Teaching your dog tricks is entertaining and teaches him to respond to commands in a fun way. This is not life or death stuff! No need to take it too seriously. The main object is that your dog looks cute and has fun! Some people take this trick a step further for added effect. Molly, a husky mix from a shelter, responds to the command, “is it bed time?” by immediately laying on her back with her front paws tucked up. Her owner then brings a blanket to cover her up and Molly lies on her back with the blanket on, much to the delight of onlookers, and Molly gets lots of attention and a treat after the trick is completed.
You can teach your dog all kinds of fun tricks, including how to lay on his back. A variation of this trick is to play dead, but if you do not require your dog to act like they are dead when lying on their back, then an alternate command to direct your dog to lie on his back can be used. Because this is a behavior your dog may perform to get a belly rub, you can add a command like, “want a belly rub?” or “are you tired?” or “bedtime” to instruct your dog to lie on his back. The trick itself is not usually that hard to learn, as dogs roll over or ask for belly rubs by lying on their back, and for most dogs it is easy. However, some dogs with physical limitations may find balancing on their back more difficult. The trick requires your dog to lay down, roll onto their back and balance there with front legs tucked in. For some dogs, this is difficult due to their shape, or discomfort in their back. If this is the case, the trick may take longer to teach or, depending on your dog's condition, should be avoided.
A prerequisite behavior required to teach your dog to lay on his back is the 'down' command. If your dog can lay down on command reliably then you are ready to start teaching him to lay on his back. You will need lots of treats, and depending on the training method you select, a training stick and/or clicker. Remember to have patience and make this fun, it is a trick, not an obedience command, so it should be fun for your dog too! Do not punish or use negative reinforcement when teaching fun tricks like 'lay on your back', it is unnecessary and counterproductive.