How To Teach Your Dog To Play Dead

Are you and your dog bored of the basics and have been dying to take on a more exciting challenge?

Why not add some flare to your daily routine by teaching your best buddy a more complex trick like lying dead when you pretend to shoot him? Or for him to lie down and play dead each time you give a verbal cue or say something like “bang!”

But, how exactly do you teach your dog to play dead?


How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead

Playing dead is one of the great tricks people love to watch. This trick is one of the all-time best and has its advantages when your dogs have learned this.

Take your dog’s skills a step further by making him learn the “playing dead” trick. Training your dog to pretend to be dead may seem intimidating at first because it is unlike the ones you may have done before. But, with the right attitude and preparation, you will definitely get there.

What you really need in order to teach your dog this skill is the willingness to learn along with your dog, your time, a conducive training area, training accessories, and our way-too-easy-to-follow guide outlined below.

However, before you start with this more complex lesson, it is better if your dog has undergone some basic dog obedience training.

Here are seven steps to teaching your dog to play dead.

Step 1: Get “Down” To Business

Before you start, prepare your practice training area. See to it that you have all the things you would need. Keep at hand your clicker, if you plan to use one, and some treats which are important to keep the training successful.

First off, you may want to use a pet training pad in teaching your dog this trick. If yes, lay down the mat and give the command for your dog to sit.

Step 2: Get Him To Lay Down

For this step, it is necessary that your dog has already learned the command “Lay Down” or “Lie Down” or to get himself in a lying position.

If your pups have not yet learned the “Lay Down” command, here is a detailed post on how to teach your dog to lay down. Train your dog to learn this trick first before you move to teach him this more complex trick.

Command your dog to lay down. Once he does so and lies on his side, give him the treat to reward his positive behavior. Make sure that he stays on his side and does not roll onto his back.

Step 3: Stay That Way

Once your pup is lying down on his side, he will most likely look up at you next as he is anticipating the treat. Sometimes, your dog would change position, roll onto his back, or roll over to show off or express his excitement. At other times, your furry friend might stand up and make you give him some reward like a treat.

But with this trick, you need him to stay in a lying-down position and prone on his side for a few more seconds pretending to be dead.

With a treat in your hand, lure your dog to stay in a prone position by keeping the treat near your dog’s nose. Do not give him the treat yet. Just keep your hand near his nose and near the floor to get him to stay lying on his side.

All the while, give a verbal cue like “play dead” or “bang“, for him to learn this new trick. After a few minutes of lying still, click the clicker (if you use one) or reward your dog with praises and give him the treat.

Step 4: Repeat The Process

During a training session, repeat the process at least three times to make sure that your dog knows and understands what you want to achieve.

If you are working with your dog throughout the day, practice this trick at least five times a day to observe if, indeed, your furry pet has learned the trick.

Step 5: Step Back

Once your dog lies down on his side every time you give the verbal cue “bang” or “play dead,” it’s time to move back and distance yourself a bit slowly.

Stand a foot or two away from your dog, command your dog to play dead. When he lays down and remains still on his side for a few seconds, click the clicker to signal that he did a good job. Then give him a treat and praise.

Step 6: Adding a Hand Signal

This step is the answer to most people’s question, “How do you teach your dog to play dead when you shoot him?”

Again, keep practicing with your dog the steps outlined above but this time, add a hand signal like aiming to shoot him with your hands.

Along with saying the cue “bang” or the command “play dead,” act with your hands as if you are shooting your dog with a gun.

Every time you practice with your dog, always remember to pretend to shoot him with your hands as if you are holding a gun as you say “bang” or “play dead.”

Step7: Practice More

To teach your dogs this trick is fun, but we know that this one is not easy to learn. Even a dog trainer would have to see to it that the dog has already learned to sit, lay down, and react to clickers.

It is one of the complex tricks to teach dogs but definitely worth it once they lie onto their side (and not roll over) each time you say “bang” or “play dead.”

The key here is to practice more often. Be consistent with your training sessions with your dogs.

Having Fun Learning “Deadly” Skills

Learning dog tricks is an interactive way of spending more productive quality time with your furry companion. Take time to practice, and you will be amazed at how much progress you and your dog make.

Even on “no training” days, throw off the “play dead” command or the hand signal just so your furry friend does not forget.

At the very start, put your heart and mind into achieving your training objectives. After you repeat the steps above several times, your dog will understand, be alert, and be ready to perform every time he hears the command or sees the signal.

This “Play Dead” trick is a wholesome exercise for both you and your four-pawed pet. It will help foster a healthier relationship between you and your dog.

As a dog trainer or owner, teaching a dog this trick would be a win-win situation. You engage your dog in a productive playtime and at the same time have fun with him doing so.

To train your dog to play dead would help sharpen your dog’s mental, physical, and social faculties as he works on his obedience training skills.

Teach your dog to play dead. When your dog plays dead when shot, everyone will be dying to see this never-gets-old awesome trick!