How to Teach a Dog to Roll Over

“Roll over” is an advanced trick for your dog, but it looks cute and impressive, and it’s pretty easy to teach. It will require patience and lots of treats. The best way for teaching this trick is to break down the training into parts:

  • Setting up.
  • Teaching.
  • Perfecting.

And these parts can be split into steps. Let’s get started

Set Up for Training

We will need some previous requirements met before starting with the training. These aren’t indispensable but would be better to have them.

Laying Down

Your dog should know the “lie down” command since this is the starting point for rolling over. You could start with him laying on his side, it’ll be easier for the dog.

The Rewards

Treats are a crucial part of this training. Of course, you could teach your dog to roll over without them, but it will be tons of times easier if you have some. Just remember that punishment should never be a way to teach a dog new skills.

There are some training bites, that are specially designed for training. These are small, so the dog won’t feel satisfied too fast and keeps putting attention to them.

The Classroom

The space where the dog is learning the trick, it’s as important as the rest of the items. He must feel safe and comfortable in this space, it also has to have plenty of floor space and lastly needs to be free of most distractions.

Once your dog has learned to roll over, he can start practicing it on open spaces, the street, etc.

Teaching How to Roll Over

With your dog in the lie-down position and treats in hand, it’s time to begin.

Hold The Treat Near The Dog’s Face

You need to hold the bite between your fingers, very close to the dog’s snout, so he can smell and taste it. Just make sure he can’t snatch it from your hand.

Move The Treat

Rotate the treat around your dog’s head, move it behind his head slowly, and always close to his face, so he can follow. Once the body rolls, say “roll over”, give him the reward and positive reinforcement.

Help Your dog

At first, he might not land properly, and it’s fine to help him as you keep practicing. The more time you keep doing this, the most positive reinforcement will have your dog for doing it on his own later.

Stop Guiding with Treats

This doesn't mean stop giving rewards for successful roll over attempts, this points to stop helping the dog using treats to guide the movement to rolling over. Use the command, if the dog successfully rolls over, praise him and give him a treat.

Reaching this point may take time and several training sessions. There’s no reason to push through steps, each dog learns at his own pace.

Perfecting The Trick

This is the final part of this lesson, once you're finished, you can say your dog has mastered the “roll over”.

No More Treats

Once your dog recognizes the command, he will likely be expecting a treat once he’s finished. Slowly, stop giving treats on success to finish not giving any. The point of this is to teach your dog what you’re expecting when you say “roll over”.

Move Outside

If your pup has learned all the steps before, you may want to teach him to do it outside, where distractions may occur. You should use treats when start practicing in a new location, and gradually stop giving them.

Try on various places, to make sure he doesn’t associate the command with specific places.

Practice with People

Add some friends to the equation, and start practicing. Let your friends praise him every time he succeeded. They could even try giving the roll over command, so he learns to respond to other voices.

This would be the last step to finally say your dog has learned the trick.

How Long Teaching “Roll Over” Takes

This is surely the fastest way to train your dog for doing it. Yet the time will be determined by him, not all dogs learn at the same rate. Patience is the key, don't push your dog early into the next step. Help him understand what you’re wanting him to do.

Finally, neither your dog nor you need to get frustrated because of the training. This has to be an enjoyable bonding time for you and him. If you feel like he’s dispersed, or you start getting short-tempered, it’s better to cut it out and continue the next day.

Remember that a well-trained dog will help his mental health and will keep him happy.