How to Teach a Dog to Roll Over: Ultimate Guide

Among the many great qualities of dogs is their ability to learn quickly. We can train them several tricks that are necessary for dog sports or just for fun.

The roll over trick is easy to teach, plus you can see how cute your dog looks while doing it. This trick is also essential to examine your dog's belly for problems like ticks or mats.

It's also just a lovely trick your dog may perform, making you smile while playing with them. Learning how to teach a dog to roll over is essential as a dog owner.

But before that, your pet should be familiar with the sit and lay command.

Since this trick has several elements, it is a little harder to train your pet to roll over than teaching him other tricks. However, with some patience, your pet will soon be rolling over.

Things You Need to Get Started

Before you jump right in on teaching your dog this trick, there are a few things you might want to consider before you start.

Decide a Reinforcer for Your Dog

Dog treats that can be used as a reinforcer

Choose a reinforcer to give to your pet as they learn something and make the right choices. A good reinforcer is something your pet enjoys.

It should be something really small and can be given frequently. It is always a food item, such as a treat, for a majority of dogs.

Food items like sliced hotdogs, tiny bits of cheese or raw meat, or supermarket training treats make great options.

Give your dog unusual treats, such as lean meat (turkey, ham, roast beef), cheese pieces, store-bought dog biscuits, chicken, or any item he enjoys.

To make the treats last longer during the training session and prevent your pet from becoming too full, break them up into small pieces.

Your pup will be more willing to learn to roll over if you keep him wanting more for treats.

Make an Effective Marker

A marker (also known as a bridge or bridging stimulus) is a voice or a hand sign that indicates when your dog performed something right that awarded them a reinforcer (the treat).

You can also use the verbal signal if you don't want to give your dog treats. A perfect example of this is a clicker.

A clicker and rewards are a more accurate approach to training a dog. To begin, you must first train the clicker.

The clicker is beneficial because it allows you to click at the exact time that the dog changes its behavior.

It's more effective than simply offering treats or verbal appreciation. The noise is associated with a treat (which you will provide to your pet a few seconds later).

After your dog has learned to identify the noise with a treat, you may begin training your dog to turn over.

If you don't want to use a clicker, you can just say "yes" or "good" instead. Whatever you choose, make sure you stick with it.

Try to make a note of the behavior as soon as you notice it. The clearer and fast your mark will be, the more successful your training will be.

Punishment should never be used to train your dog. Negative reinforcement is confusing to dogs, and as a result, they will not learn faster.

In fact, using harsh tones or pressuring your dog to learn new tricks may make your pet stressed, angry, or develop fear. That’s the last thing you want to do when training a dog!

Move to a Good Training Space

Dog running in a field

It's best to begin teaching your pet in a place that is comfortable and does not have any sort of distractions, which includes switching off the TV and turning down the window blinds.

You should select a room that has lots of floor space as your dog will be roaming around a lot.

You should also consider choosing an area that has a soft and comfortable floor as you don't want your dog to get tired or hurt himself because of a hard surface.

Your pet will be ready to perform the trick outside or in public when he has learned it in the privacy of his own home.

It is also important that members of the family are aware of your plans, so they don't disturb the pet while you are training him.

How to Teach a Dog to Roll Over: Step by Step Process

You don't necessarily need to have a clicker in order to teach your pet to roll over, but having clicker training might assist you in teaching your pet new skills more quickly.

Whether you choose a clicker or not, your furry friend will eventually learn to roll over quickly if you carry delicious dog treats in your hands.

Learning how to teach a dog to roll over is very easy by following these simple instructions.

1 - Ask Your Dog to Lie Down

Before starting the "turn over" trick, your pet should lie down on his tummy with his legs in front, keeping his head elevated.

Your dog will be able to roll over effortlessly and without injuring itself from this posture.

2 - Hold a Treat Near Your Dog's Face

Bend down your knee and hold a snack close to your pet's face so he can see and sniff it.

Put your hand all over the treat to prevent him from stealing it before the training is finished. If your pet snatches treats fast, keep an eye on your fingertips to avoid being bitten.

3 - Use a Treat to Lure Your Dog

A handful of dog treats

To finish the following steps, you'll need to utilize luring.

Luring can be explained when you utilize something such as a reward, and your pet will follow your instructions to get rewards in return.

Now, slowly shift your hand from your dog's nose to their shoulder. Your dog's eyes should now be staring over its shoulder as it follows the treat.

Mark him down and offer him a reward!

4 - Move the Treat Around and Say "Roll Over"

Rotate the reward across your pet's head, and he will follow it. His head and body will generally follow the nose wherever it goes.

Your dog will start to roll over if you guide his nose with this step, as it will encourage him to roll over as he pursues the reward.

While moving the reward across the side of your dog's head, say "roll over" or "Turn around" in a friendly and positive voice.

The objective is to teach your dog to link rolling over by the verbal command.

You can make a rolling action with your hand or roll over to show him if you want to. You can also offer a physical and verbal indication at the same time.

5 - Encourage Your Dog and Keep Practicing

If your pet is having trouble rolling over on his own, then you can use your hand to assist him carefully.

You must practice this trick several times as it is a difficult trick for a dog to learn. As you train, offer your dog a treat whenever he makes a positive movement.

It will motivate him to continue his efforts. If you don't treat your pet until he has totally rolled over, he may become frustrated.

Don't forget to compliment your pet in a warm and encouraging tone. Dogs actually respond well when they are told they are a "good boy or girl".

6 - Know When to Reward Your Dog

Dog being given a treat

When your pet successfully turns over, reward him with a snack and praise him. Rewarding this specific skill over and again will encourage him.

You can offer rewards less often after he understands what you want. Reward your dog whenever he completes a step within a few seconds.

Your dog will understand that he's doing it correctly, and he'll try to do it again.

7 - Keep Practicing Until He Doesn't Need Help

After a few successful attempts, your dog would finally get how to roll over on its own. You should not have to turn its body around or hold the treat around its head any longer.

Start standing up and instruct him to turn over. Praise him with a snack, and give a pat on his head whenever he does it correctly on his own.

Perfecting the Trick

After your dog has a rough idea how to roll over, you can use these the following steps to perfect the roll over command.

1 - Practice Until Your Dog Can Roll Over Without Any Treat

Alter the way you reward your dog after he understands what you mean when you say "turn over." You don't have to provide a treat this time.

Gradually increase the duration between rewards and offer him unexpected or less favorite treats.

It will ensure that your dog does not want a treat every time he turns over. It will help keep your pet engaged in doing the trick if you make it unpredictable.

Continue to reward with warm petting and vocal praises (such as "good boy").

Also, save his favorite snacks for the next trick you would like to train your dog and offer him less desired items instead, such as store-bought biscuits or chunks of dog food.

2 - Practice in Different Locations With Distractions

You might want to move to a different training location at this time. It will keep your dog interested and stop him from linking the new skill only with the old training area.

Continue training outside, with a reward at first, and then stop rewarding. A dog park is an excellent area to train since there are so many distractions.

Your pet may find it challenging to roll over outside at first. People, other pets, and cars make it difficult for your canine to focus.

So it's okay to resume training by offering treats to avoid distractions. Once your pet has mastered the skill, gradually phase away from the treat just like you did when training inside.

To check if your pet will obey the roll over order from someone other than you is a great method to confirm if he has actually learnt how to roll over.

Be gentle with him and keep reintroducing rewards until he learns to roll over in new places regularly.

3 - Try Practicing Around Other People

Dog surrounded by other people

Training in front of others will allow him to become comfortable in performing. The additional praise he'll receive from others will also motivate him to turn over.

Allow others to make the "roll over" order to him. When your pet has mastered the trick, he will be able to roll over when someone else gives him the order.

4 - Problems and Behavior to Avoid

You could be going too fast if your pet is making several errors, such as hopping up or moving its body in the wrong way.

You can always move back a step to when your dog was doing well, and gradually work your way back to a normal roll over.

Some dogs don't like to lay down on their backsides and expose their tummies. In this situation, you need to make sure that your dog understands that this training is only for pleasure.

Scratch his tummy if he loves belly rubs, or praise or encourage and reward it every time he offers you its tummy.

Make sure your tone is light and cheerful. Relax and take a deep breath. It may take some time, and there's no need to be concerned.

It's also essential to keep practice sessions short and energetic. Excessively long practice sessions may be irritating for both you and your pet.

Maintain a 10-minute practice session length and aim to conclude every session on a good note.

How to Teach Your Dog to Roll Over: Relevant Q&A

Trying to get your dog to roll over can be challenging. Therefore, you likely will have some questions.

I’ve put together some answers to common questions people ask, when trying to teach their dog this trick.

Can My Puppy Do This Trick?

White puppy on grass

It's a little complex for a puppy. However, there's no harm in trying to teach this trick if you can turn it into a fun game.

Whenever you see your puppy executing a nice behavior (like rolling) which you'd want him to try on your command, use a certain word like "roll" while he's doing the movement and then praise him.

My Dog Lies Down, but Doesn't Roll Over. What Should I Do?

It's possible that the dog doesn't recognize what you're asking of him. The first step is to deny him the treat if he doesn't perform as instructed.

You must then describe the intended action more clearly. One method to encourage him into doing a roll, is by gently flipping him over with your hands while saying "roll".

If he normally rolls to scratch himself on a frequent basis, use a cue word like "roll" and then praise him.

He will gradually link his behavior to the cue word and have a greater understanding of what you desire.

Some Further Tips

Training a pet to roll over might be difficult at first, but it's a skill that can keep guests entertained and impressed for years ahead.

Please don't stop trying! Your dog is a lot more intelligent than you think. Here are some more tips that might help you during this training process.

No Yelling or Physical Punishment

Never yell at your pet or violently hit or slap him. Negative reinforcement does not work with dogs. If you do this, you will end up training him to hate you instead.

Try Different Starting Positions

Dog rolling over

Try to use various starting places to execute the instruction. Your pet must be able to do a roll over from a sit, stand, or lie down posture.

Give Treats at Different Times

If your pet loses interest in the trick, give the rewards irregularly and at unexpected times for a while.

Your pet may get upset if you stop offering rewards too early.

Remove Distractions

Please ensure that there are no distractions in the area, such as toys (if your dog likes toys), other dogs, or humans.

Since you are the one who is teaching the dog to turn over, it will allow them to retain their concentration on you.

Don’t Pressure the Dog

While petting the dog, be kind and don't pressure him to roll over if he doesn't want to. Some dogs dislike having their bellies exposed.

If your dog refuses to roll, then you should consider another trick that he’ll prefer to do.

Short Training Sessions

Dog being trained at doggy school

Each training session should last no longer than ten to fifteen minutes. After some time, dogs become bored and require rest.

However, you can have multiple sessions in a single day. Switching between training and playtime keeps your dog's mind occupied, fresh, and eager to learn.

Furthermore, over-pampering your dog with his favorite treats might make him think that he will receive a treat every time he obeys a command.


So, now that you know how to teach a dog to roll over, you can have fun trying it with your dog.

You can even show your friends this trick too, so that they can teach it to their dogs. It is essential to have enough patience in this situation!

You cannot expect your pet to learn the full cue in a single training session if you go too fast. Always check to see if your pet is at ease every time.

Mark and reward your pet for taking successful small steps, as well as ensuring that he is having a good time and receiving plenty of delectable treats throughout the training session.