Dogs are some of the most inquisitive and intelligent animals on the planet, which is why we love them so much. Most owners want their dogs to learn as many tricks as possible. Some tricks are more difficult to teach, but training your dog to roll over is quite simple, especially with positive reinforcement.
The Rollover Trick Is Both Useful and Adorable
Teaching your dog to roll over is undoubtedly charming, but it is also useful. Imagine you need to check your dog’s belly. Teaching your dog this trick will make these checks much easier and less traumatic for you both.
Teach Your Dog to Lie Down First
If your dog does not know the “lie down” trick, teach it first. The roll-over trick is a natural transition from the lie-down trick. If your dog already knows how to lie down, it is going to be much easier to teach rollover.
Choose the Right Reinforcer
The reinforcer should be something your dog loves. It should be easy to offer repeatedly. Most dogs respond best to tasty treats, but your dog may be different. You can use store-bought dog treats or cut up hotdogs, cheese, or lunch meat. Choose a reinforcer that truly excites your dog.
Choose an Effective Signal
Your dog needs to associate the reinforcer with the exact action that earned them the treat. Dog training hand signals are an excellent way to teach your dog. Giving the signal at a precise time will let your dog know each time they perform the roll-over trick, they will receive a treat.
If your dog has not learned hand signals and you do not have a clicker, a verbal signal works effectively. For instance, you can say, “Good” at the precise moment your dog rolls over and then immediately offer a treat. The more precise you become with the signal, the better your dog will learn a variety of tricks.
Step-by-Step Guide to Teach Your Dog How to Roll Over
Training your dog to roll over is not overly difficult and involves six steps. Once your dog has mastered this trick, it will be easy to offer the command and give a reward. If you follow these steps, your dog will soon master the roll-over trick and may even perform it without a cue.
1. Begin with lie down.
Teaching your dog to roll over begins with first instructing it to lie down. Ask your dog to lie down in front of you. Give your dog a treat, and kneel beside your dog, near its head. You will hold a treat in front of your dog’s nose. Immediately, your dog will become interested in the scent. You will use the dog’s interest to perform the next step of the trick.
2. Use the treat to coax your dog into position.
Next, you will use luring to get your dog to move into position. Luring is a training tactic that uses a small treat to get a dog to follow. You will find luring can be used for teaching multiple tricks.
Move the treat from your dog’s nose to their shoulder, causing them to look back as they follow the treat. Remember to give the hand signal, click, or verbal mark. Immediately offer a treat for obedience. Practice this a few times, and your dog should easily look at its shoulder each time.
3. Coax your dog to its side.
Once your dog is back in the down position, move your hand from its shoulder to its backbone. The dog should follow your hand and naturally move to its side or back. If successful, immediately give a verbal mark, hand signal, or click and then offer a treat.
Repeat this part of the trick several times. Eventually, your dog will become quick at moving to its side and may even venture to lie on its back. Once your dog learns this part of the trick, the rest of the instruction will be very easy.
As a word of caution, training aggressive dogs is sometimes difficult and will involve more patience. Take time with your dog and watch for cues it is under stress or becoming aggravated. If you see these signs, wait until another time to practice the roll-over trick.
4. Coax your dog to its back and then over.
Some dogs reach the ability to move to their backs in step three. If this is your dog, then you are almost there with finalizing the instruction.
Once your dog is on its side, move your hand from its shoulder, in a curved motion, to its backbone. Given a dog’s natural curiosity, this should encourage it to roll to its back.
As soon as your dog successfully moves to its back, offer your chosen mark and then a tasty treat. Practice this repeatedly, until your dog feels more comfortable performing this portion of the trick with ease.
5. Mark, Treat, and Repeat
Start in the down position and go through the motions until your dog rolls over. Be patient. Your dog may not be consistent in the beginning. Continue practicing, and do not forget to give the mark and offer a treat every time. Eventually, your dog will become a pro at rolling over.
6. Remove the Treat and Offer a Mark
With a lot of practice, your dog will become more confident in rolling over. Once you see the dog is performing the trick easily, remove the treat from your hand. In the beginning, you will still need to use your hand to direct your dog. Eventually, and with plenty of practice, your dog should do this trick with the mark alone. Whether you use a train your dog with a clicker, verbal mark, or a hand signal, teaching your dog should be consistent.
Practice Makes Perfect
Teaching the roll-over trick is not overly difficult, but it takes practice . It may take a few days to learn the trick. It is important to practice for a few minutes each day. Do not worry if your dog does not master this trick right away. Some dogs take longer to learn than others.
Tips for Training Your Dog to Roll Over
Training a dog is not difficult if you are patient and remain committed. Dogs naturally like to please their owners. The following offers some tips that should make training much easier.
- Start working on this trick as soon as possible. Puppies around the age of 12-14 weeks should have enough attention span to listen to simple commands. Even older dogs can learn this trick with ease.
- Never forget the mark or treats. These are essential for teaching any trick.
- To avoid overwhelming your dog, break the trick down into the steps above, and practice them slowly. Do not push mastering the entire trick in one session.
- If you notice your dog is making a lot of mistakes while learning the trick, you may be advancing too quickly. Go back to the beginning and slowly move through the steps until each is mastered.
- Some dogs dislike showing their bellies. If your dog enjoys a good belly rub, entice it to continue the trick by rubbing its belly. Some dogs will naturally learn to roll over simply because they love their bellies being rubbed.
- Do not use an overly stern voice, even if your dog messes up with commands. Use light and positive voice throughout each training session.
- Training should be fun and exciting for you both. Keep the mood light and laugh at mistakes. If you put your dog under too much pressure, it may not perform well.
- Do not train your dog for over ten minutes at a time. Spending too much time on training could cause your dog to become disinterested or tired.
After a session of instructional training, take your dog out for a fun walk or a game of fetch. Do not be surprised if your dog curls up in its favorite sleep position and takes a nap after so much excitement.
FAQ About Teaching Dogs to Roll Over
Teaching the roll-over trick often brings about questions from owners. The following offers information on the most frequently asked questions regarding training dogs to roll over.
1. Is the roll-over trick bad for dogs?
Teaching a dog to roll over is a safe trick for small dogs, but some vets caution repeatedly asking large dogs, like Dobermans, to roll over. Some dogs may develop intestinal twisting. This is a trick that is best reserved for small to mid-sized dogs.
2. What is a good trick to teach your dog?
While many tricks are fun to teach your dog, there is one that is necessary for keeping it safe. Teaching your dog the stay command is essential. If you take your dog outdoors or around others, it needs to know how to behave. Training a dog to stay will ensure it knows to follow a command instead of running into traffic or towards a person.
Training Dogs Is Rewarding
Training your dog to roll over and perform other tricks is rewarding, and your dog will love making you happy. Enjoy the time spent with your dog and make each training session a special event. Eventually, your dog will become an old pro at performing multiple tricks. This training keeps your dog obedient and motivated, whether at home or out in public.