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Your Pit Bull puppy can sit. She can lay down. She comes on command and can stay put for ages. What else is there for your smart little cookie to learn? Teaching your Pit Bull puppy to roll over is another way to harness her energy. It is also a great way to have fun with your puppy.
'Roll over' is easier for some puppies than others. If your pup tends to be more dominant, she may struggle with this trick. However, with some patience and good motivators, your Pit Bull puppy will be rolling over in no time. Before your Pit can learn to roll over though, she needs to know how to sit and lie down on command. Many puppies get the wiggles when stuck lying down for too long, so make sure to practice with your Pit Bull and make sure she can stay put for long enough to learn to roll over.
Some puppies will learn this trick fairly quickly, while others may need a bit more patience from you. In the beginning, choose a quiet, distraction-free area of your house so your Pitbull puppy can focus her full attention on you. It is a good idea to practice on a soft surface, as your pup may resist lying down if the floor is cold or hard. You will also need some special treats that your puppy only gets during training sessions.
The Do As I Do Method
Start with a normal 'down'
Give your puppy the 'down' command and make sure she is in a comfortable 'down' position, with her stomach on the ground and her paws in front of her.
Start with the lure
You can start off this method by luring your puppy onto her back. Some dogs will find this first part uncomfortable, so feel free to reward your puppy for when she gets this far.
Show your puppy the way to roll
Once your Pit Bull is on her back, use your free hand with no treat to gently roll your puppy the rest of the way over. Then, reward her generously for the 'roll over', so she realizes how great this trick really is.
Help her until she gets the hang of the trick
It may take several practice sessions with you helping your puppy out before she starts to consistently roll over on her own. Be patient and help her complete the trick until you feel comfortable that she has the hang of it. Rushing your puppy will just cause heartache for you both.
Add in the verbal command
Once your puppy can roll with just the lure, start using the command "roll over" alongside it. The goal is for your puppy to associate the action and the yummy reward with the command words and respond to only your voice. Eventually, you should phase out the treats altogether.
The Food Lure Method
Tell your Pit Bull puppy to lie down
The 'roll over' trick starts in the 'down' position. The best way for your puppy to begin is resting on her belly with her paws in front of her.
Show her you have a treat
Crouch or kneel down near your puppy and hold a treat where she can see and smell it. Then, close your hand around it so she can't grab the treat until the trick is complete.
Use the treat to lure your puppy into a roll
Move the treat up and around your puppy's head, so her nose follows the treat. Where her nose goes, the rest of her body will follow. Lead your puppy's nose all the way through a 'roll over'. Then give her the treat.
Add in the command word
After a few tries, say "roll over" as you lead your puppy through the motions. Say the command in a friendly, but clear voice. You can also say "good roll over" when you give your puppy the treat to reinforce the words.
With puppies, it takes a lot of practice to make perfect. While your Pit Bull puppy is probably eager to please you, she has a short attention span and a lot of energy. Practice in short sessions and give lots of praise when she rolls. As she gets the hang of the trick, phase out the treat lure until she can roll over on command.
The Breaking It Down Method
Divide the trick into small, easy-to-learn pieces
Not all puppies will follow the lure right off the bat. You may find your puppy is jumping up, wiggling, or using some other method to cheat the game and get his treat faster. Breaking the 'roll over' command down into smaller pieces can help facilitate your pup's learning process.
Start with a turn of the head
With your puppy in the 'down' position, place a treat in your hand and move it over your puppy's head towards her shoulder. As soon as she turns her head, tell her she's a good dog and give her the treat.
Wait for her to lie on her side
After a few tries, stop giving your puppy a treat for turning her head and make her roll onto her side before you give her the treat. It may take her a bit before she understands the new rules. If she goes back to hopping up or wiggling away, you may want to practice the head turn a bit more.
Reward her for lying on her back
The next step is to get your puppy to roll all the way onto her back. This stage is difficult for a lot of dogs, especially those with dominant streaks. Give your Pit Bull puppy lots of praise for this step.
Get all the way back to the beginning
Once your puppy can roll onto her back consistently, it is fairly easy to convince her to roll all the way over and get back into a 'down' position. If you have to move back a step, feel free to do so. Don't push your puppy too hard or she'll never get the hang of the trick.
Use the command word
When your puppy has the hang of the motions, practice the trick while using the command words, "roll over." As with the other methods, the goal is to have your puppy performing the roll over after a simple verbal command without needing the lure.
By Christina Gunning
Published: 03/13/2018, edited: 01/08/2021