invaded dog naturally begins vocalizing to warn the ill-mannered dog off, and tell him that his ill-mannered behaviour is unacceptable. This really is all perfectly natural canine behavior.
Nonetheless, the growling dog gets alpha rolled in front of the dog that is ill-bred, by his owners. It also teaches our dog to go straight into an attack or a sting, and not to growl later on.
Alpha rolls are dangerous, erodes trust, and could cause added dog behavioral problems.
I have never seen it make things better, and have seen many instances of it making things worse. It only encouraged more aggression, and didn’t stop his bad behaviours.
Alpha rolls make for a great television show, but given the extreme risks, both physical and mental, to the dog and the trainer, I’d stay away from this technique. I’d likewise stay away from trainers who recommend its use.