How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead


Training Your Dog to Play Dead

How to Teach a Dog to Play Dead

Of all the dog tricks that entertain onlookers, one of the most fun is the ol’ “Bang Bang” trick. The play dead trick is not only fun to do, but can also strengthen the bond between you and your dog. Some dogs may take a while to learn it so just be patient. The end result is well worth it once your dog has the trick down.

By following the steps below, you can expand your dog’s knowledge of obedience training as well as successfully teach him a fun trick both of you can enjoy.

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Dead

Relax your dog

Get your dog in a calm state of mind. You can do this by playing or exercising with him for 10 to 15 minutes. If your dog is especially hyperactive or very young, more time may be needed to relax him. Once he’s relaxed, choose an area with minimal distractions so your dog’s focus is solely on you.

Put him into the “down” position

Use the “sit” cue to get your dog sitting. One he’s in this position, offer a treat to lure him into the “down” position. Gently push him onto his side. While he’s lying on his side, make a gesture with your free hand and say your desired cue, such as “bang” or “roll over.” As any dog trainer will tell you, this command will take a while for him to get so remember to be patient, as it is a little more difficult than average training cues.

Roll him over

With your encouragement, this position will eventually cause him to roll over on his own. The moment he does, reward him with a treat and plenty of praise. The goal is to have him flop over and lay his entire body on the ground.

Repeat and reward

Spend about 10 minutes at a time repeating this trick with your dog. Always reward your dog with treats and praise every time he successfully rolls over on command. This should make him more willing to follow your commands. When your dog’s comfortable with this trick, try giving your command at a farther distance. As soon as he is able to do this, try moving further and further away from him while giving the command.

Once your dog can successfully complete this trick, he should be able to show off his talents to your friends and family.

Have you had luck teaching your dog the play dead trick?

READ MORE: Training Your Dog to Skateboard


  1. says

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve been spending the past few days teaching my dog how to do tricks. So far, he can shake hands and roll over. I really want to learn how to teach him to play dead. It seems like the key to getting them to play dead is by getting the dog to remember the roll over command according to these tips. I agree, sometimes this command can be difficult for dogs to remember, so I’ll be sure to take the dog trainer’s advice and be patient while he’s learning all of these commands.

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