Firstly, teach the dog how to lie down. Teaching the dog to lie down is the first step in teaching it to roll over, as rolling over begins from the lying down position. If the dog doesn’t respond to the “lie down” command, you should teach it to lie down first.
Have small treats ready in your hand. Dogs are eager to please, and with food rewards, they will learn enthusiastically. You can use dog treats bought from a pet store, peanut bits, ham, bacon, or any other food that your dog likes. Prepare plenty of treats because teaching a dog to roll over requires multiple practice sessions.
If you don’t want to use treats, you can use a clicker. Clickers are often used in dog training and can replace food as a reward for specific behaviours. If you don’t have a clicker, you can use a ballpoint pen with a retractable tip as a substitute.
How to Train a Dog to Roll Over
Find a suitable training room. The training room for the dog should be comfortable and free from distractions. Once the dog learns to roll over indoors in a quiet environment, you can then train it outdoors or in public places.
Choose a spacious room as the dog will need some space to move around. Inform others in the house that you are training the dog to avoid interruptions.II. Teach the Dog to Roll Over
Make the dog lie down. Lying down is the first step in rolling over. The correct lying down posture is with the belly against the ground, front legs extended forward, and the head lifted. Rolling over from this position is easy and safe.
Hold the treat in front of the dog. Crouch down and hold the treat in front of the dog so that it can see and smell the treat. Then hold onto the treat, so the dog won’t grab it until it performs the correct action.
Place the treat to one side of its head and say “roll over.” When saying “roll over,” be clear and friendly in your tone. Use the treat to draw an arc from above its head to the floor, causing the dog’s head to follow the treat’s movement. Then, hope that its body will also follow the movement. This step might be challenging for the dog and requires consistent practice. The key to success is associating the verbal command with the action of rolling over.
If the dog doesn’t understand how to roll over by itself, you can help it by gently guiding its movement with your free hand. Be gentle when nudging the dog; if it’s unwilling, don’t force it to roll over. Some dogs don’t like exposing their belly, so if your dog is particularly resistant, try a different approach to training. Avoid shouting at or punishing the dog. Dogs don’t respond well to forceful methods and using force will only make the dog fear you.
Reward the dog when it successfully rolls over. Even if you assisted the dog in rolling over, you should still reward it. Pat its head and say “good dog.”
Continue training until the dog can roll over without assistance. After a few attempts, the dog should be able to roll over on its own. At this point, you won’t need to wave the treat above its head anymore. Stand up, give the command to roll over, and if it follows the command, reward it again.
Refine the Dog’s Rolling Over Skill
Keep practising until the dog can roll over without needing a reward. Some obedient dogs quickly learn to roll over without needing a reward. A pat on the head and praise will be sufficient. Use different commands and finally say “roll over” to have the dog perform a charming trick.
Practice with the dog in high-pressure environments. After the dog has learned to roll over indoors, you can take it outdoors, where there are more distractions. Begin with using rewards as a training method, then gradually phase out the rewards. Eventually, practice with people around.