It can be lots of fun when you first start to teach your dog to play dead.
The trick is to start by teaching the last part of the trick first. This is called back chaining. Once you start at the end, you can then start to teach your dog to play dead backwards. The behavior at the end of the chain will then become most reinforced. In fact, you must then insist that your dog completes the full chain before he/she is given a reward.
Step 1 – reinforce the down position
The first step involves reinforcing the down position. In this position, your dog must be down with one of his or her hips relaxed. Keep in mind that the side that your dog relaxes to and is most comfortable with is the side that you will teach him to roll. To teach your dog to play dead, you must first lure him or her into the rest position. Once he assumes this position, you will reinforce this behavior by giving it multiple treats. At the same time, you must also remember to give the release word. Also make sure that you place the treat in a position that makes your dog roll its head in the desired position.
Step 2 – teach him to ROLL
The next step in regard to teaching your dog to play dead involves focusing on the word ROLL. For this, you must lure your dog to assume the down position from its present Rest position. Repeat this exercise more than once so that your dog begins to understand what he or she must do. The hardest part of teaching your dog to play dead is training him or her to roll over on his or her side to play dead.
Step 3 – repeat and fade the lure
Next, you will need to go back and repeat the previous exercise. Also, make sure you fade the lure. The idea is to get your dog to do what is asked of it without it being given a treat for doing so. At this stage, you may want to use hand signals to get the dog to do what it should. As soon as he does, you can give him a reward with your free hand.
Step 4 – use hand signals
When you do this, you are going to find it easy to teach your dog to play dead. At this stage, you need to use the hand signal instead of the vocal command. The idea is to teach your dog to play dead on the hand signal instead of the vocal command.
Step 5 – change from sphinx position to down position
Now, it is time for you to focus on the muscle movement that is required to change its position from the sphinx down position to the relaxed down position. The more you practice this with your dog the easier it becomes for it to master this step.
Now, it is time to put the last piece of the chain together. At this stage, you need to lure your dog in a relaxed down position and now you can add the rest cue word. It is a good idea for you to first say down and then when your dog is in that position, you can give the rest command.
To teach your dog to play dead, at this time, you may want to also feed it a treat in the down position. Next, give the cue Rest command and if he obeys, then reward him, otherwise, you can break this step into two parts: down and rest and reward him when he obeys each command. That is all there is to teach your dog to play dead.
Credit to Rover Achiever on YouTube
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