How to teach a dog to roll over

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  • Teaching a dog how to roll over is a great way to keep them occupied, their mind active and increase your bond with them. Whether you’ve got a puppy or an older dog, “roll over” is trick that’s fun for all dogs to learn. Before you start, set yourself up for success with the following things.

    What you need

    • A quiet space that is free of any distractions, such as food, noise or other people
    • A rug or carpet for your pet that they feel comfortable on
    • Treats – these should be small and soft so that they can be eaten quickly. It’s also best if you use treats they don’t usually get so that they’re really motivated.
    • Patience and enthusiasm

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    How to teach a dog to roll over

    The “roll over” trick involves more steps than other basic tricks, such as teaching a dog to give paw, so following these directions is key to successfully teach your dog how to roll over on command.

    1. Make sure your dog knows the “down” or “lie down” commands first because these are important parts of the trick. Here’s how to teach a dog to lie down.

    2. Once your dog lies down with their belly touching the ground and their paws resting in front of them, kneel beside them and hold a treat close to their nose. I tend to use cocktail sausages, and this gets a particularly good response.

    3. Choose a cue word that your can associate with this trick and start introducing it from the get-go. For this trick I suggest “roll over” or “over”. I always say their name, the command and follow up with an affirmation. For example, “Mabel, roll over, yes”.

    4. Use the verbal cue and start drawing a circle with the treat, slowly moving it towards their shoulder until they roll. Be careful that they do not snatch the treat from your hand before they perform the trick. If they don’t manage a full roll at the beginning, you can help them by gently pushing them.

    5.  Reward your dog once they roll over – say “yes” and give them the treat.

    6. Repetition is key. For your dog to consistently roll over by themselves upon your command, you need to practise with them a few times. Don’t be discouraged if they only perform a half roll – they’ll get there in time.

    Avoid practising for prolonged periods as they will either become bored and disinterested or worried if they are not pleasing you and you’re becoming frustrated. Stick to a maximum of three to four minutes once or twice daily.

    Why is it good to teach dogs tricks?

    There are several reasons that tricks are a great thing to teach and practise.

    • It’s an incredibly good way to form a bond with your dog.
    • It provides mental stimulation, which enriches your dog’s life.
    • It’s fun – dogs love to please their owners, so they’ll enjoy getting involved in an exciting new activity that also involves treats.
    • It could help when you visit the vet or groomer – a dog who is used to being handled and obeys commands is more likely to react well when they’re being examined by a vet or taken in for a grooming session.
    • It’s a crowd pleaser!

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