Here's an interesting topic I was reading about a couple days ago. How many of us have seen an alpha roll performed? How many of us know what an alpha roll is? The alpha roll was a technique performed by early dog trainers based on the short research done on wolf packs. Dog trainers believed that the alpha roll was how we as humans could mimic what the alpha wolf would do to discipline subordinate members of the pack. It consists of rolling the wolf on it's side and pinning them to the ground. That was how dominance was asserted in the pack....so they thought.
The first time I saw the alpha roll was on television. At first, I was amazed at how the dog submitted and was calm. The dog was miraculously cured. The program would often have a counter as to how long the trainer spent fixing the problem. "Hmmm...momma told me not to always believe what I see on TV," I thought to myself but it was too good to be true so I had to try it. Like many new owners, I thought it was easy, and so I could do it too, and my problems would be fixed. Wrong.
You should never have to alpha roll your dog because you don't need to. On contrary to what researchers observed, it is now believed the roll was performed by wolves with the intent to kill. Not because they wanted to show discipline. In fact, the alpha rarely fights, or gets into squabbles. The alpha is confident and knows it's on top. It is the less dominant, middle ranks, that may be insecure or unsure of their rank. Therefore they fight. The alpha roll, is actually a voluntary act that a submissive dog will perform. It is not forced upon. I was disciplining a Bouvier one time and I had just touched the bottom of her collar and immediately she rolled over and exposed her belly. I didn't say a word. It was all voluntary.
To be alpha doesn't mean you have to be bossy or show dominance until your dog submits. Control the resources. Control when your dog gets food, treats or toys. There's no free lunch. Make them do something before they get something. We make our dog sit before they get a meal. It's simple, easy, and you will be viewed as a leader because you control the essentials. Training is about having your dog respect you. Respect doesn't come with force. That is why I would never recommend the alpha roll. It is also why I am much more skeptical of the tv shows that claim they have changed the dog's behaviour. That topic is for another time.