Roll over is a classic doggy trick that serves little function but to entertain adoring owners. But don’t let the cuteness of this command trick you into thinking its an easy one to train.
Roll over is a complex command, meaning it takes multiple steps for your dog to understand what the full behavior looks like. And then even more steps to train them to do it based on a single cue. But that doesn’t mean your pooch can’t master the roll over. With a little dedication, some creativity, and an understanding of different trick training methods, you’ll have your dog rolling across the floor in no time.
Teaching Complex Behaviors
Remember back to your dog’s first days of training. The first command you probably ever taught them was sit. While every new command is a struggle for a young puppy or a new dog who isn’t familiar with listening to their human counterparts, sit is one of the most straight forward commands a dog will learn.
It involves only one movement: dropping their bum to the floor. On the opposite end of the trick training spectrum are more complex behaviors. Ones that require multiple movements to complete the trick. Roll over, for instance, requires your dog to lay down, drop to their side, roll onto their back, roll onto their other side, and then get up again.
If you try to teach this complex behavior as one fluid movement, your dog will probably give up before they learn the trick. Instead, you have to break the behavior up, rewarding each piece and then building on it as your dog understands what is being reinforced.
But how do you get your dog to perform these behaviors, in full or in part?
For the majority of complex behavior training, you are going to use a combination of luring and shaping. For very specialized behaviors or for dogs that struggle with luring, you may even have to resort to catching. Understanding how to use each of these techniques properly is key to training your dog any multi-stage trick.
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