“Roll” is a cute and fun trick to teach your dog. Before you begin, your dog should already be able to sit and lie down on command. It’s a bit more difficult to teach your dog to turn than some other commands because this trick has multiple parts. But with a little patience, your dog will be able to turn around in no time.
How to Teach Your Dog to Roll
Before you begin, you should have some treats and your clicker handy when you clicker trains your dog. Practice the trick in a soft, comfortable place where your dog is relaxed and where you can return to continue training.
- Begin by teaching your dog to turn over by giving the command “down.” Once he’s lying down, the next step is to get him to roll over.
- Hold a treat up to his nose and pull it from the tip of your nose towards your shoulder. Your dog should turn his head to follow the treat.
- If he does this, you can pull the treat further around the dog’s shoulder so he has to lie on his side to follow.
- Keep holding the treat close to your dog’s nose and pull it all the way around so he has to turn all the way to follow. When he finishes the whole roll, praise him or click your clicker and give him a treat.
Break it up Into Smaller Parts
While it would be great if your dog turned around all of a sudden, most dogs don’t turn all the way to follow the treat on the first try. Your dog may jump, wiggle, or turn his head the other way to get the treat. If this is the case with your dog, you can break up the training into smaller parts.
- When your dog is lying down, hold a treat in front of his nose and move it to the dog’s shoulder. As soon as the dog turns its head, click or praise it and give it a treat. Practice this several times until your dog turns its head regularly.
- Next, stop giving your dog a treat for every head turn. Only give your dog treats for the head turns that are most likely to get him to lie on his side.
- After all, you only give your dog praise and a treat when he’s lying completely on his side. This allows you to slowly select the behaviors that come closest to turning over, with each new behavior bringing the dog closer to full turning.
- Once you’ve managed to get your dog on his back, it’s easy to lure him to the other side and get him into a sitting or standing position by holding the treat in front of his nose.
Add the “Roll” Command
Whether or not you teach this trick piecemeal, it’s often easiest to add the command once your dog consistently turns around. Once he follows the treat and turns around every time, it’s time to add the command. Hold the treat in front of your dog, say the command “roll,” and entice him with the treat. Practice this over several training sessions.
Stop Using the Treat
The final step in teaching your dog to roll over is to stop tempting him with treats. When your dog has turned around after hearing the command several times, give the command and wait a few seconds.
Some dogs get the hang of it and roll over immediately. Once the dog has turned completely, click or praise and give a treat.
If your dog doesn’t respond to the command immediately, you can distribute the treat more slowly. Start by telling your dog to “turn around” and lure him forward with the treat. Remove the treat as soon as the dog starts moving. With each workout, slowly decrease the distance at which you lure him in. Most dogs pick this up quickly and will soon fall into a roll at your command.