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11 Surprising Reasons Why Your Dog Won’t Roll Over + 7 Tips

Why Won't My Dog Roll Over

Do you enjoy teaching your pooch new tricks?

It’s fun! 

You might see other dogs and dog parents doing the rollover.

It looks amazing and you want to try it with your pooch too. 

But you’re disappointed that your dog didn’t respond to your command. 

“Does my dog don’t understand me? Am I doing it wrong?”

I got you!

Keep reading to discover: 

  • An easy step-by-step roll over training.
  • The answer to why your dog won’t roll over.
  • 11 surprising reasons why your dog doesn’t want to roll over.
  • 7 useful tips on how to get your dog to do a roll over so it won’t trouble you anymore.
  • And a lot more…

Why won’t my dog roll over?

Your dog won’t roll over because the training strategy is hard, they’re a beginner, in pain, dislike the training surfaces, don’t want to do it, distracted, forgot how to do it, too excited, anxious, old or the trick isn’t motivating.

Why won’t my dog roll over anymore?

Your dog won’t roll over anymore because they’re in pain, something got their attention or they forgot how to do the trick. 

The reason for a dog refusing to roll over won’t be the same for every dog. 

Your dog’s case can be minor or severe.

 It’s best to know what’s really causing this by observing your dog’s behavior. 

You’ll know if it’s something serious if your dog:

  • Stops eating.
  • Starts limping.
  • Yelps if touched. 
  • Doesn’t want to move.

These are the go signals to take your dog to the animal hospital. 

If the only thing they don’t want to do is roll over then maybe they’re just tired, distracted, or hungry. 

11 reasons why your dog won’t roll over 

#1: The training strategy is ineffective

Your dog’s learning efficiency depends on your training ability.

Do you voice out a clear command?

In training, it’s critical to have a clear command. A short but precise command to be exact.

In this case, stating “roll over” loudly and clearly will do.

As a result, your pooch will have no trouble understanding what you’re saying.

Can your dog see you while you train them?

Make sure that you stand in front of your Fido. Make them lock their eyes on you.

If your dog can see you clearly during training, their attention will focus on you.

They’re able to watch every move you make. As well as your commands. 

Researchers found out companion dogs need to see their human’s face during training. If they don’t, they’re likely to be confused and fearful.

Seeing and hearing you well will help your dog understand you better and faster.

#2: Beginner’s perspective

Dog Won't Roll Over Because Of Beginner's Perspective

Are you a beginner at training dogs?

Or is your dog a beginner in training?

Teaching a complex trick such as roll over without introducing the basics is a common beginner’s mistake.

In addition, dogs who’ve never been trained before will find it hard to get a hold on roll over.

Rolling over takes several basic tricks before your pooch takes a grasp on it.

It’s similar to learning how to ride a motorbike. I mean, to learn how to operate a motorbike if you know to cycle. 

#3: Your pooch is anxious

The previous reason may influence your dog’s anxiety in rolling over.

Newbies will find rolling on their backs to be a frightening experience.

It’s the same when you try to do new things. Learning to ride a bike, for example.

A child who has never tried riding a bike will find it scary. They’ll be concerned about falling or injuring themselves.

I remember my first try. I was super scared and I felt as if I’m never going to do it. 

It was frustrating because it looked so easy when others were doing it. Yet, I kept falling and falling from the bike. It just felt hopeless in the beginning. 

But the more I tried, the more I felt it. And I managed to find my balance. Then it started feeling cool. And I was finally able to enjoy it. 

But enough about me. And back to your pooch. 

It’s possible that your dog feels in a similar way. They become anxious and concerned about their own well-being. 

The good news is you can overcome that by being patient. Staying by their side. And not forcing them. Rather give them a time-out. Then repeat. 

And don’t forget to add a treat for every step of the way. And whenever you see progress.

#4: Your dog doesn’t want to do the trick 

“I don’t want to do it, hooman.”

Okay, this is more than just your dog being stubborn. Consider your dog’s current physiological state.

What they’re feeling could be the reason why they don’t want to do a rollover.

For example, they could be tired from walking and playing. Or, they’re hungry. They could also be sleepy.

Consider attending to your dog’s needs first. Such as letting them rest, giving them food, or letting them take their nap.

Then, you can try it again later. 

#5: Your Fido’s in pain

Another reason why your dog doesn’t want to roll over is that they have an injury. 

They may have gotten it before or during the roll over.

Your pooch could hurt themselves by doing the roll over repetitively. It could be their stomach (if they are full), neck, legs, or back. 

Make sure to stop if your pooch starts to show signs of an injury, these could be:

  • Any kind of limping. 
  • Refusing to bend or move around.
  • Yelping when you touch or carry them.
  • Arched back or standing in an unusual position.

#6: Your dog doesn’t like the training surfaces 

One thing to consider when training your pooch is the training surface. 

What kind of surface do you let them practice on?

Do you let them roll over on wet, cold, or hard surfaces?

Some dogs will refuse to roll over surfaces they don’t like. 

My friend’s Shih Tzu, Zia, only does a roll over trick on a carpet and a soft mat. Her furdad tried several times to make her roll over their tiled floor and she just refuses to do so. 

A hard surface could be uncomfortable during rolling over.

#7: Your dog’s distracted

Your Fido won’t roll over when they lose focus on the training.

This can happen if they see something more interesting at the moment. 

I’m sure this has happened to you at least several times. Imagine you’re talking to a friend. But then a really cute dog walks by. You suddenly stop talking and turn to look at them.

As the dog walks away, you focus on your conversation again. But it takes a bit of time because you got distracted.

It’s the same for our pooches. What can distract them could be their favorite toys or other dogs. 

People watching them while training can be a distraction as well. Your dog might run or bark at them. 

This will encourage your pooch to play rather than train.

#8: Your dog forgets how to do it 

You’ve taught your pooch the roll over trick before and have done it smoothly. 

Then you command your dog to do it again, and they don’t respond the same way they did before.

“Can my dog forget the training?”

Yup! Particularly if you don’t practice with them often. 

Dogs don’t have a computer brain. Your pooch is likely to forget something that isn’t done on a regular basis.

Dementia could also be the cause of your dog’s forgetfulness. 

It can be developed particularly if…

#9: You have a senior dog

Having a senior dog that won’t roll over could be due to their old age. 

This is because with age, they become weak and forgetful.

As I’ve mentioned before, being forgetful could be due to…

Canine Cognitive Dysfunction (CCD)

Commonly known as Dementia in dogs. This is a canine cognitive condition that has symptoms comparable to Alzheimer’s disease in people. 

But how can you recognize if your dog has it?

Dr. Denise Petryk, DVM advises dog parents to use the acronym DISHA. 

These are the symptoms that DISHA refers to:

  • Disorientation.
  • Interactions with family members or other pets are altered.
  • Sleep-wake cycle changes.
  • House soiling.
  • Activity level changes.

Fortunately, there’s something that can be a great help for forgetful elderly dogs.

The findings of a study prove that supplements from natural food such as Ginkgo Biloba and vitamin E can improve a senior dog’s memory. 

#10: Your dog is too excited

Your fur baby will choose you over a trick.

Let’s say you’ve been gone for a while. 

Your pooch who’s been waiting all day for your return will be so excited when they see you. Asking them to do a trick may be difficult to achieve. 

They’ll be eager to cling to you. They’re too excited to have quality time with you that they’ll sacrifice doing a trick.  

#11: The trick is not motivating

“A trick for a treat, Mom/Dad.”

Trained dogs know that after doing a trick they will get a reward. 

My dog, Lissa, does the same when she has a ball in her mouth. She comes near and stares at me. If she sees me holding a treat, she’s more than ready to drop the ball.

If not, good luck at getting it from her! She just wants to make a switch. “The ball for cookies!”, her playful gaze is telling me.

So, your dog could be thinking something similar such as:

“No reward, no rolling.”

However, if you’re a dog parent that already rewards Fido a treat and they still don’t do it. 

Then it might be that the reward you’re giving them is not motivating enough.

Some pooches will get bored if you reward them the same treat over and over again. 

While others might prefer something else as a reward. It could be chicken or a new flavored treat. The latter two are also known as high-value snacks. 

What makes them high-value ones is that your dog doesn’t receive them often. so when they do, it’s like a special occasion. Kind of like what eating cake is. A B-Day dessert. 

7 tips on how to get your dog to roll over 

#1: Keep your dog focused 

Some dogs are easily distracted.

An effective way to prevent this from happening is by keeping all the distractions away. 

Meaning the roll over training is best to happen in a closed space or room. Where there’s not much to distract them.

Don’t worry, this is only for the time where they’re starting to learn the trick. 

You can gradually move them to open space if they already master the tricks.

#2: Provide a good training surface 

Make sure your dog is practicing on a good surface.

Try to see if it’s comfortable to roll over in.

Check to see if the surface is cold, wet, or hard.

The grass, matting, and other soft surfaces will appeal to them. You may also get veterinarian bedding for Fido.

As a result, your dog won’t find it painful to roll over. They won’t hesitate to do it over again. 

#3: Train your dog in 4 easy steps

Invest time in training your dog. This is the most effective way to make your pooch roll over.

If you still don’t know where to start, here’s the 4 easy step-by-step roll over training:

  1. Make your dog lay flat on their belly. 
  2. Use a treat and hold it near their nose.
  3. Move your hand towards your dog’s shoulder. Keep moving your hand until they make a complete roll over.
  4. Add the command “roll over” as you repeat the process.

To get a better idea of how it works, watch this video: 

#4: Use a reward system during training

It’s motivating if dogs get rewards after doing a trick.

Your pooch will be glad to do a roll over every time you ask for it. As long as they get something they adore after doing so. 

You can reward Fido with things such as:

  • Petting. 
  • Cuddles. 
  • A new toy.
  • Dog treats.
  • Verbal praises.

You can also give your dog a combination of the ones I’ve mentioned. 

Don’t hesitate to try any of the rewards. Discover what type of reward works best for your pooch.

#5: Practice your pooch

Zazie Todd, Ph.D. shared the findings of a study. The conclusion is that training once or twice a week is better than training daily. 

Besides, shorter training sessions are more beneficial than longer ones..

Training for a shorter period of time will improve your dog’s performance. Sooner or later you’ll see your dog’s perfect rollover.

Aside from that, their mind is being exercised whenever they practice often. They’ll be less likely to forget the roll-over training. 

#6: Be patient and understanding with your dog 

Training duration won’t be the same for everyone.

There will be moments when your dog doesn’t feel like doing the trick. They could be sleepy or feeling unwell. 

It’ll also take time for your pooch to make a perfect and complete roll over.

So, you should bring your patience and understanding during training. 

I assure you that Fido will achieve the roll over trick soon enough. Regardless of your pooch being stubborn, old, or beginner.

#7: Teach your dog the basics

There will always be an easier way to do things.

The same applies to the roll-over trick. 

If your pup finds it hard to do a complete rollover then make them do the sit trick first. Followed by the lay-down trick.  

It will be easier for them to roll over if they’re in a lie-down position. 

People also ask: 

How hard is it to teach a dog to roll over?

It would be hard to teach a dog to roll over if they don’t know the basic tricks such as ‘sit’, ‘lay down’, and ‘stay’. 

An easy way to teach a dog to roll over is by making your dog do the ‘sit’ trick. Then the ‘lay down’ trick. 

After that, use a treat by moving it from their nose to their shoulder. Keep repeating until your dog makes a complete turn.  

How long does it take to teach a dog to roll over?

Teaching a dog to roll over may take longer than teaching the basic tricks. Since roll over is a complex trick. 

The training duration is something that you can’t predict. However, you can help your dog learn faster by giving them rewards and continuous training. 

Learning a new skill will take time. Particularly if your dog doesn’t have any foundation of basic tricks to lean on.

How do you teach a stubborn dog to roll over?

You can teach a stubborn dog to roll over by being patient, consistent, and dedicated. And by using positive reinforcement techniques. This way, your dog will associate learning and doing the trick with something pleasant.

Note: Their refusal to do the trick might have some other underlying causes. In some cases, the reason for their difficult behavior might be trauma and injury. It could be minor or severe. 

Or, your dog may be tired or sleepy.

How to teach a big dog to roll over?

You can teach a large dog to roll over by supporting the dog’s back for the first few tries. 

Teach your large dog how to roll over by following these 5 simple steps:

  1. Have your dog lay flat on their stomach. 
  2. Hold a dog treat near your dog’s nose.
  3. Voice out “roll over” and slowly bring the dog treats to their shoulder. 
  4. Support your dog’s back when they turn using your other hand. 
  5. Repeat and don’t forget to give a reward.