How to teach a dog to roll over in 3 easy steps.

By Jean Cote | Posts

People often ask me how they can train their dog to do a variety of tricks. Some of the easier ones to start with is shake a paw, high five and roll over. From my experience, I have found that you can learn how to teach a dog to roll over in 3 easy steps.

  • The first thing you want to have is some delicious dog treats to train your dog. It is best to use a special treat that your dog doesn’t normally get to eat so that he is enthusiastic about the training. I recommend using turkey sausages because they are inexpensive and easy to cut into small pieces for training.
  • Begin your training by putting your dog in a sit position, and then you want to bring the treat next to his nose and down to the ground, and gradually move your hand towards his neck. Give your dog a treat for following your hand and going onto his back. Next, you want to move you hand further away from him so that he rolls over. Make sure that you praise your dog often throughout the training. The most enthusiastic you are during your training session, the more your dog is going to love training with you.
Click here to get the extended video lesson

  • Once your dog can roll over, you will want to say the command “Roll Over!” at the same time that you “lure” him with the treat. Remember to always give him a treat after he rolls over so that he learns what is expected of him.
  • Practice these exercises every day for a week. After that, you will want to phase out the treats so that your dog can roll over without having to use treats. I also recommend that you train in different environments; train in your backyard, your local park or at your friend’s house – that way your dog will be able to perform his new trick everywhere he goes.


  • You can always use toys instead of treats if your dog is not motivated by food. Use a special toy that you can keep especially for training, like a tug-toy or a squeaky toy.
  • Your training session should only be about 5 to 10 minutes long, and you can train several times a day (up to 3 times a day).
  • Don’t forget to always praise your dog throughout the training, especially when he completes the roll over trick. You want your dog to have the greatest fun during training, and if you are enthusiastic, he will pick up your energy and will be more willing to work with you.

Click here to get the extended video lesson

About the Author

Jean Cote is an animal lover and the founder of the Dog Trick Academy. For more than a decade, he has served as a coach to thousands of dog owners around the world to better train, communicate and forge a stronger bond with their dog using positive and force-free training methods.

  • Jamari says:

    my dog dosent do it she just looks at it and trys to get the treat out of my hand

    • Jean Cote says:

      You have to do it gradually. Your goal in the beginning is to get your dog in a down position, then it is to get her to move her head towards her back. That should be your whole focus until she is good at doing that. Then you can get her to move onto her side. It’s hard to explain in writing without showing to you personally.

    • Flygurlsadajah says:

      yea mine to

    • NOT TELLING MY NAME:) says:

      Same thing with my puppy Max!!! Someone finely gets it!!!

    • meme says:

      I had a hard time teaching my dog roll over, I bought this book which is amazing! it said to just go to her shoulder ( i was going to far)

  • Sierra says:

    my dog did it perfect but it took about a month for her to do it at the command

    • Jean Cote says:

      Thanks for sharing. Yes it does take a little while for dogs to learn the command, but if you have precise timing you can produce faster results. And the more tricks and behaviors you teach your dog, then the easier your dog will learn. Keep up the great work! And teach your dog many more tricks. 🙂

    • arria says:

      lol my dog did it perfectly it took me 5weeks

  • David says:

    My dog is good at it but he keeps mistaking it for ‘sit’ or ‘over’ or ‘jump down’ and I don’t know what to do, he just well does it at the wrong command and I can’t fix the mistake!!

    • Jean Cote says:

      Hi. Make sure that you train your dog in training sessions of 3 to 5 minutes in length. And during this time, only reward the behavior that you want, in this case, for rolling over and ignore all of the other ones. Once your dog has figured out that you will only reinforce him for rolling over, say your command just as he does the behavior.

      If you give him a treat for three different things, then it will confuse your dog. Hope this helps. 😉


    this didn’t work with my dog at all. He just ended up biting my hand.

  • Lavaiszia Lavaiszia says:

    I don’t really understand what you are supposed to do with your hand in the first step…

    • Jean Cote says:

      Basically you have to break down the roll over behavior onto smaller steps. If you imagine your dog rolling over, the first thing he must do is turn his head to his side to get enough momentum to turn over. The goal of the first step is to use a piece of food to move his head towards that direction. Then with time and as your dog learns the position, you can gradually move your hand further so that he has to stretch more and finally roll over.

      I should do a video of this. 😉

  • Cora says:

    I’ve been trying to teach my dog for a while to roll over. Googled how to this website came up and he was rolling over after 2 mins no joke. 🙂 do happy!

  • rob says:

    The dog in the picture above looks like my dog’s twin! What breed is it? Australian cattle dog/mix?

  • Bella says:

    I have tried so many times with my yorkie but she somehow finds a way to just turn her head without laying on her back 😛

    • Jean Cote says:

      Some dogs may need some tweaking with the technique. Basically you want to reward her for turning her head in the beginning, but then you will want to raise your criteria of reinforcement.

      This means that now she will have to stretch a little bit further before getting the treat. You can continue doing this until she is on her side, and until she rolls over, one very small step at a time.

      Think of it this way: when you are training her, your goal is to reach whatever criteria you have established prior to training.

    • Zane says:

      I know what you mean my dog missy does the same thing

  • Kristen says:

    This worked amazingly. My work has a large Chihuahua (hes not fat he is just tall and long for a Chihuahua) we’ve been trying to teach him since we brought him home to roll over he learns very quickly and picked up sit down speak and high five within a matter of minutes but we just couldnt get him to roll over. I googled how to teach your dog to roll over this was the first link and within a matter of minutes he not only rolled over on vocal command but also on only gesture command as well

  • karissa says:

    My dog is too scared to lay on his back so this will not work I’ve tried everything to get my dog to lay on his back but he will not do it what do you think that I should do?

    • bellyrubs says:

      Belly rubs is a good reason to be OK with laying on his back! Once he associates “on your back” is a GOOD thing .. he likely will no problem. Do it when he’s nice & calm though & not all hyped up or anxious state. Calm & a belly rub? How much better can it get!! Oh My! woof!

  • Whatever it is says:

    My puppy won’t roll over. I’m thinking its because her size. She’s a St.bernard so I don’t know if that effects anything.

  • Jean Cote says:

    Some dogs don’t particularly like certain tricks. I mean, you can literally teach your dog hundreds of tricks, if rolling over isn’t on her favorites list, then move on to the next one. 😉

  • Jean Cote says:

    Reward him for going on his side. As you build value to being on his side, he will begin to relax and be more comfortable. With time and practice, you can slowly get him to go further and further until he’s totally on his back. This will take some time, but it should work.

  • kaerdna says:

    Worked like magic. In no time, my jack russell mix was rolling over with a treat. Can’t believe we can already start working on getting him to do it with just the command.

  • GreenNails says:

    My dog paws me for the treat, because i taught her to “paw me… The other paw!” and she knows that to get a treat from inside my fist she has to “brofist” me with her paw. Guess she’ll never rollover on cue…

  • Not says:

    My dog doesn’t do anything no more

  • bluegirl says:

    Gonna try it thanks!!! 😆 😮

  • annie says:

    :thumbsup: 😉 thanks so much 😀

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