After having taught Toto some basic commands, like giving you his paw or zigzagging between your legs, here is another lovely trick your dog will love trying: rolling on the ground! Elisa, the dog trainer in charge of the WeDogIt centre in Vicenza, is back in the field for a brief demonstration on how to train your dog to roll when asked!
First things first: find yourselves a roomy place where your dog can move around freely without obstacles to hamper him. Tell him to sit, if he’s familiar with the command; otherwise, gently push him down into a sitting position, rewarding him with treats when you’re obeyed.
From this position, gradually move your hand in such a way that your dog must turn his head to follow it, until he’s completely on his back. If he gets up again, move the treat away and try again. If he stretches toward the treat while on his back, immediately give him the treat and let him enjoy it.
Repeat the gesture while moving the treat towards your dog’s shoulder, forcing him to turn around his own body to get it. Remember that there is no specific reinforcement rule for this trick; you must understand when to help your dog follow your hand by giving him treats.
Different characters will require different repetitions to make sure the command is executed in a fluid, decisive manner; at this point you can introduce the verbal command “ROLL!” and associate the gesture to the required command, and reward the dog only after the command has been executed.
Still have doubts? Our video may help. Have fun!