Get Those Doggies Rolling—Teaching Your Dog To Roll Over


Roll over is a trick that many dog owners love to teach their dog. After all, it seems like a staple of dog ownership that you teach your dog to roll over, along with tricks like playing dead and begging. While it is a fun trick to train, it can be a difficult one since dogs don’t always enjoy showing their belly. However, with the proper steps, you can have your dog rolling over on command within a few days.

Laying The Foundation

Your dog should understand down before you start training roll over.

With all training, it is important to lay the foundation before you begin. Although we are teaching this command, it should not be one of the first commands that your dog learns. Instead, before you teach roll over, make sure your dog is proficient in the following basic commands:

Down: Since your dog is going to be going from a down all the way to a full roll over, he should understand the command down. If your dog has not mastered down, don’t teach roll over yet.

Release: For me, whenever a dog completes a command, I give the command “release” to let the dog know that the command is finished. Obviously, your dog will be finished with the command when he successfully rolls over but you will want a finish, whether this is him standing up or remaining in a down, you can decide. The release will let him know that he can take a break and do what he wants.

If you are having a hard time with any of the commands, spend more time on them. Do not move to the next command if your dog is not consistently doing down.

Items For Roll Over

When your dog is ready to learn how to roll over, you want to start training with all the items you need. Thankfully, like most training, you only need a few commands.

For roll over, these are:

Space: The size of your dog will depend on how much space you need to work with. Remember, your dog is going to be moving quite a bit before he comes to a full roll over. Smaller dogs don’t require a ton of space and training can be done in the living room. Larger dogs, you may have to take it to the backyard, however, be sure to remove as many distractions as possible when first learning.

Dog Treat: You will be using a dog treat for two roles in this training: baiting, where you lead the dog, and rewarding. For this reason, you want a small treat that can be swallowed quickly. In addition, you want a treat that really excites him when he is training. Some great treats to use for training are suggested in our article on treats.

Leash and Collar: Finally, I always recommend a leash for training. The reason is simple. When your dog sees the leash, he knows it is time to work. In addition, he can’t wander off if he doesn’t want to do the command.

When you have everything ready, you can start working on the command, which we will go over next.

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