If you would like to get mental picture of your dog doing the spin trick before you begin, imagine him chasing his own tail around and around in a circle. This is just a fun little trick to teach your dog, and doesn’t have any purpose to it other than a source of entertainment for you and your dog. It’s important to remember that not everything has to be about work when it comes to your dog. You should carve out time for just some plain old being silly!
When you are ready to begin your training sessions make sure to keep them to less than 5 minutes each. Some dogs will only be able to work for 2-3 minutes at a time. Try getting in one lesson in the morning, one in the afternoon (if you are home), and one in the evening. If you and your dog are up to it, you can add more to the rotation.
- Start with your dog standing in front of you. If your dog wants to sit that is okay, but seeing that we want them to be in a walking motion for this trick, standing is easier.
- Hold your target stick, or your hand with a treat in it, at your dog’s eye level. (I like to use a target stick because my back get tired from bending down to my dog’s level).
- Move the stick slightly to the left of your dog’s nose. If your dog begins to move toward the stick click and treat. If your dog does not make a movement, try the action again. You only want to click and treat with movement.
- Once your dog is following this slight movement of the stick, you will begin to move the stick further around your dog’s body to his side.
- If he follows the target stick and make a quarter spin (90 degrees) then click and treat.
- If your dog is doing the quarter spin consistently, go for the half spin. Bring the target stick from your dog’s nose all the way around to the back (180 degrees). If your dog does this part of the spin correctly he should be facing the opposite direction from where he started. Click, treat, and praise your pup!
- After your dog has perfected the half spin it is time to go all the way around in one full 360-degree circle. Start at your dog’s nose and take target stick all the way around slowly in a complete circle. Click and treat your dog.
- The trick is not fully complete yet, as the key is to get your dog to spin in multiple circles and rather fast. I recommend starting with more spins first, and then add to the speed. Start with 2 spins, and then 3. You want to make sure that your dog keeps his spins tight and neat. If you add too many at once they will get messy. Click and treat for well-formed spins.
- It’s time to ramp up the speed. Turn your target stick faster around your dog. Click and treat for good form and fast speed.
- Let’s add the cue word, “spin” or another cue word of your choosing. You will want to say, “spin” just before you show the target stick to your dog. Follow the steps as outlined above with the addition of the cue word at the beginning.
- Once your dog is very comfortable with the target stick, clicker, treats, and cue words, you will want to start phasing out some of the “extras.” First, phase out the target stick by gradually shortening the stick. Bring the point of the stick further from your dog’s nose each time. Soon you can eliminate the stick completely and replace it with a hand signal or simply your cue word.
- Once your dog is responding to your hand signal or cue word “spin” phase out the clicker and the treats.
If you have a hyperactive dog and they don’t seem to be able to stop themselves from spinning or chasing their tail, you may want to add in a release command. You can simply tell your pup to sit, and this should stop the motion and calm down your dog.