Halloween Trick Training

By Laura DeMaio Roy

Trick training is a wonderful way to bond with your dog, burn mental and physical energy, and teach some cool new behaviors to show off at your Halloween party.  With winter approaching, trick training can be a great way to keep your dog occupied and well-behaved. In this article we are going to use positive reinforcement training and a food lure to teach your dog some spooky Halloween tricks. Get into the Halloween spirit with these three simple tricks!

Word of caution: Make sure your dog is vet cleared and physically healthy enough for trick training. Some tricks are more difficult than others, so don’t push your dog beyond their physical capabilities.

Zombie Walk

Fan of the Walking Dead? Teach your dog to walk like a zombie.

  1. Stand facing your dog. Hold a treat to your dog’s nose.
  2. Start raising the treat above your dog’s head while they nibble it out of your hand until they are standing on their hind legs.
  3. Slowly move the treat forward so the dog is on his hind legs following the treat towards you.
  4. Say “yes” and reward your dog for their good behavior.
  5. Once he follows the treat and is standing on his hind legs you can start saying “Zombie!” right before you raise the treat up.
  6. Impress your friends with your dog’s new zombie impression!



Teach your dog to scare your friends.  When guests come to the door, you yell “boo!” and he pops through your legs!

  1. If your dog understands the “stay” command, put your dog in a sit stay. If they don’t know a stay, ask a helper to hold your dog while you turn your back to them. Both you and your dog should be facing the same direction with the dog directly behind you.
  2. Jump your legs open like you are doing half a jumping jack.
  3. Lower your hand below your waist and through your legs so the dog sees the treat.
  4. Say “boo” and tempt your dog to run through your legs to get the treat.
  5. When your dog’s head pops through your legs, say “yes” and release the treat to the dog.
  6. Once he is consistently running through your legs, slowly fade out the treat. Treat him after the trick is complete as a reward.
  7. Scare your friends at your next Halloween party!


Play Dead

Train your dog to lie on their side and play dead for your guests.

  1. Lure your dog with a treat into the down position, facing you. This works best if you are sitting or kneeling in front of him to start.
  2. Hold the treat to your dog’s nose and start to move it slowly towards the dog’s shoulder blade. From there, curl the treat up towards their back, luring their nose upwards towards their spine. At this point they should be looking up at the ceiling. Tip: use a large enough piece of treat that your dog can continuously nibble on it while it’s in your hand.
  3. Continue to move the treat until their body flops flat onto the floor and they are lying on their side.
  4. Say “Yes” and release the treat to your dog.
  5. When your dog is reliably flopping on it’s side, add the cue by saying “Dead dog!” and use the treat to lure him onto his side.
  6. Transition from the food treat to just a hand signal so your dog can “play dead” on command!


Remember to have fun with your training! Even if you don’t get it right the first time, remember to praise your dog. The important part is having fun and building a better relationship with your pup! Happy Halloween!

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