Play dead trick like you’ve never seen it!

Thanks to Paul Ineson, of, one of our dropshippers, who sent us this hilarious video from the David Letterman show.  I cracked up so much.  I just love fun dog tricks.  Do you know how he may have taught his dog to do this?  I have an idea, but want to check it out with all you dog trainers for your thoughts?


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6 Comments on “Play dead trick like you’ve never seen it!

  1. I’m not sure of the process for training, but it is obvious that it was trained using positive reinforcement. At one point, the dog plays dead and looks up like “where’s the cookie? oops, not time yet” and goes back to playing dead. I had to crack up because that is a beagle look if I ever saw it – I actually thought the checking in to see if the cookie was there yet was as funny as the trick itself. It is most likely something the dog offered naturally and then was reinforced… either way, it was pretty darn cute.

  2. I have this video favorited on Youtube!! I almost cried laughing when I first saw this video. Isn’t it always like a Beagle to have his nose pointed to the ground LOL!!!

    • Flying Bichon, that’s a good point about Beagles 🙂

      Anyway, here is how I THINK this trick is taught. Hershey can play dead on the floor, like normal. (actually, she does it at a fake ‘bang’ when I point to her like I’m forming a gun with my hand). I’m assuming this is the first thing to teach, because it teaches your dog to go limp. The next step (if I was to try, but she’s a Lab, so I can’t pick her up!) would be to touch her and say ‘bang’. My goal would be first to get her used to my hand being on her. Then I’d start to slip my arm under her stomach, and expect her to play dead with my arm under her stomach. Then I’d lift it up more.

      Actually, now that I’m thinking about it more, another method to start off…When she is playing dead on the floor, I might try to pull up her leg, her tail, etc. to try and get her to move. If she does, I’d say “ahh”, and tell her to play dead again. If she is still when I lift her leg or tail, I’d reward her. That ways, she learns that I want to be able to handle her body while she is playing dead, and she has to stay still.

  3. That’s hilarious!!! One of my girls can play dead on the floor. She is small enough for me to hold. I want to try this one. Thanks ZooGal. I am going to try this. I’ve never thought of having her play dead on different surfaces, like the couch.

  4. We have actually taught a dog to do this trick before. You can see it, if you can find a copy of “While I Was Gone” with Kirstie Alley but doubt you’ll find one as it was a MOW. The dog actually had to do it slower as the needle got injected (fake needle) and then had to stay there the whole time with conversation going as well as when he was carried out of the room. It ended up looking so real we had students call in to see if we had killed Zip! How you do it: OC for the win! try not to lure and don’t start in an in arms position. just start on a couch or chair, when you have shaped the head going down and hanging off the side of the couch (starting by just clicking when the dog glances down) THEN move to doing it in arms (but have your assistant sit so that they are comfortable) keep shaping it until they will now do it in arms. Next add distractions until they won’t move until they hear the click. Now you are ready to label it and try it while standing! 🙂 Just for your information Zip was a smooth fox terrier.

  5. What a fun trick! loved it! I’d love to teach this to my dog but she is just too heavy for me to carry her like that. I think the way I would teach a dog to do that would be to have the dog in your arm and drop a treat or a toy on the floor beside you and as soon as the dog drop on the side give him the cue to play dead and reward. that could work.