Now that your Golden retriever has mastered the basic sit, down and stay commands it’s time to teach him something fun. We’re going to look at how to teach him the roll-over command.
There are a couple of ways you can do this and most dogs respond much better to one or the other, not both. Again, most tricks are built upon the basic commands, so make sure you teach your Golden retriever those first.
First, a foreword. If your dog has any type of joint disease make sure you get a pass from the veterinarian that you can do this. Even simple pressure can lead to serious problems if you’re not careful.
Teach your Golden retriever to roll over
The crucial thing about training is to understand that you need to reward correct behavior. Don’t punish mistakes, because only you think they are mistakes. So it won’t make any sense to the dog anyway.
Golden retrievers are usually so eager to please that they’ll do anything you want just for a little playtime. So you should have a pretty successful time teaching him this trick.
Start by having him in the down position. Grab a treat, put it in front of his nose and then slowly move it towards his shoulder. If he is turning his head to follow it you’re doing great. Next start moving the treat behind him, towards the other shoulder so he has to lie on his side to follow it.
If you have successfully gotten him on his side you’re halfway there. If he starts to sit up, or turn his body reset and try again. From the side position it is fairly easy to lure him over to the other side. Once he’s done so give him the treat and praise him enthusiastically as if he’s won the lottery.
If your Golden retriever keeps making mistakes then you’re going too fast. Try taking it a little slower than start from where the dog was doing well. If he still doesn’t get it it might be best to try and space out training sessions.
Another idea is to make them shorter. No more than 15 minutes per session followed by an intense playtime. No less than 5 minutes or training doesn’t register as an event in his mind anymore.
An alternative method to teach your Golden retriever to roll over
Basically, the first method is about luring him into rolling over with a treat. If it doesn’t work then it’s probably because the trick is too complicated all at once.
The trick in the trick is to break it down into several steps. It’ll probably take a little longer than usual but it will produce the results you want. Think of it in four successive steps. Down, on the side, on the back and over.
Down should be already taken care of. On the side is very easy since most dogs are very comfortable in that position and so are very suggestive to it. Say the command “on the side” and gently push him, encouraging him to lay comfortably on his side. As always, praise lavishly when he succeeds.
Here is the tricky part. To get him to stay on his back you must make him comfortable with you rubbing his belly. Most Golden retrievers love to get belly rubs, so you shouldn’t have much problem with that. Say the “on your back” command and begin an intense belly rub. As soon as he moves on his back just a little bit praise him and give him a treat.
Now gradually phase out the rub with just a treat. From here it’s job done. Just hold the treat on the opposite side. Now you have a set of commands that will get him through the roll-over trick. Remember to always give the commands in the same order. Finally, gradually leave out some of the commands to eventually get to just “roll over”.
This is a fun trick that you can incorporate in your playtime to spice things up. One advantage to the second method is that you can probably get him to do any of the positions composing the rollover command separately, such as “on your back”. Have fun.
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