Is it OK to Pin Down Your Puppy?
Pinning down a puppy or dog is also known as an "Alpha roll" and it is definitely not a move that most people are able to perform effectively. If performed incorrectly, it can damage the relationship between you and your puppy.
So what exactly is an alpha roll? The alpha roll is a part of the dominance theory which was once widely accepted as fact by many trainers. This theory maintains that to have a well-behaved dog, you must be the "alpha" or pack leader. Dominance theory and the alpha role say that to become the leader, you must physically show your dog who's boss.
This is done by rolling him onto his back and holding him there until he stops resisting. Some trainers will add verbal commands such as "relax," or "calm down." Other trainers use growls or snarls while holding the dog.
However, there is very little evidence that pinning a dog to the floor or ground will actually cause submission. In fact, if done incorrectly it could do just the opposite and cause your puppy to become fearful of you because he believes you are attempting to hurt him. As Daniel explains:
"I've had dogs that will actually really react negatively and in a very dominant way and they'll fight back and that actually, you know, increases the tension or the issue that may have instigated you even doing that in the first place. And, other dogs who just think it's party time, and then it becomes a game and that defeats the purpose, anyway. So, it's not something I really like to do. It's not something I recommend to people. Most people wouldn't know how to do it the correct way. So, don't do the alpha roll."
The first step to being a pack leader is having a very clear and predictable routine, with little room for deviation from what you have set out. If your dog knows what is going to happen every day, he will feel more secure and safe.
For instance, feed him on a schedule, not when he begs or pleads. Take your dog for a walk at the same time every day. He will always know where to expect you and can relax in those times between. It gives him a feeling of stability and security that he needs as a pack animal.
A leader (whether they are leading dogs or humans) will never be taken by surprise. They are always ready for anything because they have a clear understanding of what to expect. If you have the leader mentality, your dog will pick up on this energy and behave accordingly.