How to teach your dog to play dead
If your canine pal has already gone through basic training and knows how to stay and sit, another cool trick you can teach them is playing dead. It may not be as useful in terms of sheer practicality, it still makes for an enjoyable and interactive game for your dog, especially if there is an engaged audience.
The best thing about this trick is that it’s not that challenging to teach and you simply require some of their favourite treats to start training such as our Kangaroo or Duck Tasty Chews. Before you go ahead and train your dog to play dead, ensure they know how to lie down on your command.
Use their Favourite Treat to make them Roll Over
The first step that you need to follow is using your dog’s favourite treat to make him or her rollover. You can do so by holding it close to their nose and gradually pulling it over to the side so the dog has no choice but to roll over.
Once the dog lies down on its side, provide him or her with a positive acknowledgement so they know you approve. You can say ‘good boy’ or use your clicker to do that. Reward them with a treat and keep repeating until your dog seamlessly follows your command.
Introduce a New Signal
After your canine friend has gone through this routine a number of times, introduce a combination of a hand signal along with a trigger or cue word. Many people pretend they are shooting the dog with an imaginary gun and use the word ‘bang’. Some simply use the word ‘dead’ while some make it fun by using a phrase like: “Would you rather eat cat food or be dead?”
Making Behaviour Adjustments
In the event that your dog has already learned how to roll over, they may continue to roll when they get the treat. If they do that, take a few steps back and don’t reward your dog with the treat. Use a sound or your clicker to ensure the dog is in the position you want it to be before you hand out the reward. Your dog will quickly learn which position gets him or her the treat.
If you notice that your dog is either forgetting the steps or making way too many mistakes, you need to slow down and start over. This generally means that you are trying to teach them at a pace they’re not comfortable with. Treat your dog well and have fun instead of getting frustrated. Soon they will be performing the trick for you!