How Do I Train My Dog to Play Dead?

Other than playing or cuddling with your dog, teaching them tricks is a fantastic way of bonding. Not only is it cute, but it makes a dog happy to be able to connect with their owner. Unlike most tricks or behavior training, teaching your dog how to play dead may take a little longer, but it is not impossible.

It is not mandatory

In contrast to many tricks and commands, it is not mandatory to teach your dog how to play dead. Teaching your dog to obey behavioral commands such as “stay” or “sit” is a must, while playing is just a fun bonding trick.

It is a courtesy trick

If your dog exhibits hyperactive behavior, teaching them such a trick trains them to be quiet and calm. Playing a dead trick can eliminate habits such as leaping of people, noisy behavior, or the tendency to jump around.

Your dog will learn to lie down automatically if you enforce such a skill automatically or when they are seeking attention.

The basics

Like you, your dog will need to comprehend basic commands before you can teach those tricks. If your dog cannot lie down or sit on command, you may want to have that training session first.

To successfully train your dog how to play dead, ensure they are responsive to the “lie down” command.


If your dog can roll over, there is a definite chance that they will have an inclination to go all the way when you lure it to its side. Solve this problem by adding a clicker to your training will help you capture the exact behavior you aim to teach your dog.

Treats and rewards

These are a significant part of any training session, and you use them to reinforce desirable behavior.

Training your dog to play dead is a tasking session, and it is crucial you know when to reward your dog.

For instance, rewarding them just by lying down may not be as effective as rewarding them for staying down.

Affectionate rewards are also very effective, and you can use belly rubs to lure your dog into staying down. Use clickers to make the rewards more effective. As such, your dog will learn what exact behavior earns them a reward.

Relax the pet

Typically, your dog will be full of excitement before any training session, and they will be eager to play with you. Since the activity requires less activity, it is important to ensure your dog is calm.

Engage your dog in exercises or play activities for around twenty minutes to help reduce the energy.

It may take longer to achieve a calm state of mind if the dog is a hyperactive breed or a puppy. Once this is done, move to an area that is comfortable and has lesser distractions to facilitate focus. Your dog should be able to focus on you solely.


Get your dog to a sitting position by using the “sit” or “down” command. Hold out a treat, but do not let them eat it. Instead, lure your dog the ground by pushing them gently to their side while moving the treat in front of their nose.

As your dog lies on the side, give a verbal command or a cue with your free hand. It could be “down,” “rollover,” or “bang.” as such, your dog will learn to associate the cues with the act of lying down.

By the time the treat is at ground level, your dog should be lying down.

According to most behaviorists and dog trainers, it while taking a long while for the dog to associate cues for this trick. As the trick is a little more difficult in comparison to standard training cues, it will require patience.

The longer, the better

Once your dog learns this command, you should teach them how to stay down. During the first few tries, your dog will get up quickly. Hold down the treat for thirty seconds, and then let them get up. Extend the time frame with every training session until they can hold out for a minute or wait for cues.

Rather than giving them the treat immediately, they lie down, consider waiting a few seconds. Prolong the seconds as your dog learns the expectations of the trick.

Take it slow

Playing dead requires a lot of effort from the dog and owner, and patience and consistency are key. Should your dog make two mistakes consequently, there is a chance you are moving too fast.

Move back a few steps and practice, ensuring that each previous step is successful. Only then can you move ahead with the training. Ensure that you proceed with the dog’s pace.

Know when to stop

It is improbable that your dog will learn anything if they are bored, tired, or frustrated. If anything, they are more likely to become a nuisance. Keep all training sessions upbeat and wind up when the dog seems out of it.

Most dog trainers recommend keeping the training sessions to a maximum of fifteen minutes. Allow your dog to indulge in other activities, then continue afterward.

If you are training a puppy, schedule the training sessions with nap time in mind. Napping is a significant part of a puppy’s development, and they will wake up with a lot more energy and concentration.

End in positivity

At the gym, your trainer will likely move down to more straightforward activities that require lesser effort and are easier to accomplish. Reciprocate the energy to your dog’s training.

When ending a training session, make sure the last activity will earn your dog a positive reward. You can consider basic commands such as “sit” then reward them for it.

Practice makes a good show

Once your dog learns the trick, practice it often. You can try practicing the trick in different locations until your dog masters it and is comfortable with it.

Also, try to increase the distance as you give the command or cue. Use rewards as you continue to further the distance. Such a variation adds a cool factor to the trick, and you can proudly show it to family or friends.

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