One of my most popular tricks is the Play Dead trick. Guaranteed to make children giggle and adults oooh and ahhh – it’s a favorite that’s sure to win them over!
Most all of my tricks are taught and mastered with the help of clicker training, so before beginning you might want to read up on how to introduce your dog to a clicker*.
*Disclaimer: this post does contain some affiliate links
Teach Your Dog to Play Dead
Every great dog should know how to play dead – if only to be used as an ice breaker at parties, to scare the ground hogs in the backyard, and to generally just make you look totally awesome.
Step 1: To start your dog should already know how to lay down on command. Place a few treats in a fist and place your hand on the ground in front of your dog as you ask them to lay down.
Step 2: As your dog sniffs the treat tilt your fist up and over the top of your dog’s head, encouraging them to lay on their side. You may need to gently push your hand into your dog to entice them to lay on their side. Click and Reward your dog as soon as their side touches the ground.
Step 3: Continue asking your dog to lay on their side with treats in the fist of your hand until you can ask them to lay on their side with just an open palm (treats removed) – then click and reward.
Step 4: Once your dog is laying on their side consistently you can begin to add a verbal and visual command to it. Point your finger at your dog and say Bang, Bang – if your dog doesn’t immediately flop on their side you can then use the open palm of your hand to remind them what to do, click and reward. Slowly begin waiting longer and longer to show them what to do with the flat of your hand until they offer laying on their side on their own. Jackpot treat your dog when they get it right.
Step 5: When your dog is consistent in laying on their side when you ask you will need to add a release word. Part of the appeal of a play dead trick is that your dog will “remain dead” until you tell them to come back alive. So after asking your dog to play dead, wait a few seconds and say OK (before your dog gets up on their own) to release them and then click and reward. The key is to time this right before your dog gets up on their own. Gradually begin asking them to stay on their side longer and longer until you are certain they will not get up until you give them the verbal OK.
Congratulations! Your dog can now play dead! You can now bring laughter and smiles to everyone!
Disclaimer: The Let’s Get Tricky blog feature is designed to provide general information, instruction, and techniques that may not be suitable for everyone. Please note that we are not liable for any of your activities while attempting to teach your dog the techniques listed on this blog. Please train responsibly.
Learn how to teach your dog to high-five!