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I know I have seen previous posts about training a dog to put toys away and the like, but I do not think I have seen anything about training a roll over (well more of an over on their side as I don't force the dog to go on their backs as most don't like it). Now my Shepherd mix and Heeler got the "over" command very quickly, and I know every dog learns differently, but what I have done in the past does not seem to work for my BC. The way I trained it to my other two is by offering a high value treat, and slowly moving it in front of their head, until they were shifting their bodies and following the treat into the over position. Gradually I added the word to the action, and finally added a hand signal for each side to "over" on. Any suggestions on other ways to teach this? My husband wants to progress it eventually to the classic "Bang your dead" trick... Seeing as how he has finally taken interest in training our dogs, the BC in particular, I am looking for all of the advice I can gather on this particular trick!!! :P Thanks in advance!

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I trained the roll-over and the 'dead dog' trick differently, i.e. the 'dead dog' did not evolve out of the roll-over. This is just what I did. There may be a better method.


For the 'dead dog' trick, I use the word 'Bang' and point my finger like I am shooting him. I used the command once he got the idea of the 'dead dog' position. I taught him this trick between Xmas and New Year's last year when we had about 2 feet of snow on the ground and couldn't get outside much. I first asked him to 'lie down' and then took a treat and SLOWLY lured him on his side. I can not move the treat fast since he will flip his head around different ways to get the treat and I feel it is very confusing for him. Once he was in the correct position, I clicked/treated. Then add the command word you want to use after your dog understands the desired position and eventually add the hand motion.


Torque is good about assuming the 'dead dog' position for about 2-5 seconds. Then he wants the next command. (You can tell he wants to jump up. He is not comfortable in a resting position.) I have not built up the duration (my bad). He also does not close his eyes. One result of the way I taught the trick is that he always lies on his left side. I think that I will try to teach him to lie on his other side and put a different command to it - maybe I should use 'dead dog' :P


His roll-over is not so good. I hope to hear some good hints from other trainers.



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I also taught roll over (full 360 roll) by asking for a down and then luring the head around so the dog adjusts position to follow the treat. When Bear learned as a pup, he got it in one training session (took a few sessions to learn the word but he knew what I wanted).


Meg however took a while to learn it. She just wasn't comfortable with it so we had to gradually build up to a complete roll over. I first tried to teach Meg to roll over after she had been here only 2 months (in June)...I couldn't get her to go on her side willingly, so I gave up and tried again in a month. This went on for a while until October, when I finally got her to adjust her hips so her back end was on her side (if that makes sense). I'd click and treat for that. Once it was clear she knew that's what I wanted, I asked for more. I started clicking and treating when she went on completely on her side ('dead dog' but with her head still focused on the treat). Once she got that, I asked for more (still luring with a treat) and clicked when she started to go on her back with feet in the air. Then after a few days she went all the way over in a complete roll. Only after that did I name it and start telling her to 'roll over'. This one was a real confidence booster for her. After that, she started showing us her belly to ask for a belly rub (and we discovered she has a spay tattoo :) ).


Many dogs have a preference as to which direction they roll. Both Meg and Bear roll to their right. Bear's sister Matty would roll to her left. If you're having difficulty, try changing sides. Once they get it in one direction, it *should* be a bit easier to teach the other direction.

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My big dog, Luke, cannot roll over. I don't know if it's because of his deep chest or what, but he is just not built for it. He freaks out if you push it. So I settled for "bang" with him, and he just dies flat on his side. lol


The other two were lured into rolling. In the down position, you just take a treat and lure their head around, keeping it close to their body. At first you can just reward them flopping onto their side -- The gumby dogs tend to lose control and go all the way over from the start, though.


My little guy is a spinning & rolling machine and does them so fast that he's a blur. Secret isn't terribly keen on rolling over and is still slow about it. She rolls to her right and plays dead to her left. Kaiser can roll both ways. I never taught him to play dead... Hmm, winter project.

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I taught the full roll-over the way you've taught your "lie on side"--by luring it with a treat. But I've taught the "lie on side" in two different ways. With two of my dogs I free-shaped it. Do you use a clicker at all? If you've done any free shaping it's pretty easy to do that way. The other dog I taught to respond to pressure on his shoulder. While he was lying down, I just put my hand on his shoulder and applied light pressure. As soon as he gave to the pressure slightly, I marked and rewarded. I gradually asked him to give more and more until he was lying on his side. Now he has two cues for the behavior, the pressure on his shoulder and his cue word "flat." He is blind, so it's useful in a lot of situations for him to be able to respond to touch cues.

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