How to Easily Teach a Dog to Roll Over

Your dog doesn't know how to roll over? Well, you're lucky because here's how to teach a dog to roll over. So let's get rolling!

Your dog doesn’t know how to roll over? Well, you’re lucky because here’s how to teach a dog to roll over. So let’s get rolling!

“Rollover” is a cute trick that is easy and fun to teach your dog. While you don’t have to be a professional dog trainer to teach a dog to roll over, you must have already prepared your dog how to lie down before attempting this dog trick.

Before you start, your dog should already be able to sit and lie down on command.

This is essential for completing the roll-over trick since the dog has to be lying down to perform it.

Teaching Your Dog to Roll Over

Choose an indoor location with a soft floor since your dog will be spending lots of time rolling around on the ground.

Select a reinforcer to provide your dog as they learn. A great reinforcer should be something your dog loves and easy to give repeatedly. For 99% of dogs, this is some food item like a treat. 

1. Ask Your Dog to Lay Down

Your dog should start the roll-over trick in a lying-down position, resting on his stomach with his paws in front of him and his head lifted. He’ll be able to roll over easily and without hurting himself from this position.

Ask your dog to lay down
Ask your dog to lay down.

Please give them a treat and then kneel beside them, near their head, and hold a treat in front of their nose, where the dog can see and smell it.

2. Move the Treat Toward Your Dog’s Shoulder

Get the dog’s attention and bring the treat to his shoulders. Then should make him lay down on his side. When this happens, reward and praise him.

Rinse and repeat until the dog consistently lays on his side.

The dog lays on his side
The dog lays on his side.

Not all dogs are comfortable rolling on their back, so take baby steps and reward him whenever the dog tries to reach for your hand.

Some dogs also prefer rolling on one side versus the other, so you need to find out which side your dog likes.

While the dog is flat on his side, rotate the treat up and around your dog’s head so that his nose follows the treat. Where the nose goes, the head and body will usually follow.

This will cause the dog to roll over.

Move the treat toward your dog’s shoulder
Move the treat toward your dog’s shoulder.

If necessary, you can use your free hand to gently help your dog rollover if your dog is not quite getting a move on his own. In addition, dogs respond positively to an encouraging “good boy or good girl.”

Don’t forget to say “rollover” in a clear and friendly voice while you move the treat around the side of his head.

3. Praise Your Dog and Give it the Treat

After your dog completes a whole roll, reward it with the treat immediately afterward. If using a clicker, click it before giving your dog the treat.

Praise your dog with a treat
Praise your dog with a treat.

If your pup has trouble rolling over, praise and feed the treat a couple of times as soon as they wind up on their side, then go back to trying to get the whole rollover movement.

Sometimes we need to get the dogs to follow the hand without food. Sometimes they’re so focused on that food that they’re not quite as aware of what they’re doing.

4. Add a Verbal Cue and Hand Signal

Add a verbal cue and combine it with a hand signal once your dog is consistently following the treat to roll over. The key is to get your dog to associate the spoken command with the physical move of rolling over.

The final step in teaching your dog to roll over is to stop using treats to lure him into the roll.

Keep practicing until your dog can do the trick without help. After enough practice and treats, your dog will learn to roll over on your command alone.

When that happens, stop rewarding it with a treat after every roll so you can use goodies to teach your dog a new trick instead.


Patience is critical with this one! Don’t move too fast or expect your dog to be able to do the entire cue in one training session.

Remember, teaching your dog tricks can give you hours of entertainment and an excellent opportunity to strengthen the bond between you and your pup.