I briefly mentioned my experiences teaching Betsy to roll over when I wrote that post about dogs learning to learn, and I thought I’d follow up with how I did it 😁
The key to teaching this trick is rewarding in increments; you can’t just get them to do the entire roll right off the bat.
- Hold a treat to your dog’s nose and lure them to the ground. When they lay down, give them a treat. Yay, easy, all they had to do was lie down and get a treat! Hopefully this will get them engaged in the training.
- Now, holding another treat to the dog’s nose, pull it up over their head, encouraging them to follow it with their head, which will pull their body over to its side. Give them the treat again!
- Keep luring them onto their side like this until they are doing it readily and easily.
- Once they are rolling on their side easily, pull the treat a little further over, so they have to keep rolling. They will probably roll the rest of the way over, and then yay! Treat!
- Keep working on this with them until they are rolling over easily when lured. Then, take the treat out of your hand and slowly fade the, “lure,” into a hand signal.
- Then you need to slowly be able to stand up so that you can use a, “roll over,” hand signal while standing up. And finally, you can start adding your vocal cue: “Roll Over!”
Here’s a video:
Troubleshooting: The one trouble I had when teaching this was getting her to roll more and more. To deal with this, I just rewarded her in smaller increments and gave her treats for even the slightest inch of a roll. In the video it looks like a 3 treat process, but in reality it was more like 5 or 6.