Teaching your pet essential skills like how to sit or how to stop a dog from jumping up is a no-brainer. But if you feel like your training has dried up a little and your dog has lost interest or doesn’t respond to you as well as they used to, it might be time you add a little fun to your time training time.
Thankfully, there's a playful solution that can improve communication and deepen your relationship with your dog. By teaching your pup a new trick, you can unlock a world of enjoyment and better understanding between you and your canine companion.
Popular online dog trainer Amelia Steele, affectionately known as Amelia the Dog Trainer, has a fresh approach to dog training. Steele believes that the process of teaching new commands goes beyond their practicality, ”The process of teaching your dog tricks is a great exercise for relationship building and communication,” she notes.
According to Steele, when you establish a strong foundation in these areas, everything else becomes much easier. One particular trick she recommends for both fun and improved connection is how to ‘spin’.
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To get started, Steele suggests beginning with a small piece of food as a lure - either your pooch’s favorite food or using some of the best dog treats. With your dog standing in front of you, slowly guide them around to the side, using the treat as an incentive. As your pup makes progress, Steele advises rewarding them with a positive marker, such as saying "Yes!" when they reach the halfway point of the spin. By timing the marker correctly, you ensure that your dog associates the behavior with the reward and understands what is expected of them.
As your dog becomes more comfortable with the hand signal and the lure, it's time to introduce a verbal cue. Steele recommends saying the word "Spin" just before performing the hand signal. This helps your dog connect the verbal command with the action, reinforcing their understanding of the trick. Remember to maintain an upbeat and encouraging tone throughout the training session to keep the atmosphere positive and enjoyable.
While it's easy to get caught up in the idea of practicality when it comes to dog training, Steele reminds us of the importance of enjoying ourselves and having fun. “When we teach tricks, there’s no pressure to get it right, it makes for an enjoyable activity for both you and your pup,” she explains. By embracing the light-heartedness of trick training, you create a positive environment that deepens your bond and strengthens your relationship.
Of course, teaching a skill like how to spin will be more challenging for some dogs, like if you have a reactive dog on your hands. But there is absolutely no expectation for all owners to nail this trick, there are plenty of other bonding activities you can do like playing with their favorite puppy toys together or trying a 'snifari' to mentally stimulate them.
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Jessica is Staff Writer at PetsRadar who joined the team after spending over a year writing for the brand’s sister site, Fit&Well. She is an avid dog spotter whilst out for her weekly runs and brings to the team a passion for creating informative and helpful digital content, which she has been putting to practice since graduating with a degree in Magazine Journalism in 2021.