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How To Teach A Corgi To Play Dead?

How To Teach A Corgi To Play Dead?

When your corgi learns how to sit, bark, roll around, or stay – a logical follow-up question would be how to teach a corgi to play dead?. A variety of good tricks should always involve this one because it’s one of the most interesting ones to see, regardless of it being scary sometimes.

This trick isn’t the easiest to teach your dog to do, but don’t be disappointed – there are ways to do this in an easier and faster way than you’d think.

The process of teaching your dog to play dead might seem like something that’s complicated to do and that takes a lot of time to master, but trust me – there are ways to shorten the period of time needed and to make the process much simpler.

Follow me through this detailed guide on how to teach your dog to play dead in a special and easy way to see your dog showing results in half the time that some people might tell you this trick requires.

Don’t worry, the ease with which you’ll read this guide will be the equivalent of the ease with which you’ll teach your dog to play dead! Without further ado, let’s dive right in.

How To Teach A Corgi To Play Dead? – Preparation

The first thing you need to do is to make sure you have everything you need to start teaching your dog to play dead. There are a few necessities that will be needed, but don’t worry – it’s nothing much.

The most important are the rewards (treats). You’ll use them to reward your corgi every time it does something you want, and that’ll be crucial for the rest of this learning process.

The second thing you need to pay attention to is that you need a flat area that you can place your dog in a sitting position while paying close attention to letting your dog have enough space to do this trick at first. I recommend that you go outside, or if you have a room that has quite a lot of space to practice this trick in, that will do as well.

The third and final thing you’ll have to make sure that you have, or rather don’t have, are the toys that might draw your corgi’s attention away from you. Doing this is quite important as your dog needs to be focused on you at all times while learning this trick, and the things that might distract them are just not needed at the moment of learning.

Now that you’ve prepared everything that you need, including the workspace you’ll work in, I can start explaining how teaching your dog this trick will work.

There are a few stages that you’ll need to lead your dog through that will put them in several positions that will result in them learning this trick. This is exactly why some people say this trick takes a while, but trust me, if you break it down into smaller learning steps it will take much less time.

Let’s take a look at the steps needed in order for this trick to work:

  1. Sit your dog in front of you – this is a starting position from which you’ll work your way to success.
  2. Putting your corgi into a sphinx position – this is the first step to success. If you execute this step right, everything else will be easier.
  3. Tip the hip – if you do this right, you’re halfway there. Don’t be afraid to repeat this one a couple of times.
  4. Head to the ground – this might be one of the most frustrating steps for you as an owner. Be patient with this one.
  5. Hand sign – This is the cosmetic part of the trick, you’ll have to practice it if you want to do it a certain way.

Now that you’ve gotten familiar with the steps you’ll have to take, let’s take a look at every step individually and break it down in order to make it easier for both you and your dog to follow through this guide.

Let’s take a look at the first step.

1. Sit Your Dog In Front Of You

This is the best possible way of starting the learning process. If your corgi is in any other position other than this, you might have a problem with putting them in any other positions that this trick requires them to be in.

So, in order to avoid this, you’ll have to sit them directly in front of you without any obstacles between you and your corgi. With this position established, you’ll be able to take the next required step towards teaching your corgi to play dead!

Just make sure that your dog actually has the patience to sit in front of you for more than 10 seconds, because if they can’t you’ll have to work on getting them used to do this.

Both you and your corgi need to arm yourselves with patience because if you don’t – your dog won’t be able to perform this trick, and you won’t be able to teach them a thing.

So, before proceeding to the next step, be sure that you’re both patient enough to execute everything that’s needed.

2. Putting Your Corgi In A Sphinx Position

The second step towards your dog being able to play dead is to put them into a specific lying position. A sphinx position is the most classing lying position your corgi might be found in. It looks like something like this:

You have two ways of putting them into this position from the sitting one. I’ll explain both, and then you’ll decide what works better for you.

The first way to put your corgi in this position is to lead them into a lying position with a treat that will be put in front of their face and then slowly dragging it to the floor.

Their nose will follow the treat and your corgi will find itself in a lying position before you know it. This is the better way of doing it when talking about corgis since their legs are quite short.

The other option is to put a treat in front of your corgi’s nose and slowly lifting it over its head and pushing them back while lowering the treat right in front of its nose.

This will lead them into the desired position and get them ready for the next step. If you do this correctly, you won’t have any bigger problems going forward.

3. Tip The Hip

Corgis have a tendency to do this on their own. If you see your pet doing this without getting into the sphinx position first, it’s totally fine – one less step to lose time over!

Tip the hip means to lead your corgi into a lying position where one of their back legs is under them and putting all of their weight on that hip. This is a common lying position for corgis, but there’s a certain possibility that your dog won’t do this instinctively.

If this is the case, you’ll have to do a thing or two to lead your corgi into the desired position.

First, you’ll take another treat. While they’re in the sphinx position, you’ll lead their head from the neutral position towards their belly.

The way you’ll do this is that with putting a treat right in front of their nose, and quickly put it in line with the middle part of their body.

What this will do is force your dog to tip the hip in order to get the treat. This is a good thing because it’ll be quick and seamless and your dog won’t even notice that they’ve changed positions.

This is a crucial moment in your training because this is the closest you’ve gotten your corgi to the final position that they need to be in in order for this trick to be fully executed.

Practice this motion, and pay close attention to which side your dog prefers to tip the hip on, because a big majority of dogs have their preferred side that they enjoy lying on, so if your dog develops a liking towards one side, try forcing that side in this trick.

Quickly moving the treat from in front of their nose to their belly will force them to do this motion quickly which is a big part of this trick being visually satisfying so try increasing the speed of doing this.

Read Also: How To Train A Corgi To Lay Down? Extra Tips & Tricks

4. Head To The Ground

In order for this trick to be complete, you’ll have to teach your dog to put its head down on the floor, because playing dead isn’t much of a head-up trick.

In order to do this, you’ll have to be quick in making another motion after the previous one. From getting your dog to tip the hip, you’ll move the treat up and over their head to the floor where you want their head to be.

How I like to do this is to make a little half-circle with my hand that will force your corgi to follow the treat with its eyes and lay its head flat on the floor.

The biggest problem with this is that your dog won’t want to keep its head in that position for a long period of time. And, another problem will be that half the time while training your dog will sit up instead of lying flat on the floor.

In case of the first complication, you just have to feed your corgi a few treats while in that position in order to stimulate them to hold their head on the ground for a longer period of time. This will probably solve your problem, as corgis like to be treated when they do something right, and if you give them treats for just lying flat, you won’t have a problem.

The second problem that you might encounter is that your dog will sit instead of putting its head on the floor. If this happens just lower your hand when making the said motion and slow down the movement.

This should give your corgi clear instructions in what position you want them in. If this doesn’t work, just be patient. The first time they do what you want them to do, just praise them and give them lots of treats. That should do the trick.

5. Hand Sign

This is purely the aesthetic part of this trick. If you’d like to make this trick look more interactive, you should consider involving a hand sign and a “bang” sound.

This will serve as a sign to your dog that you want them to do this trick without you saying “play dead” or another verbal command you’d like to issue.

The way you’ll do this is that you’ll put a treat in your palm and making a gun-like sign gesture.

If you want your corgi to react to your “bang” command along with the hand sign when you do all the training needed to get your corgi in the desired position, make the hand sign and say “band”.

With time, your corgi will relate that command with the trick you want them to do, so even if you said the command at the end of the trick, your dog will do it in reverse and perform the trick after you give them the command.

If you don’t want to do this, you should just say “play dead” at the beginning of the process of putting your dog in the desired position by doing all the steps that I’ve explained above.

This should be enough for your dog to understand that you want them to do those motions when you say “play dead”. This is the easier option, but it’s also the one that gets a much less aesthetic feel to it. It’s only up to you what you go with.


As you can see, there’s nothing too complicated in this process of teaching your dog to play dead. People usually think it’s difficult to get your dog to do this trick because it looks much more complicated than some other tricks that people are used to seeing.

Don’t let people tell you and your dog what you can or can’t do since every trick is teachable and learnable. It’s only up to you if you’re going to invest your time and patience into it.

Good luck with your training, and I hope you and your corgi will have a new trick to show your friends in the dog park!