How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead

How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead
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How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead is a great trick for you to do in front of friends. Make sure you get it nailed down without distractions first though.

The DOWN trick is a good trick to have under your belt before moving onto PLAY DEAD.

You can do this trick with the command “Play Dead.” But, if you want to take it to another level, you can also use pretend hand pistol as a queue.

Once complete, your dog should be able to roll onto their back with their legs up-ish pretending they are dead.

Well, lets get to it…


When your dog is lying down, put a treat in front of their face and make a half circle move toward their back.

This is kind of like the roll over command, except they stop halfway.

It’s cool if you can get your dog to put their legs up in the air as a bonus.


When your dog follows the treat around by rolling on their back, PRAISE, REWARD and say, “PLAY DEAD.” Do this over and over.

This step in the how to teach your dog to play dead trick is focused on association. You are associating this command to your dog rolling over on its back.

You want to make sure you give a hearty praise and tasty reward to your dog when they move toward the goal.


Now just give the verbal command “PLAY DEAD.” When they roll over onto their back, PRAISE and REWARD them.

This step is focused on getting your dog to roll on its back without the treat “lure.”

This is where the rubber meets the road. You say the command and your dog rolls on its back.


Two key items. One, if they jump back up when they get their treat, delay the time from when they roll over until you give them the treat.

Two, you can introduce a queue with your hand like shooting a gun to make this really cool.

How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead is one of the coolest tricks to teach your dog. Get shooting…

Here are more tricks to teach your dog.

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Steve Larrivee

Steve Larrivee

As a dog lover since his youth, Steve Co-Founded Athenas Pets with his son Kevin to promote dog training to the masses. Athenas Pets, focuses on training products and providing the "know-how" so the average dog owner can train their dog like a pro.

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