When teaching the spin command to a dog, first you should teach him to turn left and right on your command. The treats come in handy in these kinds of training sessions. The dog will have to turn his mouth to get the treats on either side.
As he starts to turn, you can further move the treats in your hand towards yourself so as to complete his semi-circle. With practice and a lot of training sessions, it is very easy to teach the spin command to a dog.
Today we’re going to be teaching your dog a really fun trick, and that is the difference between left and right.
It’s really important when we’re training together that we work hard to enrich our dog’s life, and one of the ways that we can do that is by trick training.
Trick training is really fun because there’s no consequence, and it’s trained with purely positive methods. It’s a great way to build a bond and relationship with your dog.
Start With the Spin Command
So we’re going to start off by step number one, teaching your dog to spin left or right. I have a smaller dog, so I can do this from my knees. If you have a larger dog, you may consider standing up to try this.
I keep a few pieces of food in my hand, and I start off by making sure she’s in a standing position. I keep my hand level with her nose so that as I turn my hand, she’s likely to follow it around in a circle rather than sitting. In the initial days, I just start off by moving my hand really slowly.
And I don’t need to say any commands at this point because she doesn’t know what she’s doing. When you begin, your puppy probably won’t know what it means quite yet, so there’s no point in saying a command.
As she finishes the turn, I would say yes, good girl, and I shall reward her. You’re just going to repeat this process until your dog starts to turn more easily each time you practice.
Start Using the Command
Once your dog can turn very easily with the food, you can start to put it on a command. You can be as creative as you want with the command, but one of the things that I think is really cute is teaching them left and right.
I also do a lot of agility training, and I find the left and right command very handy for when I’m on course with my dogs as well.
So what I would do is make sure I know the difference between my lefts and rights, which is a challenge for me sometimes. I put the food on her nose, tell her left. And then rotate my hand anti-clockwise so that she would follow my hand (actually the food) and would turn that direction.
Remember good timing. You need to say the command followed one second later by the lure with the food. I actually love that she would actually move and try to do something in order to get the reward. She would also be creative at times, so I want to encourage those behaviors.
Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Sometimes I would so happen that she will not listen to me or won’t follow me. This is normal during as its still a practice session. I’m not going to get upset with her about it. As you’re practicing, there are a few common mistakes that sometimes show up.
- One of them is that often handlers try to move their hand too quickly
- Spin them around with the food too fast
- Sometimes the dogs lose focus really easily, and then they aren’t able to spin all the way around.
So make sure when you’re practicing, you first start to move your hand incredibly slow. Slow enough that your dog can easily follow the food around in a circle continuously. As they start to get better, you certainly can make your hand move faster and faster.
The second thing that I often see is people hold their hand a little bit too high. So they go to spin their dog, and because the hand’s too high, the dogs end up being stuck in a sit.
Now it’s hard to spin your dog. I know, it’s difficult, when they’re in a sitting position, so if I just lower my hand at her head level, and then I try to turn her. I’m much less likely to get a sit. Hopefully, you’ll find that helpful.
Remove Treats From Signal Hand
This process starts off by having a whole bunch of food hidden in my other hand (non-signal hand). So what I would do is to try a couple of spins just like before but without any food in my signal hand. If she’s able to turn on my command and hand signal, I have food ready on the other hand to jackpot reward her, bonus reward her.
I can reward her once she’s responded to my command. This process of training may take you a few minutes, it may take you a few weeks, it may take you a few months.
It really just depends on your dog’s willingness to learn or how much shaping and training you’ve done with your dog previous to this point.
Training on Verbal Command Without Treats
If things are going along well, you’ll see that your dog’s even starting to beat you to the punch a little bit. When you start to say left or right and your dog already starts to go in that direction. Then your dog’s probably telling you that he’s ready to learn this only on a verbal command.
It’s a great thing to train your dogs on command without any treats and force.
So what I do at that time is I have my food ready, I tell her left or right, and I also slightly encourage her with my hand. I keep my hands quiet, and if she’s able to do it just on my word alone, I generously reward her.
I reward her for the things that she does correctly and just ignore the things that she does incorrectly.