Alpha Rolls and Alpha Roles

Dear well-meaning people in dog parks,

Please, for the love of doG, stop giving advice to other dog guardians that includes telling them to pin their dog on the ground after the dog has behaved in a way that concerns you.

What you have done with this advice is the following: 
a) put the person pinning the dog at risk for a serious bite
b) put the dogs near the dog who is being pinned at risk for a serious bite
c) caused long-lasting emotional trauma to the dog being pinned
d) made yourself *feel* good, but look very uneducated

Don't believe me? Ask the dog who mauled me in 2009 because I pinned him. Ask the many clients who have had to undergo reconstructive surgery because they pinned their dog.

Alpha rolling is NOT an acceptable human behaviour and it is no less inappropriate and damaging than alpha rolling a 3 year old child in the middle of a daycare.…/what-alpha-rolling-is-really-do…

I appreciate the business your well-meaning but dangerous advice brings me, but I would much rather see SAFE advice coming from people who have not studied animal behaviour and psychology.

What can you do when you see a dog behaving inappropriately in a dog park?

a) commiserate with them because we've all had *that* dog
b) ask them to retrieve their dog and take a break by going for a leashed walk
c) remove YOUR dog and recommend to others to do the same
d) hand them one of our business cards and let them know that behaviour change CAN happen but it's best to seek professional advice
e) avoid judgement, emotion, and conflict as best as you can - it's very frustrating to have a dog behave in a way that makes others uncomfortable

Thank you in advance,

An Actual Certified Professional Animal Trainer Who Has Studied Animal Behaviour And Psychology And Truly Understands Behavioural Science As Opposed to Dog Whispering Myths and Silliness.


It is not acceptable to use a shock collar on a dog and call it "training". It is beyond insulting to me, my colleagues, my mentors, my industry. It infuriates me to see it time and again. How anyone can think that sending an electric current through a dog's neck or genitals is an acceptable way to teach another sentient being how to "behave" is beyond me. It's the person holding the remote who needs to learn how to behave appropriately, as far as I'm concerned. 

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What's your dog's currency?

When training our dogs, it's crucial to consider their currency. What does that mean? How does your dog like to get paid? What do they find most reinforcing? 

When we go to work, we get paid in the form of money - paycheques and monetary bonuses. If the paycheque stopped suddenly, we would question and likely stop working. Imagine if your boss sent you an envelope with Monopoly money in it on payday in place of your regular cheque! 

Let's consider some variables - sometimes the US dollar is more reinforcing than the Canadian dollar (like right now) and other times it's the reverse. Sometimes winning a trip to Hawaii is more exciting than the equivalent in a cash prize. 

When it comes to dogs, there are so many options for reinforcement out there - all you have to do is get to know your dog!

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