By Szashe, Owner of Treat2Treat
To teach a reliable “Twirl,” you will need the following:
- An area with little to no distractions.
- Handful of treats or your dog’s kibble.
- Clicker or a word to mark good behavior (ie: Yes, Thank You, Good Boy/Girl)
- Hand cue for “Twirl” (a finger pointed at your dog and moving in a counter-clockwise direction around your body)
Start with your dog facing you. Keep your dog directly in front of you when starting your training.
Place a treat between your thumb, index and middle finger.
Take the treat to your dog’s nose and start to lure him/her counter-clockwise around your body. Note: You may have to transition the treat to your other hand mid-twirl. Be sure to move your body and legs; it makes the movements more fluid.
When your dog completes the twirl, and returns back to facing you, click and treat. If your dog won’t do an entire twirl, click and treat as far as they will twirl around you. You can use two training techniques: luring and shaping . Shaping is breaking down a cue into multiple steps. As your dog begins to see what you want him/her to do, they will complete the twirl.
Start making your hand cue a little less exaggerated, where it is not turning the entire circumference of your body. The hand cue will eventually be a short half turn of your index finger.
When your dog is responding 100% of the time with the hand cue, start adding the verbal cue, “Twirl.” Note: Only say the cue once. Your dog should listen to you the first time you ask for a cue. Practice steps at least 100 times to teach your dog a reliable “Twirl.” Once your dog is responding consistently, you can fade out treats.