Teaching an old dog new tricks is never easy, but teaching an old dog to roll over can be one of the more difficult tricks to master. Your dog has to have the desire to please if you’re going to get him to roll over for you. He also has to have already proven to you that he’s capable of more basic commands. If that’s the case and you think he’s ready to roll over, follow the steps below.
Start with the basics. Reinforce the “sit” command with your dog. Have him sit and stay in one location as you get started on this new trick.
Teach your dog to lie down. Hold a treat in front of his nose and say, “Down.” As you say the command, lead your dog’s nose toward the ground and his body will follow.
If your dog remains on the ground, give him the treat and get another treat ready. Remind him to stay in the down position by repeating “stay down.”
Hold the treat in your hand and keep it in front of his nose. As you say, “Roll over”, make a circling motion up and over his head with your hand. His first instinct might be to rise up from the down position as he sees the treat go higher in the air. If this happens, get him back into the down position and try again.
As you make the circling motion with your right hand, gently guide his stomach with your left hand. Guide his tummy to roll in the direction of the treat.
Repeat steps 4 and 5 while encouraging him with phrases like “good boy” and “great job.”
When he completes the roll over, give him the treat and reward him with praise and affection. Continue to repeat the phrase, “roll over” so that he knows this is the trick he has accomplished.
Once your dog has mastered the ability to roll to your right, teach him to roll to your left. You will use the same steps above, while simply reversing the positions of your hands. Although he might easily roll to one side more than the other, teaching this opposite side should come quicker for him since he’s already grasped the term “roll over.”
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