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How to Teach a Dog to Roll Over

Today I’m going to show you a step by step guide for how to teach a dog to roll over. This is a great trick that is fun to show your family and friends and will help strengthen your bond with your dog. This trick also demonstrates a great deal of trust that your dog has in you. When I say that, I mean that when your dog rolls over, he is exposing his belly to you, which is a very submissive position, which he would not show you if he didn’t trust you greatly.Dog rolling over

Before We Get Started

You should try to find a quiet place to train that is free from distractions. Your dog should also have a reliable Down Command before attempting to teach him to roll over. I also recommend having a clicker and a handful of training treats to use for leading and rewarding. The biggest thing to bring to the training session is patience. Rolling over is not an easy trick to learn, and if you get frustrated easily, it will hurt your dog’s confidence and take him even longer to learn the trick. Lastly, decide on what sort of hand signal and verbal command you want to use. Personally, I use the command “Over!” and my hand signal is a horizontal, counterclockwise “wax-on” motion above my dog’s head. My palm is also flat similar to my Down hand signal.

Steps for Teaching a Dog to Roll Over

The steps for teaching a dog to roll over are actually very simple; it’s the execution that is challenging.

  1. Give your dog a Down command.
  2. Hold a treat in front of his nose and move the treat down the side of his body toward his back hip, keeping the treat near the ground. His instinct is going to be to stand up to follow the treat. If that happens, say “No” and then start again at step 1. If it continues to be a problem after several attempts, you can place your free hand above his back and gently hold him down so he cannot stand up.
  3. As you move the treat toward his back hip, say “Roll Over”; the desired reaction is for the dog to roll over to lay on his side to continue to follow the treat. As soon as he rolls to his side, bring the treat up and over his chest, so he can continue rolling over to follow the treat.  Leading dog with treat roll over
  4. Once he fully rolls over, you can click your clicker and reward him with a treat. Be sure to heap on the praise.
  5. Repeat from the beginning until you have a reliable Roll Over command.

There you have it! Like I said, the steps are pretty easy and straight forward, but the execution can be tricky. Remember to be patient.

Advanced Roll Over

As your dog gets better at rolling over on verbal command, start introducing your hand signal and stop leading him with a treat. You can also start to introduce distractions, increase distance between yourself and the dog while giving the command, and make him hold the down position for a longer duration after rolling over before rewarding him with the treat.

For more help, check out this video demonstration from Stephen McKay and “Scorch” the Border Collie from Port Chester Obedience Training Club:

Nate

4 Comments

  1. Totally agree with dogs trust and love shows when they roll over, not only is it submissive its soft and vulnerable.

    I miss having a dog and trieng to tech them new tricks,

    My favorite was training them to shake your hand with both paws.

    Would you say that its true you cant teach old dogs new tricks

    • Hey Steven thanks for visiting! I would say 100% that you CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Many times a dog may have learned a command previously and you may be trying to teach him the same trick using a different verbal cue or hand signal than he is used to. Senior dogs also tend to be more stubborn and you may need to bring out the “super-yummy” treats and a huge dose of patience to get them to learn the command. Ultimately if you stay consistent and patient, you will have success.

  2. I love these kinds of sites, they’re always a source of inspiration on how to train and look after your pet, particularly dogs.
    Training my dog to roll over was easy for me because she did it without prompting but I’m sure that was just a fluke. She lived ’till she was 17. We are now about to get another dog/s and I can’t wait.
    Although our previous dogs were really good and didn’t need much training, I do look forward to putting all this new training knowledge into practice and help keep our dog/s mentally stimulated as well as obedient. Thanks, great site. Ches

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