Teaching Your Dog to Rollover for Examination:
Teaching your pup to roll on their belly for examination is often confused with an Alpha Roll whereby the dog is physically forced to lie on their back in an effort to make them submit. This approach is likely to create an adversarial response from a pup, not because the dog is being obstinate or ‘dominate’ as much as responding to a threat in a very normal manner. Imagine if someone grabbed hold of you and attempted to pin you to the floor. Odds are your heart would be racing and you would panic (mildly or extremely depending on many variables) as you attempted to be released.
Teaching your pup to willingly rollover is an entirely different matter and a surefire way to ensure that future examinations by you, your veterinarian or groomer will be as easy as possible. It is also a part of creating a relationship whereby your pup has enough confidence in you and themselves to be in a position that is potentially vulnerable without concern.
Begin by sitting on the floor and holding your pup in your lap or have them on the ground right in front of you. Gently tickle or scratch their belly and chest to cause the pup to open their flank and expose their belly. Allow your pup to lick from a food stuffed toy or offer a tiny food treat as you do so. Repeat in 3-5 minute sessions until your pup is completely relaxed.
If your pup has been practicing this exercise in your lap, try gently placing your pup on the ground and repeating the same process. Practice in different areas of the home and with different family members. If children are in the home, they should always be carefully supervised during interactions with your pup. They can assist in exercises of this nature if they can follow instructions and are suitably gentle. Also invite friends to assist, one at a time. Be sure to supervise and instruct them on how to handle your pup gently and reinforce the foundation you have set and your dog will learn to willingly and happily comply with belly exams. Something you will be grateful for if an emergency causes the need for this to be done.