Teaching your dog tricks can help you form a close, communicative bond with your pet as well as improve his overall obedience, manners and confidence level. Even more, your pooch can use his repertoire of tricks to entertain visitors to your home. Of all the tricks that entertain onlookers, one of the most spectacular is the “play dead” trick.

Playing dead is a great dog trick, but it takes most dogs a little more time for them to master it than other tricks. The end result is well worth it once your dog has the trick down.

Steps to teaching your dog to play dead

  • Relax your dog

You can’t train a dog whose attention is divided. The first step is to put your dog in a calm state of mind so he can concentrate on what you want to teach him. Because the area to train your dog is important as it can help stay focused or distracted, make sure you choose a quiet spot that will help your dog give you full attention. Then spend 10-15 minutes to play or exercise with him to get him tired and relaxed, especially if he’s hyperactive.

  • Put him into the down position

If your dog already knows the “sit” command, command him to do so. Once he does so, use a treat to lure him into the down position. To do this, hold the treat to his nose and slowly move it to the ground till your pup gets into the down position, then say the verbal cue “down” so that your dog associates the verbal cue with that action.

  • Roll him over

The goal is to make your pooch flop over and lay his entire body on the ground. While your dog is lying down, make a gesture with your free hand and say “roll over”, “bang” or any other cue you choose. Just be consistent with the wording as your dog will respond only to that sound. Whenever he gets it right, reward him with a treat and praise. Repeat it again and again as it usually takes dog some time to remember this trick, so be patient.

  • Repeat and reward

Keep repeating the process for at least a few days while saying “Play dead” till your dog gets the idea. The moment he does the trick at your command, reward him with a treat. This should make him more willing to follow your command. Each practice session should last about 10-15 minutes.

  • Add a visual cue

After your dog has been able to complete the action a few times, add a visual cue to the mix: make a shooting signal with your right index finger and thumb, and quickly say your command word. Repeat the trick several times a day and it won’t be long before your dog falls to its side in response to your signal.



Once your dog has been able to master the trick, you can impress your friends and family with this cool trick your dog just learnt. Remember to practice regularly and to be patient while at it, especially if you want your pooch to be ready to perform on a moment’s notice.

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