Teaching My Dogs the Rollover Dog Trick

Usually Wednesday is reserved for Wordless Wednesday. But I couldn’t help but to share my dog Pierson’s new trick. If you’re not interested in reading today, just check out this cute video of my dogs showing off. :)

Sephi knew how to do the rollover dog trick but I never taught it to Maya. But when Pierson came along with his great need to learn new things, I started teaching them both to rollover. I started on Saturday, Sept 8th. Pierson had it down by the 11th. Maya was doing okay but not like Pierson. Here is how I did it.

The Command, The Motion, and The Bribe
Both Maya and Pierson already know how to play dead so rollover was a two-step process. I gave them the down command. Then I gave the hand signal for play dead. However, instead of saying ‘play dead’ I said ‘rollover’. I had a treat in hand and led them around to do the rollover. As soon as they were all the way around, I told them they were good dogs and gave them the treat. I did this one-dog-at-a-time, of course. While I had one dog sit and stay, I went to the other dog and worked on the rollover trick.

Training Sessions
When I first started on Saturday, I spent about 2 minutes with each dog. I managed to get them each to do two successful rollovers, then stopped. Always end training on a positive note. I didn’t keep training until they got bored. And if I had two successful tries, I didn’t want to keep going and give them the opportunity to not do the trick.

Sunday, we did a 2 minute session for each dog in the morning and again in the afternoon. Same for Monday and Tuesday. Two short training sessions twice a day is all it takes. Don’t try to cram in longer training times. You can spend 5-10 minutes at the most depending on your dog’s enthusiasm and success. If your dog loses interest or is not performing the trick right, have him do something he does know well then stop on a positive note.

Some Dogs Just Won’t Do It
Pierson had the trick down by Tuesday. That is just four days! He is such a smart boy and certainly makes it seem easy to teach the rollover dog trick. I can’t promise it will be that easy for you and your dog. Every dog is different and some dogs just don’t feel comfortable doing the rollover trick. I do the trick outside because the ground is softer than my hardwood floors and so doesn’t hurt their back. Some dogs, like Maya, may take longer because the rollover is not a natural motion like sitting is. And some dogs won’t do it because perhaps they feel that exposing their belly makes them vulnerable.

If you want to teach your dog the rollover dog trick, take note of his behavior regarding the trick. Is he enthusiastic about it or is he reluctant? If he is reluctant, you may want to work on the issue of why he is before you teach this trick. Training should be fun for both you and your dog. You don’t want to force him to do something he is not comfortable doing.

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10 Responses to “Teaching My Dogs the Rollover Dog Trick”

  1. Fluffy Tufts Says:

    Great post!
    One of my three was reluctant to roll over because the ground was too hard. We worked on it again on a yoga mat and had no problems! :-)

    • Dawn Says:

      Smart! I tried to show off Pierson’s new trick when I met some friends at a gathering but he wouldn’t do it on the hard floor. Perhaps I should have brought a yoga mat. :)

  2. Kia Says:

    Nice! So smart! Maybe I’ll teach Simba how to ‘roll over’ one day. He currently knows how to give me a five with his paw LOL.

  3. Prudence Says:

    Mom’s going to try this w/ me. I’m good at settle and down. She’s never been able to get me to roll over (yet!). Thanks fur the lesson!

  4. FleaByte Says:

    Oh very cool! My poor baby have a limited trick repertoire. Their favorite trick is sneaking past the chickens.

  5. Lyvonne (letsbepets.com) Says:

    Very cute roll over. Great job.

    Visiting late from WW’s Blog Hop!

  6. Long Life Cats and Dogs Says:

    Great explanations. Litchi won’t do a roll over because she simply will not go on her back, ever, for anything! I think she is very uncomfortable like that and it seems to be more body shape than any other issue. She’ll do all sorts of other stuff though, so no big deal really. As you say, some just don’t want to do it.

  7. wagthedoguk Says:

    awesome training advice. I am going to get my owner to try and teach me this trick! it is totally cute!

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