How To Teach Your Dog To Roll Over
Since I published my core training concept, “The Four Stages of Luring,” many people have asked me to show them examples of how luring is done. And because a picture speaks a thousand words, I decided to dig into my collection of dog trick lessons to find one that uses this training method.
Then I stumbled upon my “Roll Over” lesson—the perfect match!
Here’s the video—it’s only about six minutes long and you’ll learn exactly how to teach your dog to roll over.
You will also find some additional information below about each stage so you can refer to it while teaching your dog this trick.
The first thing you need to do is teach your dog the behavior of rolling over. Begin by luring your dog into a down position. This is accomplished by moving your lure close to the floor and between your dog’s paws. Be sure to release the treat and reward your dog once its belly touches the floor.
Then the next step will be to reward your dog for going onto its side. At this stage you move your lure close to your dog’s shoulder blade. Make sure you release the treat and reward your dog once it falls onto its side.
Continue to move your lure closer to your dog’s back until your dog rolls over. You may need to reward this step multiple times before your dog gets used to the sensation of rolling over. Depending on the size of your dog, you may need to create some momentum by quickly moving your lure toward your dog’s back.
This momentum, as demonstrated in the video, will get your dog’s body to follow through and roll over.
Please keep in mind that rolling over is not a natural behavior for dogs and can be a little bit scary for them. It’s also recommended that you practice this on a soft surface such as carpet or grass. This will make it more comfortable for your dog.
Once you can easily lure your dog to roll over, the next logical step is to teach your dog to respond to a hand signal. You might be wondering why you need to teach a hand signal. The main reason is to keep your dog from becoming dependent on your having food in your hand to perform the behavior.
Begin by creating a pattern in which you lure your dog twice in a row for rolling over. On the third repetition, simply pretend you have a treat in your hand and do the same motion. This will fool your dog into following your hand even though you don’t have any food in it.
As you become successful at this, you can reduce the ratio of lures to hand signals until it is 1:1, meaning that you lure your dog once and then give a hand signal. Eventually, you will be able to entirely phase out the lures.
Then you can gradually make changes to your hand signal until your dog responds to the one that you want. For example, you can practice signaling your dog to roll over and, with every repetition, you can slowly stand.
STAGE 3 & 4
Did you notice that I didn’t give the command “Roll over” until this stage? The reason I didn’t is that dogs need to learn the behavior before it can be associated with a verbal command.
And because you’ve just taught your dog the behavior in the first two stages, the only thing left is to give your verbal command, “Roll over,” just before you give your hand signal.
Pretty easy, right?
The trick for this to work is repetition. You have to do it a good twenty to thirty times, preferably over a few training sessions. Then you’ll want to attempt Stage 4, which consists of saying your verbal command.
It’s also a good idea to create a pattern in which you give your verbal command “Roll over” two or three times in a row, and then test your dog’s understanding on the following repetition.
I must admit I have an affinity for this trick. It was one of the first tricks I taught my dog, and it gave me such a sense of confidence.
So have fun with it!
NOTE: And be sure to refer to this guide while you go through the different stages with your dog. There is also great additional information inside my core training concept, “The Four Stages of Luring.”