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How to Train Your Dog to Roll Over

You have successfully trained your dog to sit, stay and lie down, and now you're ready to move on to an advanced command: roll over. This trick looks impressive and it's pretty simple to teach. Set up the trick by making sure your dog knows basic steps. Then, learn how to train your dog to roll over using a simple reward technique. Have fun practicing and your dog will be rolling over in no time.

 

Step 1:

 

Give your dog the command to "lie down." Your dog will start the "roll over" trick in a lying down position, resting on his stomach with his paws in front of him and his head lifted. From this position, he'll be able to roll over easily.

 

Step 2:

 

Hold a treat near your dog's face. Crouch down and hold a treat where the dog can see and smell it, close to his face. Close your fingers around the treat to make sure he can't snatch it from your hand before the trick is completed.   (FYI - If your dog tends to snatch treats quickly, make sure to watch your fingers so you don’t get bit.)

 

Step 3:

 

Move the treat and say, "roll over". Rotate the treat up and around your dog’s head so that his nose follows the treat. Where the nose goes, the head and body will usually follow. If you lead your dog’s nose with the treat along a path that will cause your dog to roll over as he follows it, your dog will roll over.  Say "roll over" in a clear and friendly voice while you move the treat around the side of his head.  The key is to get your dog to associate the spoken command with the physical move of rolling over.  You can use a hand signal by making a rolling motion with your hand. Or you can give a verbal and physical signal simultaneously.

 

Step 4:

 

Keep practicing.  Use your free hand to gently help your dog roll over if he's not quite getting the move on his own. Practice the trick repeatedly because this can be a tricky move for a dog to make.  As you practice, reward your dog with a treat as he makes moves in the right direction. This will encourage him to keep trying.  Your dog might get frustrated if you wait to reward him until he rolls over completely. Don’t forget to praise your dog in a kind, excited voice.  The repeated rewards will reinforce this new behavior. Once he knows what you expect, you can give treats less frequently.

 

Step 5:

 

Practice until your dog can roll over without needing a treat. Once your dog knows what you expect when you say, “roll over,” change the way you treat your dog.  Don't offer a treat every time.  Slowly stretch out the time between treats and gradually give random or less appealing treats.  This will keep your dog from expecting a treat every single time he rolls over. Keeping it unpredictable will also keep your dog interested in performing the trick.   Continue rewarding with verbal praise (like "good boy") and affectionate petting.

 

Step 6:

 

Practice in new locations with distractions. This will continue to challenge your dog and prevent him from only associating the new trick with the training space.  Start practicing outside, first with a treat, then without. A dog park is a great place to practice, with lots of distractions.

 

Never use punishment as a way to train your dog. Dogs do not understand negative reinforcement and they won't learn new tricks as a result of it. In fact, negative tones or forcing your dog to perform tricks may cause your dog to associate the trick with feeling fear.

 

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You have successfully trained your dog to sit, stay and lie down, and now you're ready to move on to an advanced command: roll over. This trick looks impressive and it's pretty simple to teach. Set up the trick by making sure your dog knows basic steps. Then, learn how to train your dog to roll over using a simple reward technique. Have fun practicing and your dog will be rolling over in no time.

 

Step 1:

 

Give your dog the command to "lie down." Your dog will start the "roll over" trick in a lying down position, resting on his stomach with his paws in front of him and his head lifted. From this position, he'll be able to roll over easily.

 

Step 2:

 

Hold a treat near your dog's face. Crouch down and hold a treat where the dog can see and smell it, close to his face. Close your fingers around the treat to make sure he can't snatch it from your hand before the trick is completed.   (FYI - If your dog tends to snatch treats quickly, make sure to watch your fingers so you don’t get bit.)

 

Step 3:

 

Move the treat and say, "roll over". Rotate the treat up and around your dog’s head so that his nose follows the treat. Where the nose goes, the head and body will usually follow. If you lead your dog’s nose with the treat along a path that will cause your dog to roll over as he follows it, your dog will roll over.  Say "roll over" in a clear and friendly voice while you move the treat around the side of his head.  The key is to get your dog to associate the spoken command with the physical move of rolling over.  You can use a hand signal by making a rolling motion with your hand. Or you can give a verbal and physical signal simultaneously.

 

Step 4:

 

Keep practicing.  Use your free hand to gently help your dog roll over if he's not quite getting the move on his own. Practice the trick repeatedly because this can be a tricky move for a dog to make.  As you practice, reward your dog with a treat as he makes moves in the right direction. This will encourage him to keep trying.  Your dog might get frustrated if you wait to reward him until he rolls over completely. Don’t forget to praise your dog in a kind, excited voice.  The repeated rewards will reinforce this new behavior. Once he knows what you expect, you can give treats less frequently.

 

Step 5:

 

Practice until your dog can roll over without needing a treat. Once your dog knows what you expect when you say, “roll over,” change the way you treat your dog.  Don't offer a treat every time.  Slowly stretch out the time between treats and gradually give random or less appealing treats.  This will keep your dog from expecting a treat every single time he rolls over. Keeping it unpredictable will also keep your dog interested in performing the trick.   Continue rewarding with verbal praise (like "good boy") and affectionate petting.

 

Step 6:

 

Practice in new locations with distractions. This will continue to challenge your dog and prevent him from only associating the new trick with the training space.  Start practicing outside, first with a treat, then without. A dog park is a great place to practice, with lots of distractions.

 

Never use punishment as a way to train your dog. Dogs do not understand negative reinforcement and they won't learn new tricks as a result of it. In fact, negative tones or forcing your dog to perform tricks may cause your dog to associate the trick with feeling fear.