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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I tried searching for an answer through the forums however was not lucky...

My pup has a serious issue with laying on her back. I'm told it's a sign of dominance. So what I want to know is, will placing her on her back and holding her there for a while, until she calms down, reduce her dominance? Abby has not been 'fixed' yet either, will this reduce the dominance as well?
 

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How old is Abby?

I don't think that Abby's reluctance to lay on her back is necessarily a sign of dominance. Trying the dominance-down method may or may not work, but I don't think it's particularly effective and fair to the dog. Sounds like Abby just needs consistent training. Are you able to calm Abby down on demand? Does Abby listen to the sit or down commands consistently?
 

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Originally Posted By: Tara417I tried searching for an answer through the forums however was not lucky...

My pup has a serious issue with laying on her back. I'm told it's a sign of dominance. So what I want to know is, will placing her on her back and holding her there for a while, until she calms down, reduce her dominance? Abby has not been 'fixed' yet either, will this reduce the dominance as well?
NO - I cannot stress enough to never, ever use this technique (commonly known as an 'alpha roll'). If anything, it will make your dog feel like you are challenging it and if it is a dominant dog it is not going to back down - its a good way to get bitten.

When you say she has a problem with lying on her back, do you mean she refuses to do it? Or that she does it, but not when you force her/need her to? Does she have any other 'dominance' problems?

What if you tried teaching her the 'down' command, and then maybe progress to teaching 'roll over'? She might respond better if you make it a fun game, and teach her a command, with lots of reward involved
 

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I never ask Charlie to lay on his back, he just does it himself when he wants a tummie rub, or when he rub against the rug. I normally ask him to lay down on his tummy which he obeys. Why do you insist? Well try a treat then if you must.
 

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I wouldn't jump to conclusions and assume he's being dominate because he won't lie on his back. I think you've got to look at the whole picture. Are there other behavioral things you're seeing too? For example, how does your dog interact with other dogs?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
1. Abby does have trouble to calm down when she's been mischievous; she's just 3 months old, I'm starting to think I've been fooled by someone who doesn't have good dog experience! She will listen and follow sit, still working on down.

2. She has a fit when forcing her or just trying to roll her over. She will play with her toys laying on her back however. I'm not really familiar with dominance problems so I am unsure if there are any other issues. She still play bites and recently started humping my arm... I stopped her and encouraged her to play with the toys again. I will work on the down and roll over with treats and rewards!

3. Abby doesn't like to get her belly rubbed. If I start rubbing her belly while she is playing with her toys on her back, she will quickly roll over and start play biting.

4. Insist, because we noticed she flipped out the first time she went on her back. But I plan to work with the treats and roll over, perhaps this will help her best.

5. She interacts very nicely with other dogs. Very social even with the big german shepard mix. As for other behavioral issues... the humping and the nipping is it for now.

Thank you all for your input, it is much appreciated! I will check back later :)
 

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I saw the act of rolling over on command as one of trust, and my anxious, nervous Bones will only do it for me, if I'm there to guide her (not force her) and give her treats and lots of praise when she does it.

3 months is still very young, and it's likely your puppy is just still in the really, really rambunctious stage. That being said, they're very smart at that age, and I've got a video of Spock performing a number of tricks at 4 months and being very proud of himself for it. So Abby is ready to learn! It's up to you to decide whether she performs out of fear and anxiety or out of love.
 

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Originally Posted By: Tara4171. Abby does have trouble to calm down when she's been mischievous; she's just 3 months old, I'm starting to think I've been fooled by someone who doesn't have good dog experience! She will listen and follow sit, still working on down.

2. She has a fit when forcing her or just trying to roll her over. She will play with her toys laying on her back however. I'm not really familiar with dominance problems so I am unsure if there are any other issues. She still play bites and recently started humping my arm... I stopped her and encouraged her to play with the toys again. I will work on the down and roll over with treats and rewards!

3. Abby doesn't like to get her belly rubbed. If I start rubbing her belly while she is playing with her toys on her back, she will quickly roll over and start play biting.

4. Insist, because we noticed she flipped out the first time she went on her back. But I plan to work with the treats and roll over, perhaps this will help her best.

5. She interacts very nicely with other dogs. Very social even with the big german shepard mix. As for other behavioral issues... the humping and the nipping is it for now.

Thank you all for your input, it is much appreciated! I will check back later :)

I think that she is very young still. Buddy is also 3 months. He can be the calmest dog ever and let you do whatever you want to him, BUT when he is in play mode he can be a bit to handle. When he is playing he loves to play bite and act crazy. But once play time is over and he calms down he will let you do whatever you want to him.
 

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Not being willing to roll on her back is _a_ sign of dominance, but not the only sign. You may be dealing with a trainer who is overly concerned about this sign.

Can you handle her feet, as if clipping her nails? Can you fully examine all her teeth, moving (gently) her lips, and opening her jaw? While she is eating, can you stir her food, or even pick it up for a bit without her blowing a gasket? When walking together, who goes through the door first?

I am also not a fan of the alpha roll. If you can handle Abby fully, without protest, if she allows you to interupt her eating, and you get to go through doors first, she is recognising you as dominant, and I wouldn't worry.

Neither of our beagles like rolling on their backs. They'll do it for belly rubs, but not other times. They also hate being picked up, unless they are sick. We knew we were dominant because when we walked into a room with a beagle in a chair we wanted, we could say, Move, and the beagle would switch locations.

So, look at the whole picture of Abby's actions, and don't force the roll.
 

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Caesar will only roll onto his back for a belly rub. He has dominance issues so we never try to roll him on his back. I think the Alpha Roll would create more problems than it would solve because the dog thinks it's being challenged. I agree that you must look at the whole picture. You can try NILIF (nothing in life is free). It makes your dog understnad that he/she doesn't call the shots, YOU DO, and they have to work to get rewards like food. NILIF was suggested to me last year by someone on this site and it's going great. It might be a good idea to get Abby started with it while she's young and still figuring everything out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I checked out NILIF, haven't gotten to read it just yet, on 24 hour call for work this week! But I am hoping the general idea is to have her do something to get something. So it seems to be going well, sit before she eats, before she comes inside, before I throw her toy... Earlier this evening I was sitting on the floor with her while she was chewin on a rawhide, she rolled onto her back and I rubbed her tummy for a good while and praised her when she rolled back over. That went very nicely!

I do have trouble clipping her nails however. She starts wailling as I bring the clipper to the nail. I like to wait until she is really tired then she doesn't freak out as much. Even still I should be able to do it while she's wide awake, right?

As for the whole picture, I think maybe its just a lil paranoia on top of poor knowledge!
 

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Originally Posted By: Tara417I do have trouble clipping her nails however. She starts wailling as I bring the clipper to the nail. I like to wait until she is really tired then she doesn't freak out as much. Even still I should be able to do it while she's wide awake, right?
While she's still young, I would strongly suggest desensitize her to the idea of you handling her paws. Some dogs just naturally do not like having their paws touched, but if you start handling/massaging it lightly, they'll associate it with pleasant feelings. You can try massaging her paws when you're holding or hugging her. You can try massaging it when you're giving her a treat.
 
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