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"Play dead"

4061 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Skye'sMom
I want to teach Kodee some good, old-fashioned "tricks" so he can entertain kids, if he makes it to be a therapy dog. Plus, the more I train him, the more fun we have. So, I was thinking I would teach him "bang" (the words "play dead" just seem a little too morbid if I'm visiting sick people in a hospital setting, but it's the same trick). He has the basic commands down, and as far as "tricks", he's only learned "shake", and "roll over", and he can play the game "find it."

For those of you who've taught "play dead" to your dog, how did you teach it?

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same as teaching any other body position (sit, down, stand, etc.)---by helping/luring the dog into the posture, treating and praising for it, and THEN adding the "command" word.

Get Kodee into a regular down, and then help him onto his side (both by luring his head with the treat, and physically rolling him onto his side) . When his shoulder touches the floor, praise and treat, then release. Repeat this several times, until you can tell that he is anticipating getting into the "dead" position. Make a HUGE deal out of him going into this posture with treats and praise. Then add the word and hand gesture. Make a gun with your hand and say "bang-bang!" the instant before you give the treat. Then repeat that a bunch of times.

Remember, that as your teaching the trick, you praise and treat AS IF the dog were already doing it on his own--even though he isn't--you're helping put him in the position. Eventually, he will decide that it's quicker to just do it himself because he'll get the treat faster. Once that "clicks" in his head then he's figured it out, and then you just need to repeat it to reinforce that he understands the game.

ETA: Luca quickly got it figured out that rolling onto his side meant getting the treat, but he still had his head up and alert, ready for the treat...not the best impression of "playing dead." So now, to add to the comedy routine, I have to add "all the way dead!" then he puts his head down.
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OMG - I love the "all the way dead" part.
Thanks for the advice!
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Kodee Girl - I agree that 'play dead' is a little scary for kids and seniors.

Skye's command is 'take a nap.' Same trick, but the kids don't mind it.. if she lifts her head, I tell her 'close your eyes' and it really means (to her) get that head back down.

You can work this into a whole routine " What's the matter pup, are you sleepy? Take a nap."

Have fun
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