Rolling over is one of the most impressive tricks you can teach your dog. It’s something you can brag about when friends come over. Knowing how to teach your dog to roll over is easy with enough patience and the right methods. You start by teaching your dog the ‘down’ position then luring it with a yummy treat over the shoulder until it rolls over. Below, I discussed some effective steps to teach your dog how to do the rollover trick successfully.
How to teach your dog the down position
Before we dive into the ‘rollover’ steps, you first have to teach your dog how to do the down position. This is the starting position for the trick we’re trying to teach here. Unless your dog rolls by itself, you have some work to do.
The down command is a superior obedience skill taught on a dog. It teaches your dog to practice restraint and respect on your order. To teach the down position, you should do the following:
- Ask your dog to sit by bringing a treat close to its nose then raising it.
- Once your dog’s butt touches the floor, give it the treat.
- Do the sit command multiple times until your dog does it with less coaxing.
- Next, teach your dog the down command by offering a treat while it’s on sitting position.
- Lower the treat slowly, ensuring that your dog follows it down.
- Your dog should lower its head and rest its chest down.
- The moment your dog goes on a ‘down’ position, give it the treat.
- Repeat these steps until your dog does the down command quickly.
How to teach your dog the roll over trick
To teach the rollover trick, you need a few treats and the following steps:
- Step 1. Ask your dog to follow the ‘down’ command.
Once your dog is on a down position, kneel beside it while holding a tasty treat. Place the treat near your dog’s nose to get its attention. Once your dog is hooked, move your hand with the treat toward its shoulder.
- Step 2. Let your dog lay on its side
By luring your dog to follow the treat over its shoulder, you’re encouraging the pup to lay on its side. Repeat this until your dog lays on its side after your command. Make sure that your dog drops its shoulder to the ground as preparation for the rollover command. If your dog tries to paw or retrieve the treat harshly, say a firm ‘No!’ then start over.
Hot tip: your dog lying flat on one side is also a trick known as the ‘dead dog’. You can add it up on your dog’s trick list.
- Step 3. Do the roll
While your dog is lying on its side, move the treat toward its backbone. This will make your dog roll over on its back. Your dog will naturally follow the treat as long as it’s smelly and tasty. Repeat this until your dog follows the command seamlessly.
- Step 4. Proofing the command
Once your dog is rolling on its back, you should also add the verbal command ‘rollover’ or ‘roll’. This will let your dog acknowledge your commands next time you ask it to roll over. Repeat it many times until your dog responds well to your cue.
- Step 5. Fade the reward
If your dog is already mastering the command, it’s time to fade the lure. This is important so your dog can perform the trick without a food reward.
You can do this by not holding any treat while commanding your dog. If it rolls over, retrieve a treat from your pocket. This will let your dog be used to following the command even without a reward in sight. Over time, you can shed the treats entirely. You should also slowly remove the treat, so your dog won’t consider it as a bribe to do the rollover trick.
My dog won’t roll over!
What if your dog isn’t learning how to roll over? Chances are you’re rushing the process. Each dog is different, especially when it comes to their intelligence level. You may need to break down the steps even more and train your dog to do it.
For example, you should train your dog to sit first for a week, then the down command for another week. Next, you should teach your dog to lay on its side on the succeeding days. Taking it slowly and surely will fix the problem of your dog not rolling over.
Besides that, be lavish with treats, but make sure that you don’t go beyond your pet’s diet. Stay patient and don’t lose hope. Your dog needs more time to absorb the new rollover trick you’re teaching.
Also, never teach two tricks at a time. Take it one step at a time so your dog won’t be confused or overwhelmed.
Some dos and don’ts of teaching your dog some tricks
- DO break down the process in smaller parts so your pet can understand it faster and easier. This will save both of you time and patience while teaching your dog to roll over.
- DON’T use violence. Punishing your dog will only waste all your effort. Your dog will be reluctant to do the trick because it already associated training with something negative.
- DO give your dog some time. Allow your dog to learn the rollover trick slowly. If your dog wants to rest, let it be. Pushing it to the limits will only make the training loathsome.
- DON’T chase after your dog. If your dog runs away while you’re teaching how to roll over, don’t chase after it. Lure it with a treat instead, so your pup will learn that going back is better than running away.
- DO enjoy your time. While teaching your dog to roll over is challenging, you should still enjoy your time. This a bonding moment for you and your dog, so it has to be fun and enjoyable.
- DON’T reward negative behavior. Never give your dog a treat if it doesn’t do the trick. This will only defeat the purpose of the training. Your dog will think that it’s okay to defy your commands because he will get the reward anyway.
How to teach your dog to roll over is a fun bonding moment. While it’s not always easy, you should give your dog some time to absorb the new command. Most of all, be patient and never lose your temper. Remember that punishments and violence will do no good. It will only create problems that you’d have to address later on. Yummy treats and consistency will go a long way here.