Codi is a shy dog, but Sabine says that teaching the spin and other foundation behaviors has helped Codi become an engaged and focused learner. “Continued encouragement, confidence-building, and finding enjoyable ways for Codi to get in the game have led to many "AHA" moments in Codi's brain,” Sabine says. “Witnessing those moments in a dog's learning process is such a fun and rewarding experience. It is very reinforcing for the trainer!” (Yes, trainers need reinforcement, too!)
To teach this behavior:
- With your dog standing in front of you, hold the target stick about an inch from your dog’s nose. Click and treat (C/T) when your dog touches his/her nose to the target.
- Once your dog is touching the target reliably, move the target just to the left of your dog’s nose. C/T for any movement toward the target stick. Repeat until your dog is touching the target quickly and reliably.
- Move the target stick around to the side of your dog’s body. C/T when your dog follows the target stick around to the side (one quarter of a spin). Continue to practice the quarter spin until you feel that your dog is ready for a half spin.
- Move the target stick behind your dog 180 degrees (half a spin). Once your dog follows the target stick around, s/he will be standing in the opposite direction from where s/he started. You’re now halfway to helping your dog spin!
- Keep moving the target in one-quarter increments until your dog completes a full-circle spin! Once your dog is performing a full spin reliably, you can add the cue “spin.”
For more ideas about providing “AHA” moments for your dog, check out our blogs and the Dog Trainer Foundations course! The new Immersion version of the Dog Trainer Foundations course offers an even more personalized, structured learning experience plus five hours of coaching to help get you to the next step!