How to Teach Your Dog to Play Dead?

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Dead

As a responsible dog owner, it is essential to train your dog to perform basic tasks on command, like sit, down, stay, etc.

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Dead? – Teaching your dog new tricks is not just a way to enjoy spending time together but also a way to entertain friends & family while introducing your pet to them.

It also helps in keeping your pet engaged & agile while strengthening your bond with your pet. Using this guide on how to teach your dog to play dead, you can keep your dog mentally agile while preventing boredom & taking its mind off of stressful matters.

It’s a familiar yet impressive trick- all you need are a few treats to reward them and patience. Practicing in short regular intervals will ensure to keep your dog’s attention on the activity while building discipline to obey commands.

What is the Need for Verbal Cues?

You might think that training your dog to respond to verbal commands increases the amount of time training takes without providing proportionate benefit, but that is incorrect. To familiarise your dog with the desired action, using treats as a reward is acceptable.

But since most of these commands are used as a part of your daily life, you might find yourself in a situation where you need to bring your pet under control but do not have a treat at hand.

Also, rewarding your dog all the time for obeying remote commands does not seem like a great idea keeping in mind the health of your pet.

What Kind of Verbal Cues Should You Use?

Using the command word associated with the action is an excellent way to make your dog aware of what is expected to be done. Commands like sit, stay, down, roll, etc., are easy to express.

In situations where firmness needs to be displayed, a change in tone to a heavier & stern tone can help your dog recognize the difference in the mood in contrast to the usual, relatively high-pitched voice that we tend to use generally with our pets.

While training your dog, use appreciative words like good, yes, etc., in an exclamatory tone. While doing tricks, using related words to dramatize the effect may be a good idea, using words such as bang along with finger motions.

What Should be Checked Before Teaching Your Dog to Play Dead?

Although it is a relatively harmless trick that doesn’t require the supervision of a professional pet trainer, there are certain things that you, as a responsible pet parent, should look out for before beginning to train your dog.

Check for Immediate Signs of Discomfort

While practicing any part of any trick, it is essential to be on the lookout for any signs of discomfort that your pet may be displaying to prevent any possible injury.

Regular Check-Ups with the Vet

Regular check-ups ensure that you are well informed regarding the state of your dog’s health & can immediately trace any health issues & prevent practicing tricks that adversely affect your pet’s health.

Smooth Practice Surface

Ensure that the area you choose for training your pet is not just free of distractions but also of any irregularities on the flooring to prevent injuries. Choosing a clean, well-covered surface is ideal to ensure positive outcomes & prevent any mishaps.

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Dead

How to Teach Your Dog to Play Dead?

Training your dog to play dead is not necessarily the most difficult trick in the book. However, it does require a little more effort from your end. Quite simply, playing dead is getting your dog to roll over with its belly exposed in response to a verbal cue or hand signal.

Breaking down the task into simple steps, as stated in this article, will help your dog grasp the movement faster & to aid this, all you need to do is be patient. Keeping each practice session under 10 minutes will ensure that your dog isn’t bored of the training process.

Essentially, playing dead is a dramatized version of rolling over, a trick that can help tone muscles & build stamina.

It also helps in the early detection of any health issues like infections on the stomach or the side of your dog. To get started, your pet should be able to respond to basic commands such as ‘sit,’ ‘stay,’ and ‘down.’

Get Rid of Distractions

An ideal environment for training your dog would be a quiet place with little to no distraction to ensure maximum focus on the trick.

A soft carpeted floor would help prevent any possible injuries to your pet’s spine. An indoor place would help eliminate any external distractions due to environmental factors or other pets or people.

Make Your Dog Lie Down

Laying down is a way to get your dog to stay put in one spot & is just a step further after teaching your dog to sit down.

Hold a treat before your dog’s nose & move it towards its body & lower it to the floor. Your pet should be sprawled over the floor with its tummy to the floor in this position.

Offer a Treat to Get Your Dog to Roll Over

While in the laid down position, use a treat to guide your dog’s movement & move your hand in a semi-circular manner from the front of your pet’s head to the back of its head.

Depending on the way that your dog is laid on the floor, you should deduce which side would be easier to roll over onto. Once in the desired position on its back, reward it with the treat.

Command to Stay

The essential part of this trick is staying on its back & to make sure your command is obeyed, and you may have to use a treat to hold your dog in the position for the first few times that you practice the trick.

Eventually, just using a verbal command, your dog will get used to staying in the position for a couple of seconds after rolling over.

Use the Hand Signal or Verbal Command

As you make your dog practice, start using the command action to signify the task after the first few attempts and using verbal cues like bang or shoot or hand signals like your fingers in the shape of a gun motioning the firing of a bullet.

This may take a few attempts for your dog to understand but patiently reward it each time you practice.

Practice in Regular Settings

Once you have trained your dog to act on command, it is time to see whether or not the same can be implemented in the midst of distractions.

Pay close attention to what factors cause the most significant distraction to your dog & slowly explore different outdoor locations where various aspects can be tested.

Add the Revive Command

Taking the trick a step further, after your dog is used to staying in position on its back for a few seconds, use the revive command just when you sense that your dog is getting back up.

Shower your dog with praise & reward it. Practice this multiple times until your dog can identify that it is being awarded for returning to position only after the revive command is given.

Practice the Entire Motion

Now that your dog has learned the simple breakdown of the trick, regular practice is the way ahead to ensure a perfect presentation.

After a couple of tries, get rid of the treat when your dog has learned to perform in response to your signals/ verbal cues. However, reward your dog for a  successful performance with heaps of praise.

How to Tackle Problems While Training Your Dog?

Since each dog is unique & has a different ability & pace of learning, you may encounter a few problems while training your dog to play dead. Being patient will make the task easier for you & ensure that your pet learns the trick while you enjoy the training process.

Rolling Over onto its Stomach

If your dog is trained to respond to the roll-over command, you may find it difficult to stop it mid-way to lay on its back.

In such a case, break down the process, gently push your dog to get it to roll over & give it a treat just when it’s on its back. Regular practice will ensure that your dog learns to stop on its back.

Hesitation to Roll

If your dog is hesitant to roll onto its side or back, gently nudge it into the required position on its back & immediately reward it with a treat. Your dog should find it easier to lay in the desired position to play dead with a few tries.

Through this article, the process of learning how to teach your dog to play dead can be simplified & made stress-free for you & enjoyable for your pet. And finally, it is rewarding to see your dog successfully behave as per the command and see the fruits of your patience.

Aapt Dubey
Aapt Dubey

Aapt Dubey, a devoted canine enthusiast and experienced dog Owner, brings boundless passion to our team. With a heart full of love for our four-legged friends, Aapt is dedicated to sharing insights on dog care, behavior, and training to make every pup's life happier and healthier at

Know More

Recommended For You