Teaching a Dog Role: Explained In 7 Steps

How do you teach a dog to roleplay?

Although the exercise looks so easy once a dog can do it, it is actually very taxing on the dog.

Teaching your dog to roll isn’t easy.

We have created a step-by-step guide that will take you and your dog by the hand and paw.

In a nutshell: Dog trick roll – that’s how it works

Teaching your dog to roll requires a few prior commands. In particular, “place”.

Here’s a guide on how to teach your dog to “squat.”

With these step-by-step instructions, your dog will learn the command in no time.

  • Have your dog perform “down.”
  • Grab a treat.
  • Guide the treat to the right or left side of your dog’s stomach.
  • Then you lift the treat over your back to the other side to the floor.
  • Say the command as soon as your dog makes the rolling motion and reward him.

Teach your dog to roll – you still have to consider that

The roll is not only a difficult trick to learn, but also exhausting for the dog!

In this case, the turning movement comes from your dog’s muscles – it is a strain on him.

So don’t ask your animal to play the role too often.

Is the role dangerous?

Every now and then one reads that dog tricks like roll could be dangerous.

That’s not really true – but it’s not entirely wrong either.

Theoretically, there is a possibility that your dog could suffer a torsion in the stomach during the rotation.

Realistically, your dog will roll over on its back a lot on its own and has never had a torsion in the stomach.

If you want to be sure to minimize the risk of gastric torsion, your dog should not have eaten before rolling practice.

Role just doesn’t work

Your dog just doesn’t understand the role?

No wonder – it’s damn hard to teach the dog to combine the command with the roll movement.

Rolle is not a trick that you see all the time for nothing.

In this case, try to give your dog more time for the individual steps. It’s better to practice just a few steps more often until they sit and then add new ones.

Your dog doesn’t want to perform the role

There are several reasons for this behavior:

The ground’s too hard
your dog is in pain
your dog is confused and doesn’t understand the command

Correct ground

Nobody wants to push their spine around on the hard floor – not even your dog.

Provide a particularly soft and comfortable surface.


Some dogs, especially seniors, have problems with their joints or already show osteoarthritis.

Only allow your dog to perform the roll command if you are sure that he has no problems with his spine.

Dog doesn’t understand role


… are you holding the treat too close or too far away from your dog.
… you don’t put the treat far enough back over the dog’s back.
… you were too fast.
Make sure that you put the treat as centrally as possible over the dog’s back. So it’s not enough if your dog just turns its head to the other side of its belly.

Also, run the treat over the dog slowly enough that the dog doesn’t lose interest or snap at the treat.

How long will it take…

… until your dog can roll.

Since every dog ​​learns at a different rate, the question of how long it takes can only be answered vaguely.

The role usually takes much longer than other dog tricks. Therefore, do not expect that it will be done with a few attempts.

You will definitely need at least 5 training sessions of 10-15 minutes each until your dog has understood what he should do for the first time.

It can take another 5 – 10 training sessions before the roll works without the help of a treat in your hand.

Utensils needed

Treats! Food helps enormously with training.

However, since most of these are not particularly low in calories, you should use them more sparingly during training.

Use treats that have a strong smell for the roll. This will make it easier for your dog to follow them.

Step-by-step guide: Teach the dog to roll

  1. You start with your dog in the place position.
  2. Then grab a treat and pass it to the left or right of the stomach side just in front of the dog’s nose.
  3. If you hold the treat too close, your dog will try to grab it from your hand. On the other hand, if you hold it too far away, he will no longer follow it with his nose.
  4. Once your dog has his head on his stomach, run the treat up his back.
  5. Then the turning movement begins. Say the command.
  6. Guide the treat to the floor and wait for your dog to finish rolling over.
  7. Reward your dog with the treat.


The role is a difficult feat and only works really well if your dog knows the individual steps perfectly.

Make sure to only practice this trick when your dog doesn’t have any food in his stomach. In this way, you minimize the risk of torsion in the stomach enormously.

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