Train Your Dog to Play Dead
Here are a few steps to train your dog to "play dead." As always, positive reinforcement with training a dog will yield more results than any punishment you could dole out. Keep in mind that your dog wants to please you! So show him how with lots of love and treats when he does something right.
- Train your dog a solid "down" or "lay down" command. This is a totally separate thing, but it should start with a sit, and then you can slowly lure the dog to lay down with a treat in your hand. "Down" alone should take several training sessions, and different dogs will pick up on it more quickly than others.
- I like the command "bang!" for playing dead, but obviously you can use any signal word or hand gesture that you please. Once your dog is in a "down," push him gently onto his side with one hand, making the gesture with the other and saying "bang!" If he rolls over, even for an instant, praise him profusely and give him a treat. Make sure that, if it's just for a second, you are praising at that exact second and not after.
- It should take several repetitions of this before your dog gets the idea. Be patient; it's kind of a weird command. If these steps have taken more than 15 minutes, now should probably be the end of the first session.
- If beginning a new session here, make sure to refresh what you've already asked for.
- Obviously a "play dead" command is more than just laying on his side, though. You want your dog to relax with his head on the floor. Do the same as you were doing before (with or without a gentle push, depending on how far he's come so far), but don't reward until he puts his head down. This will take several tries, as the dog is doing what you were just asking for, and he will be confused! Be patient.
- As soon as he lays his head down, even slightly, praise and treat!
Repeat these steps several times; no dog will understand a trick right away. But with the right encouragement, your dog will know a new party trick in no time!
Puppy Learning to Roll Over/Play Dead
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