Every dog needs command training; sit, stay, come and lie down are some of the most popular commands to teach. Some owners are satisfied when their dog can follow a few simple orders, but others want more. Learning how to train a dog to roll over is a logical progression.
The great thing about this trick is that it looks really impressive, but it's so simple to teach. Fido will need to know a few basic commands before you can move on to learn how to train a dog to roll over. Make sure he already fully comprehends how to sit and lie down.
If he has these two basic commands down, it's time to teach him to roll over. As with any command training, you'll need something to motivate your dog. Treats work well, but a favorite toy could be used as well. If your dog is energetic, it's best to work with him when he's a bit tired; it will be easier for him to concentrate this way.
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How To Train A Dog To Roll Over
As you'll notice in my video, our chocolate Labrador is EXTREMELY food motivated. That's why I chose to use treats while training her. Saddie is a pretty silly girl, as you'll see in the video, but for her first effort I think she did a really great job.
If you choose to use a food motivator, make sure that it is low in calories. Lean lunch meat or healthy, safe commercial dog treats that are specifically made for training both work well. Each treat should have less than 10 calories, and less than 5 calories is ideal.
You'll be using a lot of treats when learning how to train a dog to roll over, and you don't want Fido gaining weight because of it.
Once you have your motivator, it's time to begin learning how to train a dog to roll over. Find a room that offers a lot of open floor space. You'll also want to limit distractions, so keep other pets and unneeded family members out of the room.
Start with your dog lying down. If you can get him to lie on his side, that would be even better. This will help him initially learn to roll all the way over. Close your fist around the treat and show it to your dog. Allow him to sniff your fist so he knows the treat is in there.
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With the treat enclosed in your fist, move your hand up and around your dog's head. As I demonstrate in the video guide above, you'll want to repeat this motion while saying the command “roll over.” As your dog moves his nose to follow the treat, it's likely that his body will follow.
I had to help Saddie roll over the first few times, and it's likely that you'll have to do that with your pup as well. Keep the hand with the treat repeating the motion, and use your free hand to help push your pet's body over. Once he's completed the roll be sure to use a lot of praise and give him his reward.
Continue practicing frequently. You'll be able to gradually reduce the rewards as your dog gets the hang of it. When learning how to train a dog to roll over, you start by using lots of treats and then gradually reduce the frequency.
After Fido has learned the basic movement of rolling over, turn your closed fist into a hand signal. You can still use a fist, but I suggest opening one finger into a point (like the photo above demonstrates). This way your dog will know that you aren't holding a treat, but he's still expected to obey the command.
Continue working and practicing until your dog has it down. Once he understands the command and performs it on cue, you can add in some distractions like other pets or people. You can even take him outside to practice rolling over in the grass! This trick is sure to be a crowd pleaser at the dog park.