Hey guys! We’re back again with another how to! The most requested trick I’ve had recently is how to teach your dog to spin. Now I like to teach the dog to do this in both directions, one question I’ve had was “what commands do you use?” Personally I use “left” and “right” for a single turn in either direction. I use their lefts and rights as opposed to my left and right when they are facing me as I also use “left” and “right” to ask them to turn when we’re out running or cycling and they are attached to and in front of me. Some may argue that I need different commands for these things but I know that my girls understand the commands in each situation as both situations are very different. If you feel your dog may become easily confused then yes, please give them separate commands! If I were to train this with my Cavalier I would be sure to use separate commands as he’s likely to get the two confused. Now I do have a separate command for multiple repetitions of spinning, and for this I use “Spin” and “Twist”, the girls then know to expect to keep spinning in each direction until I ask them to stop.
We had the lovely Sputnik the Sighthound join us for a training session!
You Will Need
- Clicker – Make sure your dog is fully conditioned to the clicker, if not you can follow our how to here.
- Reward: Treats/Toys – if you have a choice I find treats easier initially.
Step 1: Stand in front of your dog with a treat/toy in one hand and clicker in the other.
Step 2: Show your dog the reward, get their nose on it and use it to lure them in your chosen direction – do not give a command at this point.
Step 3: Once they have completed a full turn to face you again, click and reward.
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3 several times until your dog is turning in a circle fluently. Make sure you are always asking them to turn in the same direction at this point.
Step 5: Introduce the command, say your command only once, then lure them in the circle, click, and reward. Repeat this process several times.
Step 6: Still using the command only once with each repetition, begin to hold your hand slightly higher as you lure them, so their nose is no longer right on the reward, but still make a big obvious loop in your chosen direction with your arm. If your dog still understands what you are asking you can gradually bring your arm higher so you are not bending over, and you will gradually be able to make the visual cue (loop) with your arm smaller and smaller. Make sure your do not come up too fast or make the loop too small too quick otherwise you may confuse your pup!
Step 7: You should get to a point where you only need a small circular flick with your hand as the visual cue, say your chosen command and your pup should turn in your chosen direction.
To teach the other direction repeat all the same steps, but turning your dog and your visual cue in the opposite direction. Also be sure to give a separate command, and do not start to teach the second direction until your dog definitely understands the first direction!
Don’t forget that, if at any stage something goes wrong, go back a step or two and start again from there. Things don’t always quite go to plan, so if ever, at any point you or your pup get confused, take a breather and come back in at a step you found successful and go again from there.
You Will Need:
- To have a single turn command for both directions
- Clicker/Marker Word
Step 1: Ask your dog to complete a single turn once, then again and then click and reward.
Step 2: After several repetitions of step 1, ask for 3 turns, then click and reward. Keep adding on one extra ‘turn’ after several repetitions of each number until you reach 5 consecutive ‘turns’.
Step 3: Add in your new command, I know some people choose to only say the command once but repeat the visual cue for each ‘turn’ and then integrate a stop command. However I like to repeat the command for each turn they do. The only reason I give a separate command is so the girls know that they are likely to have to keep spinning and therefore will do so faster, their single turns are performed at a slightly slower speed.
I hope you enjoyed this trick tutorial and that some of you find it useful! Does your dog already know spin, or has this inspired you to teach them? Also let me know in the comments if there are any tricks you would like to learn how I teach! I have had a couple of requests now for ‘cuddle’, which is holding an object with their paws tight to their chest while in a beg/sit pretty position. This will be a slightly more advanced trick tutorial and I’m letting you know now that you will need to have a solid beg command in place, and your pooch have the ability to hold a beg for a long period of time! A beg takes a LOT of core strength for a dog, so you must build up duration slowly and be patient with them. If they are struggling to hold a beg position it is likely that they simply are not strong enough through their core and the only thing that will help is patience and perseverance. If anyone is struggling with beg duration also let me know, happy to help if I can!
Remember, as with all of my trick tutorials, this is just the way that I have taught it. I am a great believer in that there is always more than one way to teach a trick, and each dog learns differently so this method may not be for you. However be sure to not give up too fast! My Collie’s learned this trick at a very young age – Luna 6 months, 2 weeks after I got her, Aurora at 10 weeks old. It took them both only a day to understand the command, but my Cavalier and Chihuahua both took about 3-5 days of 1-2 training sessions!
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