Training my dog, Callie, to spin was the first thing I ever taught her. While some people focus on potty training or basic obedience on their first day with their new dog, I like to start with something that I know I will get quick results.
Yes, you can teach your dog to sit in just a few minutes, but it’s not as fun as teaching your dog to spin.
Teaching your dog to spin also encourages higher levels of critical thinking (for you and your dog) and is way more impressive to show your friends.
Step 1: Lure
The first step is moving your dog into a circle by luring them with a treat or reward. Move the treat in a circle so that your dog’s body also moves in a circle.
Lure your dog to spin in a circle in only one direction to start. For example, you should only be moving your treat counterclockwise to start.
Release the reward once the circle is completed and offer plenty of verbal praise.
Repeat this process.
Once you start to notice your dog moving in a circle quicker and anticipating the behavior you are ready to move on to step 2.
Step 2: Fade Lure / Add Verbal Cue
Start to fade out the lure by motioning with your hand with no treat. You can hold a treat in your other hand behind your back. Once your dog completes the circle, then give your dog the treat.
You can also add a verbal cue, although it is not completely necessary. The end behavior will only require your hand gesture to indicate to your dog which direction to spin in. However, some dog’s learn better with verbal cues and some people do as well!
Say the word “spin” and then use your hand to mimick the luring done in step one. Once the dog completes the circle, treat them with the opposite hand and get excited.
Once your dog doesn’t require a full lure in a circle and will just take a directional point (with or without a verbal “spin”) then the first direction is trained!
Step 3: Repeat For Other Direction
Repeat steps 1 and 2 for the opposite direction. Your visual hand cue will be the differentiator to your dog on which way to spend.
Dog Training Tip: You will, inevitably, ask for your dog to spin to one direction more than the other. This will cause your dog to favor one direction. Additionally, most dogs tend to favor the direction they were first trained. It is important that you ask your dog to spin in both directions and reward them the same amount. This will keep you dog motivated to spin to both the left and the right.