Dogs are fast learners and they can perform a plethora of tricks at any age. Although this command is not a must as an owner, we’re sure that knowing how to teach your dog to play dead will be a fun experience for you and your pet

Prep Before Teaching The ‘Play Dead’ Command

Teaching ‘play dead’ is as easy as any other trick. The only thing that you’ll need is treats and patience. However, there is going to be another command that will make your life easier while teaching your dog how to play dead: the ‘down’ command.

How to Teach Your Dog the ‘Down’ Command

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This command will be pretty handy in our training.

Teaching this action doesn’t require much effort, just some treats and simple movements to encourage your dog to lie down.

  • Stay/Sit

First, you’ll need your dog to be either in the sit or stay position. It’s a must that your companion is focused on you and what you do so they can follow your movements without breaking their stance.

  • Use treats

Now that they are fixed in place, present a snack to them, but don’t give it to them yet. Make your dog lie down by first putting your hand closed with the treat inside in front of them. Then, place your hand on the ground.

Don’t open your hand until your dog has lied down completely. When they do, reward them with the treat, strokes and, verbal praise.

  • Associate a verbal cue to the action

Since your little buddy finally understands they have to lie down to get the treat, link a verbal command like ‘down’ or ‘on the ground’ before giving the treat. Practice this a few sessions and your dog will lie down on cue!

Train In a Comfortable Space

Some dogs get distracted very easily, so it’s important to train in a tranquil, comfortable environment where your pet can pay attention to you only.

If you train in a park full of other pets, people, and cars passing by your dog won’t be able to follow your orders consistently unless they are already well-trained. Also, you should obverse what settings get your canine restless or relaxed.

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Dead In 4 Simple Steps

We’re now set off to start your training sessions. Despite the number of steps that might scare new owners, learning how to teach your dog to play dead is as easy as teaching the ‘shake’ command.

1. Down!

Use the ‘down’ command to start your training. Why? It’s easier to get your dog to shift its position to rest on one of its sides while lying down.

2. Make Your Dog Lie On Its Side

For this step, use treats to lure your puppy into lying down on its sides. To do this, you’ll have to first present the treat in front of your dog and then slowly move it towards the right or the back at the same height.

Dont reward your dog until they stay in the position you want them to stay: either on their side or on their back. When rewarding them, keep in mind praising them and showing them your affection makes them happier and more likely to carry on with the training.

3. Add a Cue

You’ll notice your dog has finally understood you want them to lie down in a certain position when they do so the moment they see you’re holding a treat.

After reaching this milestone, it’s time to add whatever cue you want to the action. To accomplish this, add a signal before handing in a reward.

Consistency is key during this step: be it ‘bang’ with a hand signal, a body movement, or just ‘play dead,’ you need to always use the same cue. If you say ‘bang’ and days later you say ‘play dead,’ your dog won’t link the cue to lying down.

4. Remove Treats

Unfortunately for your dog, it’s time we say goodbye to treats.

Although they are really useful, treats need to be detached from our training at one point in time; otherwise, you’ll create quite the spoiled pet. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reward your dog when they do a trick, be it ‘play dead’ or ‘sit’.

Nevertheless, removing traits must be done over time. Your pet must get used to not getting treats when doing tricks, so take treats out slowly and observe how your dog’s reaction.

Respect Your Dog

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Despite how intelligent they are, some dogs take more time to learn new things than others. Do not get frustrated with your pets, they are trying their best for you!

Patience is essential when teaching almost anything to your dog: one session will never be enough and you’ll probably need many training sessions before it masters any trick, command, or manner. 

Moreover, dogs sense their owners’ feelings, so they get discouraged when you show them you’re disappointed. Reacting angrily will only make training more difficult and might even get your little champ scared of the sessions.

Always respect your dog’s feelings and learning speed.

We hope you found this guide on how to teach your dog to play dead quite useful! If you want to know how to take better care of your beloved pet or interesting facts about them, check out our page for more!