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Teaching "roll over" to a young puppy.

January 28th, 2012, 05:56 PM
I have a 3 month old mix breed (GSD cross) who I have been using only +R methods with. He has taken to clicker training very well and it has helped us a great deal. He's very smart and loves to learn!

So far he has mastered: sit, down, dance (stand on hind legs) and play dead. He can stay for a short period of time and can also crawl on cue, but he still isn't 100% on them.

When I ask him to play dead, I will make a gun with my hand and say "bang-bang" moving my hand up slightly with each "bang" to simulate recoil. He'll drop to his side and flip onto his back.

The question I have is this; How should I go about teaching the full roll over? What hand signals should I use, how do I teach him small approximations of the command, how can I teach him this without frustrating him and having him shut down (I say that because I'm sure he will think I want him to "play dead")?

Am I over thinking this?

I don't want to ruin this puppy!

January 29th, 2012, 01:54 AM
You won't ruin your puppy :) Have no fear!

I use hand commands in addition to my vocal commands. For roll over I use a flat hand(the hand signal I use for lay down) and then I move it in a circular/rolling motion.

With any puppy training it is best to do it in intervals, 15 minutes of training at a time. I spaced it out so every 2 hours we'd work on it a little bit more.

I trained my dogs to roll over by both leading them with a light treat and physically rolling them. Not sure if thats the most effective way, but it worked for me.

January 29th, 2012, 07:40 AM
put him in a down position and bring a treat up his shoulder and slowly over his back, he should follow it, say "roll over" while doing it. its one of the easiest tricks to teach a dog. gradually use a "rolling" motion with your hand. we use to teach all our dogs "stop, drop and roll"

January 29th, 2012, 02:46 PM
Roll over was quite easy. Like the other posters, I put dog in a down, used slight luring with a treat over her shoulder.

Don't only wait to click for big motions, that was my first mistake. Once I figured out which small motions to look for she picked it up in less than 15 minutes.

This is how I did it: once she was down, i used treat over her shoulder, clicked her for following it, then clicked for her shifting slightly to her side, click for going to her side, then back, once you get them there, they naturally follow through to get back on their feet. Once you can get them to do it in one location, bring it to another and repeat.

My two girls picked it up quick. Boy kept going backwards instead of over. Maybe I'll just teach him to back up instead. lol

January 30th, 2012, 12:43 PM
Thanks everyone. I think I'll give it a shot!
I was worried about him getting confused as the
play dead cue is pretty much a "halfway" version of rollover. But I think if I just amp up my criteria and use a totally different hand signal, he should figure it out.
I just fear him getting frustrated with me and shutting down. So far he's a fast learner and loves doing tricks, so we shall see.

Does anyone know how to embed/upload videos - does it have to be through youtube?
I would love to share a video of our first attempt with everyone!

Digston, I love your hand signal for roll. I am sooo stealing that, haha!