January 22, 2022

How to teach a dog to roll over?

dog tumbling on the grass

There is a nice and widely applied dog command “roll over”. It is easily performed when a master uses any treat attractive for a pet. Moving this treat away, you can make your dog continue rolling over. You need to train the dog more than once to achieve the result. Though mostly dogs of various breeds catch on quickly, being tempted with tasty food.

Roll over is one of the most popular trick. Every person will succeed in teaching his dog to roll over. Do not be in doubt, even if you are a complete newcomer as a dog parent. The process is amazing and playful for both participants. For a dog rolling over this is an opportunity to relax and have fun as dogs usually like mental and physical activity.

the dog is happy because it is stroked

In the article we’ll find out how to teach a dog to roll over. There will be a step-by-step instruction following which you will manage to achieve the best result as soon as possible.


Before you start to train a dog to roll over, you should ensure that your dog is ready to be involved. It is not hungry and it is not too full-bellied. It should not be sleepy or tired. The nice joyful mood is a sign it is ready to be trained and pick up a new trick. You’d better find a quiet place with a clean floor or a spacy grass lawn. You can practice on a soft carpet or mat. Now it’s high time to find the delicious treats. Choose the one your pet likes more. There are plenty of training treats made for dogs in particular. Optionally you can use a clicker trainer tool. Consider the Frisco Pet Training Clicker with Wrist Ban, for instance.

Once again, a quiet space is important. Nothing should distract the attention of a dog from following an order. Before you teach a dog to roll over, you should think of an appropriate area and make everything you can to provide conditions for a pup to focus on the exercise. Probably, for the beginning it would be better to choose an indoor location removing the objects which may prevent performing the trick. Think of a soft floor because there will be a lot of attempts of rolling around on the ground. The room should be empty meaning that other pets and people should leave it.

dog in the grass

The procedure will take you up to half an hour but not less than 15 minutes. The result will be sooner, if you train every day with patience and enthusiasm. What is also important is that a dog should already know the simple commands like “lie down”.


It will be much easier to teach dog to roll over if you break it down into stages in accordance with this accepted training technique:

The first command is “lie down”. Mind that when a dog is lying with its left leg out, it will move to the right and vice versa. So, decide the direction your dog will roll out. As we have already mentioned, the dog must know the “lie down” cue. This is a basic request in the task. If a dog does not obey, you should spend some time getting your dog into a lying position. There are various guides to master this trick.

When a dog is lying down, you should take a treat, which a pet likes so much, and hold it with your thumb and forefinger in front of a dog’s nose. Now you should “draw” a circle in the air. Ensure that you have a firm hold over this tasty food so that a dog is not able to take a yummy before it earns a reward. There are tasty options of small size. Still, the treat should be located very close to a dog’s nose all the time while you are teaching a dog to roll over. Now very slowly your hand holding the treat should “draw” a circle in the air in the direction where a pet is expected to roll. The dog will not understand your intent, may straighten up or even stand up, trying to eat the treat. You should again ask it to lie down and continue drawing circles.

dog on back

When a dog rolls over, you should reward it with a treat. It is better to do it when a dog rolls over several times reliably, because if you give a reward earlier, when a single rolling is made, a pet may refuse to continue. But if you see that a pet tries but cannot understand what to do, you should support it and feed the treat used as a lure. The praise will motivate it. But do not repeat this again, otherwise it gets stuck without further results.

Now continue to train dog to roll over by trying the same but without guiding it with the treat lure. You should draw the same circles in the air with your empty hand as if you hold the food with your fingers. In the case of success, you are expected to praise a dog taking a treat from some place next to you. The goal is to make a dog follow your empty hand. Try applying a clicking sound or any other repeated action to replace or add to a treat.

Well, here you start using the “roll over” cue introducing the command loudly. Say it and wait counting to three. Now draw a circle with your empty hand in the air guiding a dog through the rollover. Only when it completes the task, you should reward it with a treat. Repeat three times. And continue but counting to four after saying the words, then you should count to five increasing a pause before a hand movement. The dog will start rolling after the command is pronounced without waiting for a hand signal.

Here is a success!!! But you should continue practicing several times a week. If the dog forgets the cue, repeat all the steps from the very beginning.

Things to Avoid

Before you start training your dog to rollover, you should ensure that your dog has no contraindications to perform this command. It would be nice to get the veterinarian consultation. If a pet has muscular or skeletal problems, you’ll have to refuse this exercise. During a training session you should avoid training in a cluttered space if you do not want to do your dog harm. And of course you should not make your dog roll over on a bed or table. Some dogs are quite ok with a hard floor but some of them may feel uncomfortable rolling over in such conditions that is why it will not be able to focus on the task. You should stop if you see any signs of soreness. Thus, the dog should feel physically comfortable when rolling over.

We do suppose that even a senior dog can learn rolling over. It should be in good physical conditions proved by your veterinarian. Rolling over may be dangerous if there are any spinal issues or abdominal surgeries. There are many other cues to try in this case. We hope we have managed to explain how to teach your puppy to roll over.

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January 22, 2022

10 Comments on “How to teach a dog to roll over?

[…] One of the most effective ways to train a dog to roll over is to use the “Play Dead” trick. This trick works best when the dog is fully trusting and has a high level of confidence. While this trick can be difficult at first, it will soon become second nature with practice. You must create a comfortable environment in which to train your dog to roll over. Be sure to take your time when training your dog to roll over and reward your progress with treats.More information at the link: […]

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