Trouble with Roll Over - German Shepherd Dog Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 07:36 PM Thread Starter
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Trouble with Roll Over

Pepper has a very solid “down”. She’s mastered the verbal command with no physical cues. So, I thought a good next step would be roll over. My dog is normally very smart, I was able to teach her sit, stay, down, touch, come, watch, shake and heel, all with great success, and she’s only 6.5 months. She learned them very quickly too, usually in just one session. Roll over, however, she doesn’t seem to understand wtf I want her to do, and she’s getting frustrated.

I can get as far as having her lay down on her side. She figured that part out pretty quickly. However, when I try to lure her onto her back for the flip, she seems to get incredibly confused. She’ll follow the high value treat I’m using, but only as far as she can reach without having to flip over. After that, she immediately gets frustrated, and tries to stand up to get the treat. Honestly, I don’t get why, as that would be way more work than simply flipping over to the other side.

Honestly, I couldn’t care less if she never learns to roll over, I’m only trying so hard because I KNOW she’s a smart girl and could learn it if I figure out the right way to teach her.

Anyone else struggle with roll over? How did you eventually do it?
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 08:34 PM
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( Starting from a down)I lured with a high value treat with one hand and once my girl went from the down position to moving to her side I used my free hand to push her over with the momentum. 2-3 repetitions and she had it.
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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 09:42 PM
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Be animated, help a little if need be, but being animated and making a HUGE deal out of a success (with help or without) will get success!

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Mark Twain

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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 10:19 PM
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I understand that teaching a dog to learn tricks can be frustrating! But you got a GSD on your hand, so it's much fun than frustrating. I also remember to take a breather when he's not getting it. And try again the next day and be consistent.

With roll over, to my experience is the biggest advantage is to see where your dog leans it when he's laying down. Mine tends to put his hips to the right, so when he rolls over he rolls to the right. Step one is to get him from the laying down position to the 'dead bug position.' Once he gets to the dead bug position, the rest will be reflex of him rolling over.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-22-2018, 10:27 PM
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Also always keep the treat close to her mouth. Use a high value stinky treats too! I use soft training treats or those dried beef/salmon/venison stuff. Biscuits aren't for training in my opinion.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 02:06 AM
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My dobie was super-smart and also learned all her tricks and obedience very quickly and easily. Except roll-over. Would not. Could not. The dog simply could not tolerate being on her back for any reason. Maybe it's just an uncomfortable position for her? Either due to some physical discomfort, or to feeling too vulnerable? Unless she's the sort that loves to roll onto her back for belly scritches.....then it seems like the trick should be easy to learn.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 07:49 AM
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My big boy never did like doing roll over on command. He didn't like taking his eye off of the treat so he spun around instead. I know he CAN roll over. He does it in the yard in the grass on his own. Sometimes when my gal-dog doesn't "get it" when I ask her to do a trick, she will start guessing and doing all kinds of things. It is lovely chaos but she has to stop and listen before she gets the reward. Sometimes if dogs get frustrated they shut down. My big boy will go sit on the bottom stair and look at me as if to say, "I don't want to disappoint you but I just don't understand what you want". All trick training stops until later.

Try working on something different for awhile and come back to roll over later. Crawl can be a good one. I use tricks as part of a small exercise work-out and crawl can be a nice stretch.

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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 09:52 AM
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Are you practicing on a soft surface?



If you are having difficulty luring the behavior try capturing. Watch your dog for a day or two and keep track of if and when she rolls over on her own. Now if you don't ever catch her doing it that may be a big clue that it is not a behavior that she enjoys or is comfortable for her to perform. If you do see her doing it plan a head and have some treats on hand or nearby so you can mark and reinforce the behavior. If she has a solid understanding of marker training she should catch on pretty quick and start to offer the behavior on purpose.

If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone for the advice!!! Pepper does love to roll on her back for belly rubs, so I know it’s not a problem with being on her back. I’m definitely feeling encouraged to keep trying! We’ll take it very slow and try to do a little more every day!
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 11-23-2018, 09:45 PM
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It definitely helps if you push them over and repeat that a few times so they understand what you're asking. I actually just taught my girl to roll over for fun, but if anything it's more of a "plop" over, lol. She gets to the midway point on her back, then just plops over onto her side and expects the treat

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