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Behaviour And Rescues

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:31 pm
by Larry Harris
Hello Everyone,

As not to hijack a thread I have started this one. I am very open to learning and have on open heart and mind. So many of you have been involved with rescue and behavior long before us and I very much respect your opinions and knowledge.

Please remember these questions are meant in learning not to question "how you do it" vs how we do it. It is hard to show intent in print.

There has been much duscission here and other places on the benefit or harm of putting a dog on their side for an unwanted behavior problem.

Question: Rolling over the dog on their side:
1. Are there any studies that have been done on this?
2. In your experience have you observed harm in your dogs?
3. Do they indeed lose a piece of themselves?
4. Is this a normal behaviour for dogs of a pack?
5. Is it something we have breed out of them?

Question: Pack behavior with PB Chows or mixes:
1. Have you noted a large difference in pack behavior with mixes and PB.
2. Why do you think there is a difference? After all a Chow is still a dog.

Question: Who is Alpha and does it matter:
1. Do you think we as humans need to impose on our rescues a hierarchy of who is alpha?
2. Without an alpha how is the pack behaviour?

At any onetime we can have up to 10 dogs underfoot. They do have crates for unattended times that are infrequent and at night. It also gives them a place to unwind. Our senoirs only go in crates when they want to.

How do you keep your chows in pairs or separated? Does this lead to unwanted behavior when you take them out in to the world? Ho do they react with other dogs and people?

All of our rescues are treated as part of the family and have the benefits of having an underfoot home. They are loved and disciplined the same.

In our thinking for our rescues to be able to survive away from us they need a basic skill set.
- Get along with almost every being, dogs, cats and people
- At least know sit, stay and no door.
- Have no aggression, food, toys or any other.

To achieve this goal the pack method of raising them seems to work very well for us. We do not pit the alpha against the omega. No they are not all equal some of them are more afraid of certain situations. We work hard to help them over come their fears. We expose them to everything we think will help them when they leave us.

We are indeed new at rescue but have long had chows and chow mixes. To us they are all chows mix or not. We have only found forever homes for twenty of them in the last year and there are so many more that need help. We look forward to your thoughts and ideas on how to make happy chows that only have to find one more home!

Thanks Everyone


Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 2:57 pm
by luvchows
Do you belong to any of the Yahoo Groups chow rescue lists? That is probably the best place to post the survey questions you have listed.

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 3:09 pm
by Larry Harris
Not yet but off to search for them.

Thanks Larry

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:14 pm
by kiwani
Re: "Are there any studies that have been done on this?"

Here's a link, and it will answer some of the questions you've posed.

[ABOUT THE ALPHA ROLL] ... oll_no.htm

Re: "Do they indeed lose a piece of themselves?"

The closest way to explain this, is relating it to depression chemistry. Being rolled, to a dog, is like losing a sense of well-being, losing trust in the human's leadership.

Posted: Mon Sep 24, 2007 7:22 pm
by Jeff&Peks
Besides what Kawani said I read rolling a high cheated dog (Chow) on its back is bad due to the bloat problems.

The dog whisperer can help you with the alpha questions. He thinks a dog is a dog.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:30 am
by Larry Harris

Thank you so much for the link it has set me off in a search for more information. It is interesting to me that a human behaviour (rolling) like this can be around for so long and thought to be the norm.

Education is a great thing.


Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 3:44 am
by luvchows
<<The dog whisperer can help you with the alpha questions. He thinks a dog is a dog.>>

I don't recall see any chows in his pack either!

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:04 am
by Auddymay
Peter, at BTT, has 4 Chows in his home at the moment, An adult male, a 2 year old female (his daughter), her sister from another litter, and most recently, a son from yet another litter. I think all are intact. He has had 3 generations of males at the same time as well. The secret, IMHO is that they came in as puppies and the hierarchy was already established.

Same *Censored Word* fighting can be a very real problem. The transient nature of rescue, coupled with extra emotional baggage can make for explosive mixes. I can see the wisdom of creating smaller social groups within the household. It may be harder logistically, but in the long run would probably be better for the Chows.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:44 am
by kiwani
Re: "Do you think we as humans need to impose on our rescues a hierarchy of who is alpha?"

I think it's important for a rescue to have a sense of peace, to know that they are safe, that the human is their caretaker and rule maker. It's important for them to be in a calm environment with a confident human who has emotional control.

Once a rescue is destressed, it's easier to build calming brain chemistry, easier to train, because they will have positive associations with the rescue experience. Until they are destressed, they have the potential for hyper-reactive behavior - due to factors such as poor breeding, hormone imbalances, poor health, prior negative experiences, poor socialization, etc. It's best to deal with them as 'impaired' individuals, not as 'bad' individuals, and to work on building their health and tweak brain chemistry. Any further stressors impede their progress.

I think it would be difficult to maintain a group of impaired Chows without incidents.

I think it would be easier to maintain a group of Chows who were properly socialized as pups, and bred well.

I know from experience, that it's possible to raise intact males together, but as I've mentioned before, the older male needs to play a large role in raising the pup too. The older male actually helps mold the brain chemistry of the underling.

Chows are independent thinkers, who need to feel respect for their human first. A pack of independent thinkers really doesn't work well as a group, even if the majority are submissive temperaments. It's harder to assemble a pack of submissive Chows from the rescue population.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:26 am
by luvchows
THANK YOU, KIWANI!! I have been struggling with a way to put all of this into words without rambling. You have summed up exactly what needed to be said PERFECTLY!!

In my experience, rescued chows need respect and patience, along with direction and guidance. Equally important is supporting their physical and emotional health. I have never had to “roll” a chow. I believe there are other, more subtle ways of getting the message across such as following the “Whose in charge here” suggestions.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:52 am
by chowfrnd88
Larry, those are excellent questions! I'm glad you asked all of them, I love it when people ask these types of questions in my classes too.

The responses you've gotten are excellent and I agree with all of them.

I'm sorry I'm not very good at keeping track of my sources like Kiwani I have no idea how she does it, I dog-ear so many pages in my books to talk about here but then I just have a million dog-eared pages! :D ). But here are a few of the books that I've read or am reading that explain the things you asked about very well:

-The other end of the leash by Patricia McConnell
-For the love of a dog by Patricia McConnell
-The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson
-The Power of Positive Dog Training by Pat Miller
The last two I haven't read cover to cover yet but there are scetions that address a lot of your questions.

I'll try to answer some of your questions now :D . On the rolling the dog:
1) yes, the above books go over that.
2-5)I've never done an alpha roll so I perosnally don't know, but here is an exerpt from the "Other End of the Leash":
"Even the Monks of New Skete, whose book How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend inspired me and at least a million people, advised owners to act like wolves and do 'alpha rollovers'... The books main author, Job Michael Evans, later said that he deeply regretted the advice. Well-socialized, healthy dogs don't pin other dogs to the ground. Submissive individuals initiate the posture themselves...Forcing dogs into 'submission' and screaming in their face is a great way to elicit defensive aggression..."
"wolves don't use alpha rollovers themselves to discipline other wolves." (In fact, in another book I read that the only time one wolf will stand over another wolf in that context is right before he kills the one he's standing over.)
She gives specific refereces at the end of her chapters, so you might get to specific studies that have looked at this.

Regarding your pack behavior questions, I think the others have answered those really well. Those books also talk about multiple dog households if you want to read naything more about it.

About the alpha questions, there's a lot said about that in the books also but I really agree with what Kiwani said. Here's another exerpt from "The Other End of the Leash" that sort of addresses this and goes back to the alpha rolls: "Rather than looking at the overall concept of social status, the focus in dog training has been on "dominance," and to the detriment of our dogs, dominance has often been equated with aggression. They are very differnt things, but confusing dominance with aggression is so common...the word has been so misused that it's tempting to drop it from our vocabulary altogether."
"...the misdiagnosis of dominance aggression and the all-too-common bad advice about 'getting dominance over your dog' does lead to trouble, lots it, and sometimes the results could break your heart." To give you an idea of this, I've spent almost the last ten years working with primates. In my job, I throw the words alpha and dominance around like it's nothing, but when I go into my training classes I never ever say any of those or even submissive because most people don't appreaciate the true bioogical meaning. But if I say to someone in my training classes that they need to be alpha (which I never have and never will), it carries the connotation of the alpha rolls and tugs on leashes and knees in the chest to get a dog to stop jumping. With that long, round about answer that's only somewhat related to your original question :D , all I mean is yes you can show leadership in subtle ways, and it is important when it comes to helping them realize that they can depend on you for safety.

Wow, I could talk about this stuff for hours! :D Hope I haven't annoyed you with these long, semi-related answers to your questions.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:18 am
by Larry Harris
All of your ideas and thoughts have been awesome thank you all. On my night stand are several books that are on my must read list. One near the top is "The Other End of the Leash"

It is interesting that even the monks at least at one point did roll their dogs. There was a TV show on about them, not sure it will be on this year.

New question: Do you think it has become more of a "do not roll" issue in the US over other countries?
1. In your country is rolling a dog for discipline an acceptable method of training out bad behaviour?

Thank you everyone, responses here and via PM are very well thought out and spoken from the heart.

I will say that the post about the changes in body chemistry and the written study really cought my attention.


Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 9:42 am
by chowfrnd88
I've seen the monk show (it's still on Animal Planet) and their training is still very much correction based. They usally pair their show with Victoria Stilwell's "It's Me or the Dog." I wish I could post all the relevant info from the books, but that would be a lot of typing! :lol:

Any of the books by Ian Dunbar (man interviewed in the link from Kiwani) come highly recommended too. Our behvaiorist recommended his (that's where I got the if they stand over another wolf like that they're planning on killing him) and Pat Miller's books to us.

As for your new question, that's really interesting. I know a few trainers who still prefer to use the aplha roll even here in the U.S. I think that although these ideas and studies have been around for a few years now, they are not exactly mainstream in some ways. (My question is why is there this division of "roll vs. don't" even though all these studies point to the adverse effects, I have a few guesses, but that's a whole other thread! :D ) I'm not sure how the views differ across the world. I can tell you that not many people bother to train their dogs in Hungary and from talking to a couple of my students, they said that in France they strongly oppose aversive methods like the alpha roll and especially corrective collars. But I wonder if maybe that is in one part of France vs. another.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:32 am
by kiwani
Re: "In your country is rolling a dog for discipline an acceptable method of training out bad behaviour?"

I feel it would be truer to say that what is known as 'wisdom traditions' live alongside 'mainstream cultural ideas' in many countries. Those of us raised within wisdom traditions, have certain disciplines, and viewpoints concerning the world around us. As mentioned earlier, what you label as 'bad' behavior, I would see as impaired or imbalanced, and I would concern myself with trying to balance it, not overpower it.

I feel that the current animal research is closer related to wisdom tradition methods, rather than the earlier training methods, which were based more on mainstream cultural ideas, based more on dominion, force, etc.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 10:42 am
by chowfrnd88
Beautifully put Kiwani. :D

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:25 pm
by Jeff&Peks
luvchows wrote:<<The dog whisperer can help you with the alpha questions. He thinks a dog is a dog.>>

I don't recall see any chows in his pack either!

A Chow would put the dog whisperer out of business, It would almost be worth it to take Pekoe to him and say lets see you whisper and film it.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 12:26 pm
by kingalls
"Alpha" does not mean physically dominant. It means "in control of resources." Many, many alpha dogs are too small or too physically frail to physically dominate. But they have earned the right to control the valued resources. An individual dog determines which resources he considers important. Thus an alpha dog may give up a prime sleeping place because he simply couldn't care less.

My dad had a black mutt named Bardol (like in Bardol oil :roll: )...who was just barely medium size but he was the alpha amongst bigger German Shephards. Toward the end of his life, his back legs became paralyzed yet he maintained his alpha position...when it was time for Bardol to cross the bridge, my dad took him to work with him in his truck. Bardol sat next to my dad all day...then they shared a bar of chocolate before Bardol was brought to the vet to cross the bridge.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:26 pm
by Larry Harris
Absolutely well spoken and easy to understand! The idea I am seeking thoughts on is have we in the US put a Political Correctness or applying human feeling/values on the training and keeping of our dogs? Or are they two separate things?

Having spent 20 years traveling the world I have had the fortune to have been in many countries. Some do not place dogs as companions but more as a nuisance or some as working dogs some as a meal. Is it a more acceptable practice to roll your dog onto its side outside of the US? I know we have members all over the world what are your thoughts?

We have our show dogs and working dogs but even there do we (US) have them at a higher social value then other animals. What I mean are we treating them more as a family member then a dog? Is this doing them harm? How are dogs supposed to act? Sorry starting to ramble.

kiwani, if it is not to personal can you tell us new members a little about yourself? You seem to have a lot of the ways of a dear friend of mine. He is and American Indian and his thoughts and practice are mother earth inspired and in balance with nature. He has taught me a great deal and is very highly respected and loved.


Converted Roller

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 1:55 pm
by Larry Harris
What is an alpha roll? An alpha roll is the act of flipping your dog onto his back and holding his throat. The idea for the alpha rollover technique was born from short-term studies done of wolf packs in the 1940s. Supposedly this training method will teach him that YOU are alpha and he will respect you for this act. This training method is now thought to be obsolete because it is dangerous for both the human performing the alpha roll and the dog being rolled.

Still like some feedback from other Chow owners and rescues about how rolling is viewed in your country.

Looks like Dog Rolling dates back to the 40's. Old flawed studies. With the great information shared here I am the first one to tell you I am a convert roller.

In parting is this like how to put babies to bed at night? That is one day it is on their tummy the next it is on their back

Keeping Chows separate now that is a new disscussion :lol:


Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 5:55 pm
by chowfrnd88
In parting is this like how to put babies to bed at night? That is one day it is on their tummy the next it is on their back

LOL, I think of it like we used to love laying out in the sun without sunblock and now we know that being in the sun without sunblock can casue cancer.

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 6:52 pm
by luvchows
<<Over the last few days since bringing Blue into the home we have been having similar problems. All is well and they are getting along then all of a sudden Tobias goes nuts and attacks Blue. Then all the rest jump in and attack Blue. Had one the other night and it took Terrina and me to break it up.

Last night it happened again, Blue and Tobias are next to me and faster then light Tobias grabs Blue and will not let go. Lots of teeth and elbows and a scream or two and Tobias in in his crate.

We work very hard at letting our boys know who is alpha but Tobias is having a tough time figuring this out. It is not with just Blue, sometimes Tobias just goes nuts after a dog. No rhyme or reason. No matter what I try he still tries to kill them.

I will try more exercise and spend some more time with Tobias, hope it helps he is my special boy. Sad thing is I never know when he is going to attack. He really does not show any sign I can read.

Sorry for babbleing on, just de-stressing after the big fight.


Larry, you remind me of those battered women we hear about that refuse to press charges against their abusive husbands because they believe, despite repeated beatings that they can control their abuser’s anger or that their husbands will change.

<<Keeping Chows separate now that is a new disscussion.>>

We chow lovers have all had the dream of being able to have a pack of chows running together in harmony. The difference is, some of us appreciate and recognize the chow breed for what it is and do not expect them to behave like golden retrievers or labs. If there were one trait about the chow breed many would change it would be the tendency toward same *Censored Word* aggression. There are bloodlines with more passive personalities, but let’s face it, in rescue we see mostly backyard breeder or mill chows that have been neglected and/or abused, not the most well bred, well cared for chows out there.

As a responsible care giver and pack leader, we need to do our best to insure their safety and well being while providing them socialization. I have found that two chows of the opposite *Censored Word* will work out day to day life, as nature intended, must like married couples do. They don’t fight over food (food is out all the time) or toys (out all the time too). The *Censored Word* chemistry between a male and female (all altered in my rescue) makes for a much calmer, peaceful existence. I have to believe the chows are happier that way than living with the constant battling that goes on in a large pack that is constantly changing when new chows come into rescue like you describe above.

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 2:32 am
by Larry Harris

Thank you for the insight. Maybe one of the major difference between us is my pack is 95% mixes. The majority of them have more traits of their mix then of a PB Chow?

We jsut do not see many PB's here, lots and lots of mixes. It breaks my heart we can not help them all.

I had not heard that same *Censored Word* aggression was a major trait of our much beloved Chows?

Tobias is my challenge, he has aggression towards some (rare) dogs with no known rhyme or reason. When blue was hear he (Blue) fit right in with all but him. We have noted it is more pronouched with intact males. Mybe he has more of the Chow blood line?


Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 6:11 am
by Larry Harris
Aggression toward dogs or other animals should not be considered abnormal or vicious. Chow Chows are not "pack" dogs and can be dog-aggressive toward other dogs of the same *Censored Word* even when spayed or neutered. Chows should not be kenneled in groups or with dogs of the same *Censored Word*.

Seems a lot of Chow rescues have the same feelings regarding Chows and a pack. I find it interesting that our mixes do so well and the PB's would rather be in pairs.

Learned something new! Thank you all and I am looking forward to more information sharing. What I do not want to happen is the feeling we see from some rescue groups. They for what ever reason do not want to work with other groups.

We very much want to work with other groups, it is what is best for the Chows needing homes.


Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 7:38 am
by luvchows
Larry, where did you get this quote?

Aggression toward dogs or other animals should not be considered abnormal or vicious. Chow Chows are not "pack" dogs and can be dog-aggressive toward other dogs of the same *Censored Word* even when spayed or neutered. Chows should not be kenneled in groups or with dogs of the same *Censored Word*.

<<What I do not want to happen is the feeling we see from some rescue groups. They for what ever reason do not want to work with other groups. We very much want to work with other groups, it is what is best for the Chows needing homes.>>

It is great to be willing to cooperate with other rescues. However, you need to decide up front what you are comfortable working with where other rescues are concerned. There are some rescues that feel strongly about making sure dogs are spayed and neutered before adoption. Others are comfortable adopting dogs out on spay and neuter contracts, but never follow up to make sure their dogs are ever altered. Some try to make certain their rescue dogs are medically healthy before adoption and then there are other rescues that will adopt out a dog without it ever having seen a vet. Keep in mind that your involvement with another rescue indicates your approval of their practices and procedures. Even though you may not agree with their practices, your association with them can and does reflect on your rescue.

Posted: Wed Sep 26, 2007 1:40 pm
by Larry Harris
Larry, where did you get this quote?

Aggression toward dogs or other animals should not be considered abnormal or vicious. Chow Chows are not "pack" dogs and can be dog-aggressive toward other dogs of the same *Censored Word* even when spayed or neutered. Chows should not be kenneled in groups or with dogs of the same *Censored Word*.

From the Wisconsin Chow Rescue Site. They rescued for 10 years then retired.

Not having 3 or more PB at anyone time I have not seen this behavior. I do not routinely see it in the mixes up to 12. It is deffintly not an everyday occurrence.