by Kelli McCoy (Senior Instructor with Partners Dog Training School, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Certified Trick Dog Instructor - Email)
Roll over is one of the most classic dog tricks... But not always the easiest!
Learning to roll can be a little confusing for the dogs and requires them to be in a somewhat vulnerable position so take your time and be patient for this one! Once your dog gets the idea it is pretty easy to finish it off! All of my dogs roll over at this point, and I can tell you the bigger they are the funnier it is…. Legs and tails flying about and bodies wiggling, roll over is quite entertaining! Grab those little treats that your dog loves and here we go with roll over.
We are going to break this up into tiny baby steps...
Start with your dog in a down position, and you should be kneeling on the floor in front of your pup. Take that treat and get your pup’s nose “magnetized” to it. Yep, once again we are using the luring technique! Noticing a theme? Slowly lure your dog’s nose close to their shoulder blade; this should cause them to kind of flop to the side, once your dog is on their side mark it with the “Yes!” and give the treat. Once your dog is pretty comfortable flipping to her side, using that treat capture her nose and lure them so we can see belly and then all the way over! Give that “Yes!” and treat. Once that is going well go all the way over so Fluffy is again in that down position.
Let the good times "Roll"
When your dog understands the cycle of roll over slowly introduce the command; I use “Roll!” you can always use the whole thing and say “Roll Over!” just remember that is a lot to say and sometimes the shorter commands are best! Now your dog is doing “Roll!” on command and you are, of course, marking with a “Yes! Good Roll!” and a treat try and stand and just use a hand signal and command. I use my index finder and use a circular motion as the hand signal for roll. If that is a little confusing for your pup just go back down to her level and lure her a little and try it again! Eventually it will all connect.
Ok, we aren't Rolling...
Now it is time for troubleshooting! If your dog is just really struggling with the whole process and you can’t even get her to flop to her side, try the other side. Dogs can be “right-pawed” or “left-pawed” and the other side may be easier for her to feel comfortable moving to. One of the biggest temptations is to “help” your dog over by rolling her yourself... Although it is tempting I would recommend you not do that. This sometimes startles Fluffy and makes her fight the natural progression of rolling all the way over. Just be patient and keep going!
Here's Roll Over in real time!
The beginning of the video breaks down roll over in parts so you can see the progression! (Yeah.. Nessy got a little goofy at the end... Think she was dizzy?)
Well, I hope you enjoyed spending time with your puppy and teaching this fun new trick! Time with your dog is always time well spent. Whether it is taking a nice stroll, throwing the ball or teaching her to roll over!
Meet the star...
Nessy is my 5 year old German Shepherd, she is protection and detection trained... But LOVES to do goofy tricks! She is also a dock diving fanatic!