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Should my children 'alpha roll' or 'scruff' our puppy to show him they are the boss?

The original concept of Alpha rolling and neck scruffing was based on research in the late 1940's. This research, on captive wolves in a Swiss zoo, has long been proven to be flawed but some people still continue to use its out-of-date and sometimes dangerous tehniques.

                                       alpha_wolf_roll                                                                  scruff-shake1

A great way to start to be seen as your puppy's leader is by controlling all access to food, access to toys, access to playing with other dogs and, above all, access to your attention and affection.  If you want your puppy or your newly adopted adult dog to trust you from day one - and not to learn to fear you - then the relationhip should be like parent to child and not sergeant major to a nervous raw recruit in the army 

Children might well try to copy the long outdated leadership methods of neck scruffing and alpha rolling and as a result get bitten. Animal training for all species has, as a result of our increased knowledge, changed dramatically in recent years.

Do you, or your children, really want to be a dominant bully by wrestling your eight week old puppy to the floor? What do you think your puppy would learn were you to do this? Anyone doing this to a human baby would rightly be sent to prison! 

It is good if the puppy and your children are best friends but using physical force on any puppy or adult dog is totally unnecessary and can lead to disastrous results.  Hopefully you mean ‘having control of your puppy and getting him to do what your children want – like not jumping on them?'

Depending on their ages you might consider getting them to feed your puppy after he has sat for them, teaching him to come to them and obey their simple commands. If he is sitting he can’t jump on them.

To automatically rise above the puppy in the pecking order get your children to teaching simple obedience like sit and come.  Teaching tricks - such as shake paw, roll over or spin - are bonding and fun for a puppy and for children. It also makes them good trainers and raises their self-esteem.