Play Dead Dog Trick

A fun and easy trick that you can teach your dog is the How to “play dead” trick. This is such a wonderful trick, because it gets a really great reaction out of people seeing your dog in action. Some people don’t like the idea of playing dead so an alternative is to teach the dog “you are sleepy”

I will tell you right off the bat that this trick will be much easier if your dog knows the “down” command.

If your dog is clicker trained then grab your clicker and your doggie treats to get started. If your pup is not familiar with the clicker, then the treats will work just fine.

As with all lessons and training it is good to keep them very short. I like to do several 5 minute or less sessions a day. You want to keep your dogs attention and any longer than the 5-minute mark will be too long.

Okay, let’s get started with our step-by-step program for “playing dead”:

Make your dog sit or stand in front of you. Hold your dog’s favourite treat in the opposite hand. Command your dog to go into the “down” position. From the “down” position, use the treat to guide your dog over onto his side. Now it gets a little trickier. When you dog is lying on his side, drag the treat in front of his nose, and then drag your hand and treat back across his shoulders. You will see your dogs head moving to follow the treat. As soon as your dog begins to move his head to follow the treat, give your dog the treat. Follow steps 1-5, but this time hold off on the treat until your dog’s entire body rolls over onto his back.

You will find that trainers disagree on the playing dead position. Some believe that it is the dog laying on his side and some like the dog on his back. I prefer the dog on his back, as it looks more dramatic and it is a fun trick after all. We want the full effect. You can play around with it and see which you prefer. If you only want your dog on his side, then omit step 6 entirely. (You can also use the dog on his side for another trick like sleeping)

It is now time to add the verbal cue words “play dead.” Follow steps 1-4 as stated. Right before step 5, say, “play dead.” Start to take the click and treat away slowly, as well as the hand movement over the dog’s shoulder. You want to train your dog to rely solely on the cue words “play dead.” You don’t want to remove them all at once, but a gradual phase out will be successful. If you want to get even more advanced, you can add a hand signal to the trick. Some dog owners find this a bit too much, but others adore the idea. Make a gun shape out of your hand and pretend to shoot your dog a split second before you say your verbal cue. Some dog trainers like to use the verbal cue “play dead” and others teach their dog something like “Bang!” Soon you’ll be able to phase out the verbal cue and rely solely on the hand signal. You may want to add a release command to, so your dog knows when to flip back over and get up. Encourage him to lay there for a few moments. Then say, “Wake up!” or a similar command of your choice. Playing dead is a fun trick for you and your dog. You will see that some dogs enjoy this so much that, even when you use no verbal or hand signal, they start to perform the trick.

Copyright (c) 2011 Kat Drew


Post a Comment