How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead

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Cool Dog Tricks – How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead

Black pug sprawled out on the carpet

We love teaching our pug, Bunk, new cool dog tricks! Here is how you can teach your dog to play dead.

Let Your Dog Relax

Firstly, as you teach a dog to play dead, you should start off by letting our dog get a lot of his or her energy out. Take your dog on a five to ten minute walk and let him or her play. When you come back home from the activity, let your dog rest for a couple of minutes. This way, he or she will be a little worn out and better able to concentrate on the activity at hand. When dogs have too much energy pent up, they tend to loose focus and get irritated easily. You want your dog to be able to concentrate and not feel stressed out as you are teaching them a trick!

Get Your Dog Comfortable

Secondly, as you teach a dog to play dead, you should have your dog sit down on a comfortable area. This can be a rug, couch, loveseat, bed, or even the flat grass. Look around your surroundings to see what that comfortable spot is for your dog. For our pug, Bunk, that spot happens to be the couch. He loves being there and it is his favorite place in the world! Start off the training to teach a dog to play dead with some of the easier commands, such as sit, stay or lay down. This will help the dog get warmed up.

Say the Right Words

Thirdly, to teach a dog to play dead, train the dog to listen and respond to the sound BANG. You should say BANG, and at the same time point your hand at him or her in a fun-like position. You should have him sit, lay down and then rollover at this point. You can use your normal verbal or visual command at this point. So basically, to be very clear, you make the noise BANG, followed up having your dog sit, lay down, and rollover.

Little black pug with his tongue sticking out

Have Your Treats Ready

Fourthly, and very importantly, praise your dog for the commands that he had responded to. Give him or her one treat of the hard work! Check some of the amazing treats we have reviewed here! You can use more than one treat for the first couple of times that he or she completes this trick successfully. Make sure her or she completely understands what you are asking for.

Practice Make Perfect

Fifthly, to teach a dog to play dead, repeat the last two steps (lay down and rollover) over and over again until he or she has mastered it. It is better if the movement is very clear in their minds before they are asked to remember all of them and do it on their own.

Do Not Confuse Your Dog!

Sixthly, to teach a dog to play dead, try to limit the alternative commands (sit, lay down and rollover). Only say BANG with your gun-like hand single and see how he or she responds.

Some dogs might try to rollover every single time. If this is the case, mid rollover, stop his or her legs in the air and gently put your hand on their stomach. This will help to teach them that you do not want him or her to roll all the way over. This seems a little tricky but dogs are pretty smart creatures and I believe that once it clicks, they will be able to repeat the same trick over and over again with ease!

This video by Tricky Timmy and Krazy Karma does a great job explaining the steps in teaching your dog to play dead. 

Check out their Facebook page here

Wanna know which dogs are easy to train?

Check out our Dog Breed Selector to find out!

While trying to teach a dog to play dead, please be very patient. Dog-Obedience-Training does a great job at helping people execute their training techniques. Imagine a human child trying to learn how to read and write. You have to be gentle, and go slowly. Depending on the kind of dog you have, the age of the dog and just the character of the dog, it can take a very long time or a very short time to learn this trick! Screaming, sounding annoyed or giving up are not solutions when trying to teach a dog to play dead. You have to be patient and keep rewarding the dog for every single time they are able to give you a great response.

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  1. My daddy accidentally taught me play dead while playing with me. He also taught me roll over and dance that way, but I’m basically a genius. Haven’t quite gotten the “bang” part though, but that’s because they haven’t gotten around to it!

  2. That is amazing! It would take patience to teach pets to a certain behavior/trick. But it will always be worth it. May you have many more happy moments with Bunk the Pug.

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