Problems teaching "roll over/play dead" - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 01:33 PM Thread Starter
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Question Problems teaching "roll over/play dead"

Hello everyone! Long time lurker here.
I have two dogs, a one year old girl and a two year old boy. I enjoy teaching them little tricks just for the fun of it and both of them are pretty smart and tend to catch on really quickly. We're currently working on "roll over". What I did was to put her in a down, asked her to stay, then slowly lured her head to the side with a treat (towards her shoulder) so that she had to "fall over" in order to follow the treat. Then reward generously and lots of praise. The boy got it within two sessions and is already rolling over without a problem. The girl....not at all. As soon as I move the treat to her side she gets up into a sit or gets up completely. After some more training I can now get her to stay down long enough to follow the treat with her head towards her shoulder but then at the very last second before she'd have to flop over onto her side she gets up. I tried giving her a tiny push once, but that only seemed to confuse her more and didn't help so I'm not doing that again. We had a similar problem with "shake" where she didn't get it for the longest time, but all it took was to find a way for her to naturally paw at me by herself (outside of training sessions) and reward that and then go from there. She learned giving me left or right paw on command within minutes after that. I can't find a way for her to just "accidentally" flop onto her side though. There's no doubt in my mind that the second she finally understand what I want from her she'll be rolling over all over the place. I even had the other dog do it in front of her multiple times, thinking that might give her a hint...

Any ideas? How did you teach that trick?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 05:03 PM
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can you get a video? I'm having trouble seeing this in my mind.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 06:39 PM
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If the dog can't push into your hand the entire time to try and get the treat, it makes them inclined to move so that they can. Try and keep your hand close enough so that they can try to lick at the treat in your hand while following with their head for the entire motion.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 07:00 PM
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I would make sure she has enough room make sure she is comfortable with lying down playing dead first then work your way where she is comfortable lying on her back without flipping over. Then when she is comfortable with that then move to the flop down to finish the roll over. You can also use the treat across her face where she can follow it with her eyes in the direction you want her to go and her body will follow -guide them gently. It takes time some dogs are more awkward for them and if you want to put the time in they will do it with patience.


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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-04-2019, 07:28 PM
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If when she is laying down she offers her bellie for rubs, then maybe when you know she is going to offer the bellie, have a treat already in your hand and as soon as she slightly rolls while lifting her thigh, put the treat near her nose to follow it. This way, your using her natural already in action movement that's needed to roll over If she does roll, mark it with a clicker or what ever you use to capture a behavior and wait for another opportunity.

I tried teaching my boy roll over but he did as your girls does. I never did teach him. So I don't know if that will work. Wished I had thought of trying this back then. I did teach him to bow using a behavior he often offer.

Good luck, it sounds fun.

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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-11-2019, 11:01 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your replies!
We're training on carpet and there's definitely enough room for her to lie on her side/roll over. I have tried putting the treats closer to her nose so that she can lick them as I lure her. That helped a tiny bit (She stayed down and let me lure her head towards her shoulder a bit further). She still gets up into a sit or stands up all the way the split second before she would have to flop onto her side. I'll keep trying what you said and go for baby steps. Also, if I happen to "catch" her while she lies on her side by herself I'll mark that with a treat as well. And if it won't work - well, it's not exactly a big deal. We're doing this for fun after all. Maybe she just does not want to "play dead" or roll over. I accidentally started teaching her to scoot on her belly while trying to teach her to lie on her side so...maybe we'll just do that instead!
Thank you again, your help was much appreciated!
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