How to Teach a New Puppy to Roll Over & Tricks

Get his attention with a treat.
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Teaching your puppy tricks stimulates his mind and strengthens the bond between you. With your guidance, he can learn the roll over trick in a few days. You can begin teaching your puppy basic tricks like this beginning as early as 5 weeks old and move on to more complex tricks at around 11 weeks. When teaching a trick, the keys to success are making the dog want to perform the action without realizing it and encouraging him to repeat that action by rewarding him.

Hold a food treat in front of your new puppy’s nose. Move it down slowly toward the ground. Say “down” as Lucky follows the treat. Once your hand hits the ground, leave it there until Lucky’s nose is as low as possible.

Wait for Lucky to lie flat on the ground. Release the treat and lavish Lucky with verbal praise and physical fuss. Repeat this process until Lucky instinctively follows your hand. If necessary, gently guide Lucky into the down position with your free hand the first few times, until he gets the hang of it.

Move the treat to the side of Lucky’s head so he follows it with his nose. Continue moving the treat around his neck, over the shoulder and toward Lucky's flank. Lucky will follow this movement with his nose. But he can’t follow it all the way around without moving his body. As he begins to move his body to get a better look at the treat, say “over.” Release the treat only when Lucky rolls over to follow the treat. Reward him with praise as well.

Practice putting the "down" command and "over" command into a fluid sequence. With enough practice, Lucky will be able to put the two movements into one sequence. Then you can move on to using hand signals instead of verbal commands.

Display your hand palm down and say “down.” When Lucky lays down, give him a treat. Repeat this process until he goes down just upon seeing your hand signal. All you’ve done here is replace an aural stimulus with a visual one. Make a circular hand gesture and say “roll over.” Verbally reward your dog or proffer treats for correct behavior.

Practice the two actions until Lucky puts them together fluidly. The chances are that Lucky sees the roll over as one process, rather than two separate movements. So if he goes to roll after being put in the down position, go with it. Repeat this process daily. Give him lots of fuss and praise for his proactive attitude toward the serious business of trick learning.

An Item You Will Need

  • Food treats