Teaching your dog to roll over is great fun but can be one of the more challenging tricks to learn. In this guide we’ll walk you through some top tips you need to train your dog to roll over on command.
Pro tip: this is also a great springboard to other tricks such as playing dead, so if you want your dog to be a master magician to wow all your friends, and give your pooch plenty of challenges and fun, it’s worth starting with this one before advancing to other more impressive tricks.
How to train your dog to roll over
- Ask your dog for a down position, with their tummy and chin fully on the ground.
- Once they are down, crouch down close by and hold a treat in between your fingers with the treat close to their nose with your palm facing upwards.
- Use your hand to guide their nose towards their shoulder. You’ll need to roll your hand over, so that your arm is arched over their head.
- As their nose tracks the treat, they should naturally lay on their side. Give them the treat at this stage and lots of praise. Remember, it can be daunting for a dog to begin the roll over motion at first, so this is the first big achievement towards rolling over.
- Keep practicing the same movement until your dog is comfortable laying on their side.
- Once they’ve mastered this, repeat the move but continue to motion of your hand around their head to the other side of your dog’s face. As their nose follows the treat your dog should begin to roll over onto their other side. As soon as they make the flip, release the treat.
- Practice this several times. Rolling over can be a bit daunting at first for dogs and is something that becomes easier once they’ve done it a few times.
- Once your dog is happily rolling over for their treat add a command such as “roll over” as they flip.
- Keep practicing this until your dog understands the command. At this stage, you should be able to ask them to roll over then give them a treat, rather than leading with it.
Troubleshooting tips for training your dog to roll over
My dog just won’t roll over
If your dog won’t roll over, go back a few steps and practice just getting them to follow the treat with their nose until they are on their side. Master this for a few weeks or more before moving on to a full roll. This will help to build confidence and reassurance, making the full roll much easier when the time comes.
My dog won’t roll over without treats
If you dog is looking for the treat before rolling over, practice more slowly with the treats then gradually take them away. At first you might give a treat for them going onto their side, then for rolling over, then for standing up at the end. Move through the different stages slowly and gradually reduce the treats until it’s clear what behaviour you need to see before a treat is given. Repetition and consistency are key! It’s also a good idea to ensure you use lots of praise and affection, too.