Teach your dog to do a spin

06 Dec 2023

Teaching a spin is a fantastic way to get your dog used to learning. It builds a good foundation for different types of agility training and heel work exercises, which can be used in lots of different ways.

Watch our video and take the first steps towards teaching your dog to do a spin.



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Step One:

To start, decide which way you want to teach your dog to spin first, either to the left or to the right, and then stick to this direction until your dog has got the hang of the behaviour. You should also make sure your dog doesn't have any medical or joint issues which might be made worse by the spinning.

Then, with your dog standing in front of you, show them a treat in your hand and allow them to smell it. Keeping your hand close to your dog's nose, slowly move your hand round to the side of the head and around the length of their body to form a circle. Reward your dog for completing the circle. Repeat this until your dog is confidently following the treat or the lure each time.


Step Two:

Next, repeat step one but without a treat in your hand. Instead, use your empty hand to slowly guide your dog in a circle. Once your dog has completed the circle, mark the action with 'yes' or 'good' and reward them with a treat from your other hand. Repeat this stage until your dog is following your hand confidently each time.


Step Three:

Now you can start to turn your lure hand into a simple hand signal. You can do this by pointing your finger as you move your dog around in a circle. After a few attempts, you can start to make your hand signal less obvious and continue to mark and reward your dog for completing the full circle.


Step Four:

When your dog is successfully spinning on a small hand signal, you can start to add the verbal cue 'spin'. Say the word, pause for a few seconds, and then add your hand signal. Reward your dog when they have completed the full circle. You can then gradually start to increase the number of seconds between saying 'spin' and showing your hand signal. Repeat this until your dog does a spin when you say it, without even waiting for the hand signal.

If at any point the dog is unsure what to do, drop back to the previous step and then repeat it until they are confident again. Repeat all of this but with your other hand and the spin or twist in the opposite direction.