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Training your dog to spin around is just one of those fun tricks he gets to do after he has been through basic obedience commands. Spinning in one direction and then having him spin in the other direction is often called 'dancing' for dogs. Whether he goes in one direction or two, when your dog stands up on his hind legs and spins around, heads will turn as well because you will have one smart and well-trained dog.
Imagine taking your dog out around your neighborhood and having him spin for neighbors. He will be the talk of the neighborhood -- your intelligent and cute dog who knows all the cool tricks. There are more benefits to teaching your dog to spin around besides all the great attention he will get. Teaching your dog to stand up on his hind legs and spin will actually strengthen his hind legs, give him some great exercise, and boost his confidence.
To train your dog to spin around while standing on two feet, you're going to have to have a dog who is used to standing on his hind legs. If your dog is not used to standing on his hind legs or does not have the strength, teach him to stand first, strengthening the legs for a little while before you actually begin training your dog to spin around. If you choose to have your dog spin around on all fours, you can start right away. However, if you expect your dog to be on his hind legs, strengthen his back legs for a week or two before you teach him to spin. Small dogs are pretty easy to train to spin around, however, you can train a large dog as well, especially if he's staying on all fours.
This is fun and easy trick to spin around will require some dedication and repetition. Be sure to bring lots of treats to your training sessions. Training in areas that are distraction-free will make it easier for your dog to focus and pay attention to you. If you need to do some strength training to get your dog up on his hind legs before training him how to spin around, just raise up him by enticing him with a treat to strengthen those back leg muscles every so often for about two weeks before you teach him to spin.
The Lure Method
Gather lots of little treats to encourage your dog to spin. Make a decision on which direction you would like your dog to spin and whether or not you want him to be able to turn around and spin in the opposite direction. You may want to work on one direction at a time before switching directions.
Start with a treat
Start your training off with a treat. If your dog knows basic obedience commands, which he should before he learns all the fun cool tricks, have him 'sit' to earn the treat.
Use a second treat to draw a circle from your dog's nose to you and then around back to your dog's nose. You may need to draw this circle in the air in front of your dog several times before he begins to chase it.
If you want your dog to just spin in a circle on four paws, keep your lure lowered and continue to draw a slow circle. If your dog is not moving toward you to get the treat, move your circle over your dog. Start to draw the circle again from your dog's nose out towards the back end of his body, getting him to move his body in a circle following your treat lure.
If your goal is to have your dog up on his hind legs and spinning in a circle, then get him to stand up on his hind legs before drawing your circle. Raise a treat up over his nose and then raise it higher once you have his attention, to get him to stand up on his hind legs. If he needs to practice this to strengthen his hind legs, practice for a couple of weeks before moving on.
Whether your dog is staying on all fours or spinning in a circle on his hind legs, once he completes a full circle, give him the treat.
Keep practicing drawing this circle with a treat lure to get your dog to spin. This may take a few weeks of practice before you can remove the lure and just offer the treat once your dog has done the trick.
Once your dog is used to following the treat lure into a circle, whether on his hind legs or on all fours and earning the treat, take the treat out of your hand and just use your fingertip to draw the same circle you have been practicing with your dog.
Over time as your dog practices spinning around, you should be able to just do a small hand signal, drawing a small circle in front of your dog instead of a large circle, to get him to understand this is his cue to perform the new trick he's learned to spin around.
Be sure to reward your dog every time he completes the circle whether you are using a lure or just a hand signal. And keep practicing. Impress friends and neighbors and let them give your dog a treat for being such a cute little Trickster.
The Two Directions Method
Take a treat and place it very close to your dog's nose. Let him sniff it but do not let him eat it.
Move your hand with the treat in it in one direction, drawing a small circle over your dog's head.
Your dog should look up and follow the circle you were drawing in the air over his head with keen interest. Once he is showing interest in the circle you are drawing, go around again in another circle, only make it wider. You want this circle to be wide enough for him to move his body in a circular spinning motion.
By the third time you are drawing a circle over your dog's body in a wider fashion your dog should be moving with you to get to the treat. Once he completes a full circle with his body, give him the treat.
Once your dog has practiced the first direction and understands the trick of spinning every time you draw the circle over his head using a treat, switch directions. Repeat the steps above only go in the opposite direction.
Practice circles going in both directions while keeping your dog on his toes, so to speak. You will want him to know he is switching directions so have him move in one direction and then another, spinning in place.
You can also take these steps with your dog on his hind legs if you have a smaller breed who likes to be in a begging position up on his hind legs. Your dog can spin around on all fours or on 2 legs. The methods are the same just be sure to entice your dog to be up on his hind legs before you start drawing circles over his head for him to follow.
Be sure you are offering your dog lots of tasty treats as he completes his circles. Treats will keep him motivated and reward him for a job well done.
The Beg Position Method
Show your dog a high-value treat and close your hand around it so your dog can’t get to it. This will entice him to follow your hand to get to the hidden treat.
Lift your hand with the hidden treat up above your dog’s head slowly. This should cause your pup to lift his chin and follow the treat. Once he lifts his chin, give him the treat.
With another treat, repeat the steps above. Only this time, life the treat higher, encouraging your dog to lift up on his hind legs. Once he’s up on his hind legs, even if not stretched entirely up, give him the treat. Keep repeating until your dog can stand firmly on his hind legs before going to the next step.
Once your dog is standing tall on his hind legs, use another treat to get him to take a step forward and then into a circle.
Use more treats to lift him up on his hind legs and encourage him to spin in a circle while on his hind legs. Keep practicing until you no longer need a treat to get him to stand up and move in a circle. With practice, you should be able to use your finger to signal your dog to spin around.
Be sure to treat your dog as he trains and learns to spin around and once he completes the trick.
If you have a larger dog, you may need to keep him on all four paws to spin. To do this with your dog, follow the steps above except skip the first few steps lifting the dog to his hind legs.
By Stephanie Plummer
Published: 01/10/2018, edited: 01/08/2021
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