Teaching your collie to roll over is a fun trick for them to learn, and while your collie might not derive much utility from it, it’s an impressive trick to see, and collies love learning and showing off new tricks!
Teaching your collie to roll over is a two-part process. The first step is to teach your collie to play dead. Once you’ve mastered play dead, use a high-value treat to lure your collie onto their other side. Over time and with plenty of praise, they will learn that ‘roll over’ is a separate command.
In this article, I’ll teach you the step-by-step method I used to teach Luna how to roll over, so you can teach your collie this awesome trick too!
1: Learn Play Dead or Lie Down first
If you’ve already taught them commands such as “lie down” then the process will be easier.
Teaching them to “lie down” and “play dead” first can both be very helpful. You need to encourage your Border Collie to lie down on their stomach before trying to get them to roll over.
Teaching them to “play dead” isn’t a necessity but it can help and give you more confidence teaching your dog to roll over.
2: Lure Them Over With A Treat
If you’re trying to teach your Border Collie to roll over then you should already be experienced in training them. At this point, you must have learned that treats are a necessity when training a collie!
Holding the treat, get their attention focused on the treat and bring it close to their shoulder. This will encourage them to lie down on their side. Once they’re on their side, you can move the treat from the shoulder to one side, just out of reach. This will cause them to roll over as they try to keep the treat in their sight.
Don’t be afraid to test different treats during the training process. If you notice your dog isn’t as interested in some treats as others then break out their favorite ones for more difficult tricks such as rolling over.
The prospect of getting an extra yummy treat will help them to focus more!
3: Use Verbal and Visual Commands
A hand signal isn’t needed but some Border Collies benefit from having one. However, a verbal command is very helpful for a collie as they are learning a trick.
Whatever variation of the “roll over” verbal command you want to use, introduce it as soon as possible into their training. Some people may use “roll”, “spin” or might even use “barrel roll” instead.
It’s down to your preference. When using a hand signal, there’s a variety of potential options that might feel the most natural to you such are pointing and rotating your hand in the direction you want them to roll.
While verbal commands are important, some people may only use hand signals. This could be due to the dog being deaf or having hearing difficulty. Generally, dogs who only use hand signals won’t respond to verbal commands.
4: Reward Your Collie With a Treat For Progress
Use the treat as a lure to guide them into the right position on the floor and also for rewarding them when they get it right. Breaking the trick into parts (like lying down, then rolling over) can help your collie feel involved and like they are making progress.
Teaching them to roll over in stages will make it much easier to learn. Collies can quickly learn tricks though some dogs might learn a bit slower than others.
After a while, only reward them for successfully completing the full movement, so that they learn to associate the commands with the full action and the reward.
5: Be Patient and Repeat The Training Process
Don’t try to rush the teaching process! Some dogs will have more trouble learning to roll over than others. You might also find that your dog might just not roll over and will attempt to take the treat from your hand if it’s close to their face!
Remember to keep training sessions short for your Collie and to always end them on a positive note.
Training should be fun for you and your collie so if you’re getting frustrated or angry it’s best to move on to something else. If they haven’t quite managed to learn roll over yet, end the training session with some tricks they can do and give them lots of treats and praise for completing them.
This will help your collie enjoy training sessions and associate them with a fun and rewarding bonding time with you, instead of a chore they hate doing!
How Long does it take to Teach a Border Collie to Roll Over?
Most Collies will be able to learn to Roll Over within a week with regular training sessions and assuming they’ve already learned some other commands like lie down and/or play dead.
Are there any Benefits to Teaching them to Roll Over?
Collies need a lot of mental stimulation to be happy and they love working. Regular training sessions are stimulating and fun for collies and give you both more bonding time together.
Collies love to socialize and learn new things, so teaching them to roll over
In addition to this, dogs who are more used to being handled often and happy to follow your commands are easier and safer for vets or groomers to interact with as well.
What do I do if my Dog Ignores my attempt to get them to Roll Over?
Be patient! It can take time for them to understand what you want them to do. Do not reward them if they ignore you or ‘attack’ your hand to get the treat.
End the training session and put the treat away instead. There’s a chance they might need some other obedience training if you’ve noticed they don’t always listen to you in different situations.
Keep trying! Make sure the training sessions are short so they don’t get too distracted and reward them for behaving positively.
End the training sessions on a high note with some easy tricks to help their self-esteem so that they don’t get frustrated or upset with training.