Dear Facebook poster who I recently argued with: I stand corrected.
Here’s what happened
“Put the dog on its back, straddle it, and growl until it’s submissive”.
This, I was informed, is the way to establish yourself as the alpha in a relationship with a dog. Apparently, according to this source, this is a tried and true decades old method and the only way to establish yourself as alpha and have the dog do what you want.
I follow a Facebook page that is focused on Golden Retrievers. It’s a great group of over 7,000 Golden Retriever lovers. Members of the page post pictures of their beloved Goldens, announce birthdays and other milestones, occassionaly mourn the loss of their pets, and sometimes reach out for advice. Last week when an owner asked for advice on how to stop their pup from taking food off of counters. There were some reasonable suggestions from other owners and then one that caught my eye, and ire.
“Put the dog on its back, straddle it, and growl until it is submissive”. That was the advice provided by someone who indicated they were a “professional trainer”.
I did something I rarely do on Facebook when I see something I don’t agree with. I wrote a pointed comment and allowed myself to get involved in an all too familiar Social Media squabble with a stranger.
I urged the original poster who was looking for advice to ignore the wrestle-mania advice of this so called and self-professed professional
wrestler trainer. Within moments another comment from wrestle-mania central was directed at me telling me that I knew nothing about dog training and that the method they described was decades old and highly effective. I fired back describing how obedient my girls are in spite of never having been physically held down and forced into submission. Sarcastically I acknowledged how lucky I must be to have such obedient pups given my lack of training knowledge. And that was that and of course I was right. Right?
Uh-oh! I just thought of something. I do put my dogs over on their backs often for belly scratches and they are submissive. I have straddled them while I reach down and give them kisses and snuggles around their necks. Then too they seemed submissive. And I’ve growled at them when down on all fours pretending to be a dog and initiate play with a puppy pose. During those times they look at me like I am the alpha and join in the fun.
So I guess I have done all those things described by that wrestle-mania-professional dog-trainer-facebook-poster described and that I denounced as being wrong. To make things worse there is photographic evidence of my guilt. This incriminating photo was taken right after throwing the girls down and growling them into submissiveness. And so it is with great humility that I stand corrected.
Does this make me a professional dog trainer?….