Easy Dog Tricks
Roll over is one of the most fun and simple tricks to teach your pet. I taught my 12 year old mutt to do this trick in just one day.
Precursor: In order to pay attention your dog will need to be relaxed. High-strung pets should be walked or jogged for 30 minutes before trying to train them. Trust me the process goes much smoother and they are much more attentive after exercise.
Dogs that naturally roll onto their backs for petting will pick this up quicker. Also dogs that have a strong desire to please you will learn faster.
Step 1) Get a treat that is just irresistible to your pet. My dog goes crazy for pepperoni so I bought a small bag and chopped the pieces in half
Step 2) Take your pet somewhere he or she won't be distracted. You want their full attention. Turn off the TV, close the windows if you need to.
Step 3) Make sure you are practicing on a soft surface. My dog resists rolling on the wood floor. High grass might not be ideal either as it may be harder to roll in. Try carpeted floor.
Step 4) This is where it gets interesting. Make sure your pet has mastered the "down" command. Using your arm and hand as a sign (remember dogs don't speak English) Use your whole arm to guide your pet to the floor. Give them encouragement when they begin to move in the correct direction even if they didn't complete the "down" trick. Use exaggerated arm motions as this is what your pet will pick up on. Start the treat at nose level and sweep down to the floor.
Step 5) After a few days of "down' your pet should be a pro and it's time to throw in the roll over. Again, First command your pet to the "down" position, Next introduce a new arm movement "OVER". Use the treat to guide your dog's mouth and nose in a large circular motion. I usually say Ooooover... in an encouraging voice as an aid.
If your pet stands up or gets overly excited, just guide them back to the down position and keep trying.
Tip: I found with my dog that when he sort of rolled over it helped to give him a little push on his side to help him roll completely over. Then I gave him the treat and he caught on quick.
Now, when my dog wants a treat he comes up and rolls over.. go figure.. it's really quite funny.
Persistence is the key. Work with your pet in 15 minute intervals each day and you and your dog will be performing for the neighbors in no time. Just remember to focus on the exaggerated arm movements and stay persistent.