Teaching your dog to spin is a fun and engaging skill. It’s also a trick that can be taught in a few sessions and then built on and improved over time. You can teach your dog how to spin left, right, or both and how to do it on cue (treat free) following these simple steps.
How to train your dog to spin
- Get your dog into a standing position or ask them to stand if it’s a cue they recognise.
- Hold a treat in your hand just above your dog’s nose and begin slowly moving your hand in a large circle from their nose towards their tail with the treat in front of them.
- As your dog’s nose follows your hand, they should naturally be guided into a spin in order to keep track of the treat. Remember; go slowly so that neither of you get too dizzy.
- Once your dog has completed the full circle following the treat, release it with a cue such as “good”.
- Repeat steps 1-4 a few times, always giving your dog a treat once they have completed the circle. Practice going in both directions to get them used to their lefts and their rights.
- When your dog has the hang of the action introduce a word such as “spin” or “dance”. Use this each time your dog is completing the spin.
- After you’ve practiced this lots of times, remove the treat and use the hand motion and cue word to ask your dog for a spin. Once they can spin on cue, pick up a treat and reward them.
Teaching your dog to spin left and right
Once your dog has mastered the simple spin, you can begin teaching them the next level; how to spin left and right. Here’s how:
- Begin with a treat in front of your dog’s nose again.
- This time, rather than using the cue “spin” try saying “right spin” or “left spin”. Give the command then lead your dog around in the direction you want them to spin in, using the treat to entice them round.
- Practice doing this on both sides, multiple times, until your dog gets the hang of going in both directions.
- As your dog’s spinning improves, try to guide them just with the cue and hand motion, rewarding them with the treat only at the end and when they choose the right direction.
Troubleshooting tips for teaching your dog to spin
Take your time
Spinning can be difficult to get used to. Take your time in building up the command and do short bursts of training each day, rather than hours of practice.
Teach your dog the shape of a circle
Some dogs will struggle with the art of the perfect circle. Use your treat to guide their nose, so they turn in the right direction. As soon as they start off well, give them the treat. Don’t go for a full circle straight away. Start small and build up to spinning all the way around. This will help shape the perfect circle and allow them to fully understand what you want them to do. As they get the hang of the shape, reduce the treats to one treat at the end.
Start small and build up
If your dog is struggling to learn how to spin, go back to basics again and build up slowly. As we’ve mentioned, this is not a super easy skill and is one which will take time to perfect.