by Kelli McCoy (Senior Instructor with Partners Dog Training School, AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, Certified Trick Dog Instructor - Email)
Bang Bang! You're dead!
"Play Dead" is one of the most iconic tricks ever, it is certainly one of the most entertaining! The actual verbal command is completely up to you, but I like to use "BANG!" with my hand in the shape of a gun.... And the release from being "dead" is "It's a miracle!" although I have heard people use "You're alive!" Gets a laugh every time! I have recently started having Tucker "Stick 'em up!" then we "Bang!" and down he goes. Definitely entertaining!
Now we are going to teach, "Bang!"
Start with your dog in a down position, and you should be kneeling on the floor in front of your pup. This is going to sound kind of familiar, as it is similar to the start of roll over Take that treat and get your pup’s nose “magnetized” to it. Yep, once again we are using the luring technique! Noticing a theme? Slowly lure your dog’s nose close to their shoulder blade; this should cause them to kind of flop to the side, once your dog is on their side mark it with the “Yes!” and give the treat. Once your dog is pretty comfortable flipping to her side, using that treat capture her nose and lure them so we can see belly, give that “Yes!” and treat. Once your dog understands this movement start using your "gun" hand, and the command "Bang!"
Ok, my dog is "dead" how do we stay "dead" until the "miracle" comes?
Well... this is good old fashioned stay! I move slowly and then treat after I have given the release command. When I am first teaching a dog I slowly add time for the dog to stay in the "dead" position, until I give the release command of "It's a miracle!" I typically throw my hands up with that command to indicate to the dog it is ok to get up!
If your dog forgot how to "die" simply take your "gun" hand and move it towards the side of their face you initially did the lure towards the shoulder. That usually helps them remember!
Here it is!
Meet the Star...
Zelda is a 5 year old Pit Bull mix! She belongs to Instructor Amy... She learned to play dead in about 15 minutes! Such a smart girl! She really prefers to lounge on the couch... but hey, she will work for food!
We hope you enjoyed your time with your pup! Remember, any type of training, is good training! It is time with your fur-kid!