You can tell your dog is trying as hard as she can to hold in her excitement. She is absolutely quivering with the desire to jump all over you, the furniture, and anyone else in the room. Maybe you’ve just come home after being gone for a few hours, maybe you have guests over, maybe it’s just morning-- whatever the case, your dog is just too excited, and she isn’t always successful at containing herself. Teaching your dog the twist is a great way to allow her to release some of that energy, while still staying focused on you. It is also a good foundation for other physical tricks. Since most dogs like to twist, it can be a good way to keep your dog focused and engaged in training sessions when teaching less exciting behaviors like 'down' and 'stay'.
The twist is an easy trick to teach, and most dogs have fun learning and doing it and catch on quickly. Young pups up to gray-faced old timers can learn this trick in a few hours or less. If you have a quick student on your hands, teach her to twist both left and right, to create the basis for a fun attention-keeping game. Using both hand signals and voice commands makes learning easier for older or less competent students.
With only a few hours' investment, the twist will become a trick you return to time and time again to center your dog and have fun. Who knows, maybe it will even inspire a dance routine with your dog!
You will need plenty of small training treats, some very tempting and smelly, and some less enticing and healthier, because you will use a lot of them. You can even use your dog’s kibble if he is fond of it. You can also use a favorite toy to lead instead of a treat. You may find it useful to use a leash to help lead your dog through the turn, but most dogs respond better to treats alone. You will need a stick or rope to utilize the 'Catch the Toy' method.
Choose a place free of distractions, with enough room for your dog to turn in circles without bumping into anything. Take into account that your dog may be very excited and clumsy as she tries to figure out what you want, so give yourselves plenty of room. Bring a good mood and plenty of time and flexibility to work with your dog. Always remember that she wants to learn and is trying as hard as she can.