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Discussion Starter #1
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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( 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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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!
 

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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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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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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. :p
 

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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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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.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
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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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 :p
 

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I am hesitant about the roll over trick and have not used it for any of my dogs. I am too worried about the stomach torsion since the bred is prone to it.
I almost lost Deja this summer to a colon torsion.
 

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It just takes some time and repetion. It’s a great trick to teach on cold winter days. When I taught max this I made sure He had plenty of space to roll. From a down position I would lure him with a treat to his side keeping treat close to him. I would do this in both directions - gets them comfortable -when comfortable you can add a word like play dead etc. once they are on their side take the treat and lure them with treat close to their mouth and over and out to the side. They will be a lot of flailing and it will look ugly lol so you can help them along guiding them over. It’s jiat mostly repetition. Once comfortable you can add the word roll over. Lots of special good treats to use as food lures and rewards. They do learn to enjoy roll over. Again when max first learning roll over he looked like a seizing baby elk. I just took a quick sloppy roll over video but to show with repetition they do learn it and have fun with it. (Don’t mind my son in background he is just teasing)
https://youtu.be/uonegudC85E
https://youtu.be/5_3ceZ9mSrk
 

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cute. I stopped asking for a roll over and go with a version of "play dead". Since I've decided to stop play shooting my dogs I say "MEDIC" They woof and stagger and then lay on their side with paws somewhat in the air...all the extra dramatics were my big-boy's idea but I love it. Then I yell, "German Shepherds Down, Call the Medics" and they get a tasty treat.
 

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@car2ner , I love it! I started teaching Beau to roll over a couple of months ago. Once he sort of got what I was after and completed a roll, he looked at me like I’d lost my mind. He already looks at me a little bit like that when I ask him to Spin, so I let it drop.
 

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made a video...and of course as soon as I plan to record, that is when someone acts like they have no clue. That tells me one thing, My gal-dog might be taking physical cues more than the verbal cue. She started out against the door which gave her no room to lay down. When she does that she usually just flops down on her free side but not this time. My big-boy, on the other hand, has the procedure down nicely.


so, not roll over but our version of play dead.
 

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I am hesitant about the roll over trick and have not used it for any of my dogs. I am too worried about the stomach torsion since the bred is prone to it.
I almost lost Deja this summer to a colon torsion.
I was told by a friend in the vet field to not teach my large breed dogs to roll over did this reason. I'm not sure how accurate it is and haven't been able to find any info on it though. Something about naturally rolling over being different from when they are told to. I know in cattle rolling them over the wrong way can cause issues but obviously cattle have a very different digestive system and different body type.
 

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I am another that was warned by a vet I trust not to teach roll over to bigger dogs. It's enough of a concern that I don't.
 

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It is good to be cautious but I just saw the old shepherd gal rolling over in her yard of her own free will. She was loving it.
 

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Lol Beau will sometimes roll onto his back and squirm happily on his bed. He did it yesterday when we got home from a longer than usual walk. His bed is pretty thick and soft. He doesn’t usually roll all the way over, just likes to squirm on the bed. He does that on the grass at the park sometimes, too, that’s why I thought he’d go for the trick. But luring him to roll all the way over, that seemed to weird him out. The look he gave me was like, what the h**l was that about??
 
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