Spin/Twist

WHAT YOU ARE TRAINING

We’re teaching the dog to turn his whole body in a clockwise or anticlockwise direction.

WHY SHOULD YOU TRAIN THIS

  • Body awareness.
  • It’s fun.

HOW YOU WILL TRAIN THIS

We’ll use the lure-reward method of training and shaping to guide the dog into a full circle.  

PUSH, STICK, DROP?

Make sure that with each step of the training you know what your criteria is; what your dog needs to do in order to get a reward.

Perform each step 5 times.

  • If your dog gets it right at least 4 times you’re ready to push to the next step
  • If your dog gets it right 3 times, stick with this step until you can achieve a higher success rate
  • If your dog gets it right 2 times of less, drop back to the previous step

Using this method will allow you not only to quantify your success but to move through the training steps more quickly.

STEP 1

Dogs too are left or right ‘handed’. Decide whether you’re going to do a clockwise twist or an anti clockwise spin.  Try the first step to see which way your dog finds easiest.

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog when he’s a quarter of the way through the full circle.

  • Hold a treat slightly to the left of  the dog’s nose if you’re going clockwise, or slightly to the right of you’re going anti clockwise
  • Move your hand slowly in a circle around your dog, your dog’s nose should follow the treat
  • As soon as the dog’s nose is 90° around the circle
  • Mark (‘yesss!’) 
  • Reward
  • Repeat 5 times

STEP 2

If your dog is reliably turning 90° 80% of the time, you can increase the arc.

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog when he’s half way through the full circle.

  • Hold a treat slightly to the left of  the dog’s nose if you’re going clockwise, or slightly to the right of you’re going anti clockwise
  • Move your hand slowly in a circle around your dog, your dog’s nose should follow the treat
  • As soon as the dog’s nose is 180° around
  • Mark (‘yesss!’) 
  • Reward
  • Repeat 5 times

STEP 3

If your dog is reliably turning 180° 80% of the time, you can increase the arc.

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog when he’s three quarters of the way through the full circle.

  • Hold a treat slightly to the left of  the dog’s nose if you’re going clockwise, or slightly to the right of you’re going anti clockwise
  • Move your hand slowly in a circle around your dog, your dog’s nose should follow the treat
  • As soon as the dog’s nose is 270° around
  • Mark (‘yesss!’) 
  • Reward
  • Repeat 5 times

STEP 4

If your dog is reliably turning 270° 80% of the time, you can increase the arc to the full circle.

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog when he’s back in front you after having done the twist.

  • Hold a treat slightly to the left of  the dog’s nose if you’re going clockwise, or slightly to the right of you’re going anti clockwise
  • Move your hand slowly in a circle around your dog, your dog’s nose should follow the treat
  • As soon as the dog’s nose back in front of you
  • Mark (‘yesss!’) 
  • Reward
  • Repeat 5 times

STEP 5

If your dog is reliably turning a full circle 80% of the time, you can strengthen the full circle.

Criteria

You will mark (‘yesss!’) your dog when he’s back in front you after having done the twist, but reward him at the 90° mark to ensure that his body is going right the way round and not stopping short of the full circle.

  • Hold a treat slightly to the left of  the dog’s nose if you’re going clockwise, or slightly to the right of you’re going anti clockwise
  • Move your hand slowly in a circle around your dog, your dog’s nose should follow the treat
  • As soon as the dog’s nose back in front of you
  • Mark (‘yesss!’) 
  • Move your hand a further 90°
  • Reward
  • Repeat 5 times

HELP

  • Dogs understand hand signals better than verbal commands so we don’t use a verbal command until the dog is reliably spinning using a hand signal
  • If your dog is not following your hand you’re probably moving the treat too quickly
  • Small dogs can generally move straight to step 4
  • Ensure that you give your dog lots of praise when giving him the treat.

HOMEWORK

  • Ask each member of the family to do these exercises with your dog (you can use your dog’s kibble and add treats intermittently).
  • Vary the locations where you do these exercises; different rooms in the house, in the garden, when you’re out for a walk.
  • Encourage speed.
  • Ask for multiple twists before rewarding.

MORE READING

We’re using ‘lure-reward’ training and ‘shaping’ to put a behaviour on cue.