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Dog Training 101: Teach Your Dog to Roll Over

basic dog obedience trainingOne of the most fun and rewarding things to do with your dog is trick training. It's engaging for your dog and everyone loves showing off their pet's new tricks. Trick training also strengthens the bond that you share with your dog. So I think we can all agree this is something we all should do.

The good news is trick training is easy! And it only requires patience and treats. There are numerous types of tricks you can teach. Some examples are shake, high five, speak, and the list goes on and on. But today I want to focus on "roll over".

Over the years I have seen this trick turned into all types of fun queues. And you can easily build new tricks off of roll over. As you go through this you will see that your dog will start to offer new and funny behaviors. This is because he is learning that this pays off in a big way.

treat training prepSet Up for Training Success

So lets get started! First, you need to make sure the training environment is set up for you dog to succeed. This should be a pretty simple task. Here is a checklist of things to do.

  • Ensure your dog is hungry and energetic. You can train right before a meal.
  • Remove as many distractions as you can, including other pets.
  • Have many soft training treats that are cut up into very small pieces.
  • Make sure both you and your dog are ready to have fun!

Setting the training environment up like this is very important. It will allow your dog to focus on you. And the training will be much more enjoyable for you both. The treats are important because most dogs will work for the food and it is an easy teaching tool. Finally, if you do not have the right attitude, you may end up frustrated. And that is not what we want at all!

You can use high value toys in place of treats. Some dogs respond better to toys than treats. The process is the same, though you may find the timing a bit more difficult with a toy. 

Step-by-Step Guide to Teaching Roll Over

  1. Get your dog to lie down.
  2. Move the treat slowly over his back.
  3. Reward each time he rolls to reach the treat.
  4. Move the treat all the way around your dog for a full roll.
  5. Say the command when he rolls.

training roll over

It will be easier if your dog is lying down. Start by using a small piece of treat to lure your dog with. To do this simply take the treat in your hand in a way your dog can smell the treat but cannot eat it. I usually do this by keeping it tight between my index and middle finger.

Now, take your hand and put it close to your dog's nose. Slowly lure him to one side and start moving your hand over his back. You should do this slowly so he doesn't feel the need to get up. If your dog is a little hesitant at first, you can give the reward each time he makes progress. Think baby steps!

Your dog will slowly start to roll over to follow the treat. Make sure your reward every time he does this. Eventually your dog will make the full roll onto his back and follow through to the other side. Once this happens, you want to immediately reward him. And really make a big deal about it so he gets excited about his accomplishment!

After this happens, you should see the full trick happen faster and faster with each try. When your dog gets to the point that he is rolling over fairly quickly, you can add the cue. Here is where you can get creative. You can simply use Roll Over. Or something else you find witty or fun but short. And over time and repetition, your dog will put two and two together and be able to roll over on command.

This can be the start of many different tricks. And you can get creative with different variances off of this. Maybe you can try Play Dead or Show Me Your Belly.

This is something the whole family can do and enjoy together. So go out and put this to the test and have some fun with your dog. And remember, stay patient and motivated!

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