Catch The Dog In The Act
Have you ever wondered how they train dogs in movies? For example, have you ever seen a dog in a movie yawn, hide their face, or do some other sort of interesting behavior?
Many of these behaviors are taught by ‘catching the dog in the act’. For example, if you hang out with your dog for long enough at some point he’ll yawn. The idea with this method is that as he starts to yawn you tell him ‘yawn’ or some other sort of command. As he does it you reward him with a treat. Catch him in the act enough times and most dogs will learn to do this trick on command.
With training a dog to roll over you can do the same thing. When your dog gets on his back and starts itching back and forth you can tell him ‘roll over’, give him a little nudge or push to help him get all the way over, and then reward him with a treat and praise.
If you do this enough most dogs will soon be rolling over on command.
Train The Behavior
If you want to get to the finish line with this trick a little bit faster you can be more proactive with how you teach it.
Have your dog lie down. Take a treat and manipulate it in front of his muzzle so that he’s interested. Now start moving the treat in such a way that your dog starts turning his head and making the first motion of rolling over. As he starts doing that help him by pushing him, guiding him, rolling him, etc. until he makes it all the way over. When he does, immediately reward him with a treat.
As you continue and persevere with this method you’ll soon find yourself helping the dog less and less. This is good, you want the dog doing it of his own volition. Give it enough repetition and soon you’ll have a dog rolling over on command.
The Accidental Roll Over-
Training a dog to roll over can be so easy for many dogs. I’ve had many a client whose child took an hour or two and continually rolled the dog over while giving the command. The child wasn’t following any ‘playbook’ or formal training method. They were simply playing at getting the dog to roll over and in the end it worked, despite any formality in the training style.
So don’t over-think it. Sometimes the simplest way is the easiest way to get it done.
Image credit: Tobyotter