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AKC GoodDog! Helpline trainer Milena Barreto has taught her Standard Poodle, Phoebe, dozens of tricks. They use their repertoire of tricks to entertain when they make their therapy dog visits.

This is a good trick to teach your dog when she is tired and ready to rest. She needs to know the DOWN cue before you start teaching this cute trick.

Ask your dog to “down” and kneel in front of her with a treat in your hand.

Hold the treat at the side of her head and move it toward her shoulder. She should fall to her side, at which point you should give her the treat, saying “PLAY DEAD.”

After a few repetitions, wait a few seconds so she holds the position before giving her the treat. Remember to use a release word (such “all done,” “finished,” or “OK”) before giving her the treat.

You can opt to teach your dog to roll all the way over on her back instead of her side. That is much more dramatic!

Another way to teach the trick is just to reinforce the position when your dog is naturally resting on her side. Say “PLAY DEAD” and give her a treat every time you spot her lying on her side. Eventually she will go to her side when you say it.
For tips and advice and to ask training questions, enroll in the AKC GoodDog! Helpline at The seven-day-a-week training service is staffed by experienced dog trainers.
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