Foreword: ROLL OVER has always been a favorite!
General Directions: You start with Rover in the DEAD DOG position. It is best taught when you both are in a happy mood, best at play time.
When Rover is in the PLAY DEAD position gently grasp both the front and hind leg that are at the bottom. Gently pull Rover over. Now let go of his legs and let Rover jump up and play with Rover, praising Rover for being such a good boy! Rover doesn’t have to stay in the DEAD DOG position, but make sure Rover ROLLS OVER all the way before jumping up. Repeat this a couple of times, making sure Rover stays in an up beat mood. As Rover starts to get it, you won’t have to use as much force to pull Rover over. Say ROLL OVER every time you roll Rover over. Soon you can also use a hand signal , instead of the word command.
Note: If Rover doesn’t like you holding and pulling him, let go of Rovers legs right away! The last thing you want is Rover struggling to get up while you are hanging onto Rover legs. This will just give Rover a ROLL OVER phobia!
Directions for the food crazy Rover: Have Rover in a PLAY DEAD position and take out that yummy piece of food! Now hold it in front of Rovers nose. Rover will smell it and probably try to eat it. Don’t let Rover eat it, but move it back, past Rovers front legs and then up. This will make Rover turn his head and look over his shoulder.
Some dogs will now ROLL OVER all by themselves, but some will need a little help from you to get over all the way. Once Rover sees the connection between the food and the rolling over, it will take a lot less time.
Directions for the Rover who won’t ROLL OVER: Sometimes you’ll get a Rover who just doesn’t like ROLLING OVER! Maybe it’s a back or leg problem or because of an earlier bad experience with it. First, look for the problem. If Rover is in obvious pain, stop teaching ROLL OVER! There are tons of other tricks you can teach Rover instead! If your Rover is just afraid of anyone holding onto his legs and pulling him over, evaluate, how did this happen? Did someone mistreat Rover, not letting go of his legs when he was struggling? In this case, you’ll have to start from the beginning.
Sometimes I find it easier to teach roll over on a bed or couch. I have a dog who really doesn’t like being rolled over on the ground, but is okay with it on my bed.
I take it that Rover is not aggressive about you touching his legs. If he is, what are you doing teaching him tricks anyways? Start by playing with Rover. Wrestle around a little, play fight. Now get Rover into the PLAY DEAD position. Still play with him, but keep Rover from getting up. Let Rover stay in the PLAY DEAD position for a minute or two and then let Rover get up. Praise Rover! You want to get Rovers confidence!
In the next session go a step further. When petting him all over, touch one of his legs. If Rover gets up (boy, he really does not like ROLLING OVER!!!) start again at the begining. This may take a long time! So be patient!
In the next session touch all legs, but do not attempt to hold on to any!
Soon you can start gently holding on to one leg for a second. Do this a couple of times and then proceed to holding each leg separately for a few seconds. If Rover doesn’t complain, go on to the next step. Make sure you praise him until the cows come home!
Now gently move one leg at a time. Now you can start pulling the front and back leg just enough to pull Rover up a quarter of the way. Gently return Rover to the original position. If Rover gets scared, let go of his legs immediately! If Rover is okay with it, praise Rover! Now you can roll Rover over all the way, and your job is done. Now you could also try the other method above with the food.
Surprise your friends with teaching your dog ROLL OVER in a different language!