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Discussion Starter #1
is roll over. This is the most basic dog trick in the book yet I can't get Kaki to do it.

Part of my wonders if it's painful for her because her spine sticks out so much. Her 'play dead' is basically laying motionless on her side. That was a piece of cake and she likes to 'die' in the middle of our training sessions.

I have tried luring and shaping her to follow the lure. For every inch her nose moves toward the treat she gets a click+treat. But the farthest she's made it is sticking her nose straight in the air while still laying on her side.

Does anybody have any tips or secret tricks?

I'm not going to be terribly upset if she never learns this one. But it baffles me that she can turn the lights off or retrieve my shoes yet she can't roll over.

I've tried catching it too like when she rolls in the grass but that usually leaves me kicking myself for not having treats handy at the time.
 

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I've read that roll over is hard for some dogs to do. I'm not a good trainer but I've never been able to teach Buffy to do it, even though she knows "show me your belly," I can't even lure her to turn over the rest of the way.
 

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I think it hurts or frightens some dogs. My old dog, Muggsy, would occasionally accidentally roll over and he would scream, thrash around to get back on his feet, then run upstairs and hide under the bed. I suspect he was alpha rolled a lot by his former owner. Kabota doesn't seem pained or frightened, he just doesn't seem to like it.
 

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I was able to lure Kimma in to a roll over, but it's her most hated trick. When she does it, she like flails her legs and makes weird noises LOL. I don't think it's comfortable for her. But her play dead is, like Kaki's, a good default trick that Kimma throws in during shaping sessions if she can't figure out what I want LOL.

Honestly, if it bugs you, maybe keep luring (or just bring treats with you everywhere in case she does it on her own). But otherwise, I would be tempted to just not worry about it. I actually don't plan on teaching it to either of my other guys hahaha.
 

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I have only been able to teach one of my dogs roll over. I would get him in a down position, put the treat right in front of his nose and make a circular motion with my hand while saying, "Roll over". He got it fairly quickly. He, however, loves to roll over and scratch his back, sleep on his back, etc. I think it was easy because he naturally likes the position. I did the same thing with my other dog and he just looked at me like I was nuts so I taught him "spin" instead.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Honestly, if it bugs you, maybe keep luring (or just bring treats with you everywhere in case she does it on her own). But otherwise, I would be tempted to just not worry about it. I actually don't plan on teaching it to either of my other guys hahaha.
Yeah, I'll probably just let it go. I've challenged +two to try to teach it to her, lol.

She's not at all shy about giving me her belly or playing dead which is what makes me think it is her spine. *shrugs* It's not a big deal.
 

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The most common mistake I see when people try to teach this is not rewarding small enough increments. First, reward the down. Then reward rolling onto a hip. Then reward the neck bend. Then more neck bend. Then reward when the dog is on their back. Then a little more. Pretty soon you have it. But reward teeny tiny steps in the process. Otherwise, a lot of dogs just give up.

And be careful what you teach! I had a boston that would barrel roll 10 times whenever a house guest picked up food!!! Very annoying!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
The most common mistake I see when people try to teach this is not rewarding small enough increments. First, reward the down. Then reward rolling onto a hip. Then reward the neck bend. Then more neck bend. Then reward when the dog is on their back. Then a little more. Pretty soon you have it. But reward teeny tiny steps in the process. Otherwise, a lot of dogs just give up.

And be careful what you teach! I had a boston that would barrel roll 10 times whenever a house guest picked up food!!! Very annoying!
This is what I had been doing with Kaki. We already have to use very small increments/high rate of reinforcement because of her oh so fragile self-esteem.
 

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My dog is an 11 yo Lab-GSD. He knows more than 200 hand and voice cues. I taught him to read......He even understands subtle gestures and glances... BUT...

1. When he doesn't want to play, he seems as dumb as The Simpson's "Santa's Little Helper" dumb as a brick. and I go away (Smart!)
2. He will not retrieve except for in the back yard... never anywhere else.
3. He will not roll over. I can get him to roll from one side then to another side, but he is ungraceful (painful?) when he rolls over. And, I can feel his spine, so I imagine it 'sticks out.'

So, with so many other behaviors, I felt it was OK not to teach one of the 'common' tricks.....
 

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You could try shaping a head turn while she's on her side (no lure). That said. Ray doesn't like to roll over, I figure it's like some kids find sommersaults fun and others find them somewhat disorienting. He does enough other brilliant stuff that I don't much care if he doesn't want to roll over.
 

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But the farthest she's made it is sticking her nose straight in the air while still laying on her side.
If you can reach that point, my impression is that you're just holding the treat too high and too far forward.

I got Snoopy to roll over by starting in a down, holding the treat low beneath his nose. Then I move the treat in towards his shoulder. With him, if I moved it too fast, instead of flopping onto his side he'd want to shuffle his rear end sideways and rotate to try to face it. So slowly in towards the shoulder while his face follows, then in and up far enough that he has to lean and his body starts to go into a sideways flop. Then I'd keep the treat close in near his body while I move it over and behind his head, sort of like I'm trying to place the treat on his back just below his neck, so his head continues craning around to reach it. Moving it upwards too quickly resulted in him wanting to stand up.

That eventually led to rolling onto his back. I didn't praise and treat until I could get him on his side and at least turning his head in the right direction (I wasn't clicker training then). And I didn't reward that for long before I asked for more, because I wanted this to turn into a fluid motion. I kept experimenting with the treat positioning as I moved it around the back of his head, and with my hand speed to see what worked best, until I got him to roll onto his back. I didn't purposely break the behavior into smaller steps here - as soon as he got on his back I kept my hand moving and tried to use his momentum to help him follow the treat the rest of the way over. The first few times he got onto his back, I praised and treated regardless of whether he finished the roll, or rolled back the way he came. But I didn't reward this many times.

After that it seemed to be a matter of keeping the treat in a place where he could still see it, but it wasn't high over his head to make him want to pop up for it... once on his back it has to kinda go down in between his flailing front paws while luring his nose across his chest in the right direction. I don't know if that makes sense.

Anyways, now I can get him to roll all the way over, and I only reward for that, not for rolling back the other direction. We haven't really worked on it much beyond this point. I don't know why - I should finish working it and attach the cue now that I've started clicker training. One of our problems though is that the act of rolling over works Snoopy up. We can usually only practice it about 3 times before he's really excited and starts popping up rather than completing his roll. I think he assumes it's time to play on the floor with me or something lol.
 

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I posted pretty much the same thing a while ago Tofu......We never did get it (though I stopped trying after a while, concentrating on other stuff). I figure getting her to roll on her side on command is good enough for me, especially if I need to brush her or anything like that :)
Great instructions though snoopy! If I try again I'll be keeping those in mind!
 

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I have the same issue with Bello. And he lays all the time belly completely exposed on his spine so I doubt that is it for him. He'll play dead as well, just no roll over. Brittany knows it so I think what I'm going to do is have her do it a few times so MAYBE he will get what I'm asking. Doubtful, but worth a shot to try.
 

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If you can reach that point, my impression is that you're just holding the treat too high and too far forward.
I was wondering that, too. A really great tip I was given for teaching this is to keep the lure very low, against their body, and pretty far back - at the level of the back edge of the shoulder blade. So they are looking towards their own butt instead of up in the air. Then move it straight back, keeping it on the body, until you move between the shoulder blades and onto the floor. When they get on their back, I gently roll them the rest of the way and then mark/treat there.

Squash LOVES rolling over, it's one of his go-to tricks when he's fishing for treats. Pip doesn't care for it at all, and Maisy is sorta lukewarm. So there obviously are differences between individual dogs.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'll have to try out holding the treat differently and see it that gets us anywhere.

Thanks for all the input guys!

ETA: I don't do much luring with Kaki. I actually had to kind of teach her to follow a lure at all as weird as that sounds.
 

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Maybe I've had it easy. Snoopy has always been one to flop on his back, from the time he was tiny. I threw together some examples lol...



Sometimes I'd just catch him sleeping that way, but usually it was when I'd be petting him, he'd fall over and roll so I could reach the tummy better.
 

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Holly will not roll over either, i'm really trying to teach her tricks, i've not been doing it much really, but i have always tried this trick and not get anywhere, she did a command i asked her to do today right on the first try, which shocked me, because i asked her to stop while chasing a ball, and she loves her ball, and down she went, but she will not roll over, not even for her ball!.
 
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