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How to Teach Your Dog to Spin

Learn how to teach your dog to spin with this Howcast dog training video featuring professional dog trainer Andrea Arden.


Spin is a great trick to train. It's really suitable for dogs of any age, any size, and any physical condition.

To get started with training a spin, you can simply take a treat and put it on your dog's nose in a standing position. Most dogs are going to want to try to sit automatically because many dogs that are trained have a nice manner set. So you are going to want to get him into the standing position, and then slowly lure them around in a circle to get the spin behavior.

When you get started, try seeing which direction your dog feels more comfortable going around in a circle in. Most dogs will have a preference. Pick the one that's easier for your dog to get started. Later, you can teach him to spin in the other direction. So, for Jack, I'm going to put the treat right on his nose, slowly bring it around in a circle so that he can follow it easily, click, and then reward. I'm using the clicker to let him know what it is that I like, which is motion. So I want to click while he's still in motion, not at the end of the spin.

I'm going to do that a few times, until it looks fluid, meaning he's moving around in that circle easily. Then I'm going to start pointing my finger down. I still have the treat in my hand, but I might as well go ahead and get him to start seeing what ultimately is going to be my visual cue, which is two fingers pointed down straight and then following them in a circle.

As soon as I feel my dog is ready, I'm going to put the treat in the other hand, or in my pouch, and just show him the visual cue and give the treat from the other hand. This way, instead of following a cookie through space, he'll be following a cue. Slowly, I'll refine that cue, and you can refine it as much as you want. For Jack, because he's a big dog, I'm going to keep my circle pretty big for him so he has an easy time following it. Sit for a minute, sweetie. But some people like something very refined, like a little twirl. You can refine the visual cue to whatever suits you and your dog.

The other fun thing about spin is that you can do a lot of variations on it. So once your dog understands the spin behavior, we can now teach it in the other direction, for them to spin at our side, or even to spin in motion. I'll show you a couple of those, just so you can see some things you can do, once you have that accomplished. So here's a spin. Good.

Now we're going to see if he can do a twirl. Good. It helps the dog if you change the name of it, so they don't get confused. There you go, buddy. Then if you like, you can teach them to walk along at your side and do a nice circle. You can teach them to walk along your side, spin, and join you as you change direction. You can even teach them to do a little bit of a figure eight, good, around your legs. Once you've got the moving spin, and the figure eight, a spin to the front and to the side, you're well on your way to doggie dancing.

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