Skip to content

How To Teach A Dog To Play Dead? Simple Ways


Source –

Teaching your dog some new tricks is always fun. When your dog gets the hang of these, it can keep you and your friends entertained with its newly learned tricks.

Teaching a dog to play dead may not be as important as teaching commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stand,’ ‘come,’ etc. However, it doesn’t mean you must skip teaching your dog these tricks. Teaching your dog to do tricks can be fun for both of you. 

Playing dead is a fun and popular trick you can teach your dog. Read on to learn how to teach a dog to play using simple ways.

How To Teach A Dog To Play Dead

Teaching a dog a particular trick is a step-by-step procedure. Sometimes several elements together make the entire trick easy and practical to teach your dog.

Teaching your dog to play dead also involves other elements. Firstly, your dog needs to be familiar with verbal commands like ‘sit,’ ‘stand,’ ‘come,’ etc.

It’s not practical to teach a dog tricks without first training it on several verbal commands. After that, you need to teach your dog how to lie down.

Teach Your Dog To Lie Down


Before teaching your dog how to play dead, you must teach it how to lie down. Here is how you can teach your dog the ‘lie down command.

  • Bend head down.
  • Stretch to touch the belly to the ground.
  • Repeat the above.

Here are the steps to follow to teach your dog to lie down.

  1. Let your dog sit, place a treat between your fingers, and hold it above your dog’s nose. Slowly move your fingers towards the ground. Your dog will also bend towards the  ground. At this point, mark the clicker and praise and reward it with a treat.
  2. Repeat this five times.
  3. Ask your dog to sit again. Place a treat between your fingers, lower your hand straight down from its nose, and then pull it back towards yourself when your dog’s belly is on the ground with the clicker and reward it with the treat.
  4. Repeat this five times.
  5. Repeat the third step, this time without a treat in your hand. Reward it when its belly hits the ground. Repeat this five times.
  6. Now, use a command like ‘down’ and lower your empty palm to the ground. Once your  dog successfully lies down, mark the clicker, and reward. Repeat five times.
  7. Finally, avoid using your hand and only use the verbal command ‘down.’ If training is successful, and your dog will respond to your command within five seconds. Mark the  clicker  and reward it if it lies down.

Teach Your Dog To Play Dead


Once your dog has learned how to lie down, you can teach it how to play dead. Do this on a soft  surface so that rolling over feels less scary for your dog. 

Here’s how you can teach your dog to play dead.

  1. Ask your dog to sit down. You’ll notice that your dog puts more weight on one side. Look  at which side it prefers to put its weight on and grab a treat.
  2. Hold the treat above your dog’s nose and move it diagonally. If your dog puts weight on the left hip, move the treat over its right shoulder.
  3. As your dog leans backward, mark the clicker and reward it. Repeat this five times.
  4. Repeat step two given above. This time mark the clicker and reward only after your dog is on its back. Repeat this at least five times.
  5. Practice step three with no treat in your hand. Mark the clicker and reward only after  your dog rolls onto its back. Repeat this at least five times.
  6. Make your hand into a gun shape and move it diagonally over your dog’s shoulder. Mark the clicker and reward your dog when it rolls on its back. Repeat this at least five times.
  7. Now, you need to add a verbal cue. Say the word ‘Bang’ when your dog is lying down and make your hand into a gun shape. Mark the clicker and reward your dog once it rolls   on its back. Repeat this until your dog is fully-trained on this trick.

Easy Tips & Tricks For Teaching A Dog To Play Dead

Some dogs like to play dead and stay in a lie-down position for a long time. Other dogs don’t   like to lie down for long.

If your dog doesn’t lie down for long and jumps up from this position more quickly when playing dead, you can train it to lie down for a long. Don’t give your dog the treat as soon as it lies down.

Wait a little while after it lies down, and then give it the treat. Repeat this by adding a few seconds each time.

Find a suitable place to teach your dog this trick. A comfortable place that has minimal to no   distractions is ideal for teaching your dog to play dead. Don’t choose a place like a park for this. Your dog will get distracted by other people and dogs in the park. provides great resources for teaching and training your dog. They provide valuable information on how to take care of your dog best.

Issues And Proofing Behavior

If your dog already knows how to roll over, it will naturally be inclined to go all the way when you start to lure it to its side. If it is the case, take your clicker out to get the exact behavior you want.

Lure your dog into its side with a treat, click the clicker and give the treat to your dog. If it starts to roll over completely, move away for a moment. Your dog will realize it will not get the treat when it completely rolls over. So it will stop doing this.

If your dog ends up lying on the side and you have trouble getting it to follow the treat, you can help by physically moving it.

Slowly push your dog over onto its side. When your dog is in the correct position, click the clicker or tell it ‘good’ and offer a treat.

You need to slow down if your dog makes more than two to three mistakes in a row. Go back a step or two and practice. When your dog is repeatedly successful at one step, move on to teaching the next.

Patience and consistency are essential when teaching your dog how to play dead. Each dog has its own learning pace. 

Keep teaching sessions interesting and fun. If you feel your dog is getting bored, tired, and frustrated, stop and restart later. 

Always try to end sessions on a positive note. It could even be on any command that your dog is already familiar with, such as ‘sit’ or ‘down.’


Why Should You Teach Your Dog To Play Dead

Teaching your dog to play dead may not be as essential as training them on the ‘sit’ or ‘come’  command. But, playing dead is a fun trick you can play with your dog.

It’s also a great way of entertaining your friends when they come to your house. You can show  them how much fun your furry friend could be.

Tricks like playing dead are a great way to engage with your dog and challenge them. You can  try teaching tricks when you have free time with your dog.

This type of teaching can benefit your dog’s physical and mental health. Learning tricks can help  a dog build stamina and muscle. It also increases their balance, flexibility, and concentration.

Dogs use the ‘playing dead’ trick on their owners to escape from any fiasco they would have created in their absence. Many dogs are known to play dead when they get caught doing  something which their owners dislike.


Playing dead with your dog is fun and is a challenge to your dog. Teaching your dog to play  dead is not hard if you follow the above tips.

It’s essential to make a note that not every dog is the same. Each dog has its own pace, and  you  mustn’t rush when teaching tricks.

If your dog seems to be bored or tired when teaching how to play dead, stop and continue at a  later time. Always end teaching sessions on a positive note.

Frequently Asked Questions

 Do Dogs Like To Play Dead?

Dogs love challenges, and learning to play dead is fun for the dog and its owner. Dogs also love to learn to play dead as they spend more time with their owners.

 Can Any Dog Learn To Play Dead?

Any dog can learn to play dead. However, if your dog is suffering from back pain or injury, then it  could be painful. So you should avoid teaching it to play dead in such instances.

 What Should I Do If My Dog Refuses To Play Dead?

Your dog may refuse to play dead for many reasons, such as stress, distractions, and lack of  motivation. If that’s the case, consider going slow on teaching.

Availability Check

* Scamps & Champs will not share your information for marketing purposes with any 3rd party company. For more information explaining how we use your information please see our Privacy Policy