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Teaching the spin


ejano
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I taught Taj to spin by luring him with a treat in a circle a couple of times, with my index finger pointing down and making a circle. After a couple of goes, I'd said 'spin' and the finger circle and didn't treat until he did the spin. Easy peasy. An index finger circle with my finger horizontal to the ground is 'rollover'. Not so sure about the wiping feet bit though;)

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I teach spins - in both directions - through luring.

 

I start with a treat in hand and lure the dog around. After doing that a few times a day for several days, I switch to a "fake" lure and immediately treat with the other hand once the dog is around. I do use a clicker to mark the movement, but that's optional.

 

Nice thing about the spin is that the lure fades nicely into a hand signal. If you are just doing this for at home purposes, you can get to the hand signal point pretty quickly. For competition my dogs have to do it on verbal only. That takes a bit more doing, especially since the dog needs to know which direction is which. But that's neither here nor there.

 

Once the dog is following the "fake" lure, I change that to an open palm, but still lure with that. I fade the motion to a small wave in the direction that I want the dog to spin when the dog is ready.

 

If your dog will follow a target stick, you can do the same thing using the target stick.

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I lured it as well and used a clicker. That one was pretty easy.

 

She goes in both directions and since we don't do anything other than hang out, learn tricks and do casual obedience, I just called them "left" and "right". If you are going to do activities where your dogs actually need to know left and right by those words, then I wouldn't use them.

 

I found "back-up" to be useful this summer when silly Daisy decided to go explore behind our new shed. There was just enough room between the shed and the fence for her to fit, so when she got to the end, she couldn't turn around. We had literally just put up the shed and I wasn't about to ask my uncle to dismantle it so I could get my dog out! So with some positive (no panic here! haha!) back-up commands, she made it out!

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Since two people have already said lure, I'll add in free-shaping if you and your dog are clicker-savvy. It's pretty easy to get a spin in either or both directions; just start with any head movement and go from there. Helps to place the reward at the dog's nose while the dog's head is turned away.

 

It's also not too hard to free-shape a dog wiping his feet if you're so inclined. I taught that to one of mine with shoulder/front end issues to help with that, although I call it "dig" and she only does it with her front feet (mimics digging motion on any surface).

 

Have fun!

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Since two people have already said lure, I'll add in free-shaping if you and your dog are clicker-savvy. It's pretty easy to get a spin in either or both directions; just start with any head movement and go from there.

 

That's the way I do it - no lure used.

I've never needed to use a hand signal since they go straight from the behaviour without prompting to a verbal cue.

I would have to disagree with MsDaisyDuke in that Right and Left spin easily translate to Right and Left in agility, or anywhere else. It makes sense to use the same cue since dogs are very good at understanding context.

If I tell my dogs Right and there are no other clues as to what comes after that they will spin in a circle.

On the agility course if I say Right they will turn right and take the jump they see in front.

And I have variations where the directional cue is followed by another such as Right - Reverse which I use when the dog is facing me and I want it to turn in one direction and reverse through my legs.

Directional cues are just one of the basic building blocks of training. There are very few things a dog needs to be taught to be able to perform quite complex behaviours - just teach the right basics and then put them together in different combinations. Looks clever but isn't really.

 

Pam

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Since two people have already said lure, I'll add in free-shaping if you and your dog are clicker-savvy. It's pretty easy to get a spin in either or both directions; just start with any head movement and go from there. Helps to place the reward at the dog's nose while the dog's head is turned away.

 

LOL!! I tried this with Speedy back in my "lures don't allow the dog to think" days!! I ended up shaping a really cute head flip that never made it any further. He still throws that head flip at me when we are free shaping.

 

Using the reward to encourage the proper movement might have helped, but I really hadn't developed that skill at the time.

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LOL!! I tried this with Speedy back in my "lures don't allow the dog to think" days!! I ended up shaping a really cute head flip that never made it any further. He still throws that head flip at me when we are free shaping.

 

Using the reward to encourage the proper movement might have helped, but I really hadn't developed that skill at the time.

 

My first attempt with my JRT resulted in a spin OK - but on his hind legs.

Had to retrain to a different cue and now we have feet on the ground - more or less - but that's Jacks for you!

 

Pam

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My first attempt with my JRT resulted in a spin OK - but on his hind legs.

Had to retrain to a different cue and now we have feet on the ground - more or less - but that's Jacks for you!

 

Pam

 

LOL!! Creative!!

 

That's both the blessing and curse of shaping. On one hand, you sometimes end up with something completely different from what you were going for. But, you can always retrain and you can end up with some cool moves that you didn't even try to teach!

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You could always capture a spin... but if you have a dog that spins enough to capture it then it's probably not a behavior you want to encourage. So... nevermind. I have one dog I taught to spin by a combo of luring and shaping. She was a complete and utter nutter, and would just THROW herself around - very cute.

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You could always capture a spin... but if you have a dog that spins enough to capture it then it's probably not a behavior you want to encourage. So... nevermind.

I've wondered if I could extinguish Phoebe's spin by putting a name to it and then just not asking for a spin, but I really think hers is related to other issues and not just obsessive.

 

J.

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My first attempt with my JRT resulted in a spin OK - but on his hind legs.

Had to retrain to a different cue and now we have feet on the ground - more or less - but that's Jacks for you!

 

Pam

 

Both my paps spins translated into leap really really high in the air and turn while in the air. That's paps for you though.... I've been trying to work on a spin with all feet on the ground.

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I've wondered if I could extinguish Phoebe's spin by putting a name to it and then just not asking for a spin, but I really think hers is related to other issues and not just obsessive.

 

J.

 

Years ago an animal trainer told me to do that when our Lucky girl was a very barky adolescent.. I was to capture the bark, then teach her "No bark" to quiet her. It's a theory, but I must admit, it never worked, but Lucky did grow out of the barking on her own...:rolleyes:.

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I shaped my spin and then later turned it into a left and right command. I personally try to not lure anything, shaping is faster and more accurate. It's hard with a dog that has never shaped before but once they go it, it's easy. I just stand and wait and when they look the way i want them to go i click and feed where they looked which will cause them to turn their head a bit. Reward a couple of times then wait for a hole head turn.....work on it till they are turning the whole way round. Then add the cue! To teach left and right i got them tugging and would flip them around with the tug repeating left and right whichever way i flipped them. Then i would get them to quickly drop the toy and flick it to whatever direction repeating left or right, fade the toy as it is a lure until they can do as many left or right spins in whatever order. Although that method requires a good tugging dog and a dog that will "spit out" the toy quickly.

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If a dog already does the behavior, putting it on cue and just not asking for that cue isn't going to work. However, teaching a stop behavior to whatever is useful.

I know that. Unfortunately, teaching a stop behavior doesn't necessarily work unless the dog offers the undesirable behavior only in your presence. If it's a self-reinforcing behavior that the dog performs outside of your presence, then correcting it when you see it isn't going to stop/cure the problem, IME.

 

J.

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Teaching a "dig" command reminds me of something I saw once about teaching the same motion/behavior on a sandpaper-covered board - to trim nails! Not sure how well it would work for back feet though.....and no, I never did teach it. Dang it all!

diane

 

hmm not sure that would work w/o sanding their pads off too. When Zoe does her "dig" she uses the whole bottom of her foot. To dig with enough force & repetition to sand down her nails would likely be uncomfortable.

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hmm not sure that would work w/o sanding their pads off too. When Zoe does her "dig" she uses the whole bottom of her foot. To dig with enough force & repetition to sand down her nails would likely be uncomfortable.

 

I'm not sure about using "dig" to teach that, but for some dogs, learning to scrape just their nails against a rough surface is possible.

 

I've been working with my oldest dog, Sammie, with a shaping exercise to teach him to put his feet on a board. One of the behaviors that he offers frequently is a "scratch" on the board. When he does that, it is his nails that he scratches, not his paw pads.

 

I've thought about trying the sandpaper thing with him and just might this winter.

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Kristine,

Let us know how it works out. I have one who scratches on surfaces and so could possibly be taught to sand his nails. The dogs I have who have something of a dig command ("get the mice") do dig with the whole paw. But if you can teach Sammie to do it right, then I might try to teach Pip (of course this is the dog who took years to learn to shake, so who knows? lol!)

 

J.

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Kristine,

Let us know how it works out. I have one who scratches on surfaces and so could possibly be taught to sand his nails. The dogs I have who have something of a dig command ("get the mice") do dig with the whole paw. But if you can teach Sammie to do it right, then I might try to teach Pip (of course this is the dog who took years to learn to shake, so who knows? lol!)

 

J.

 

I will let you know. I just have to get around to putting some sandpaper on some wood. The board we are working with now has a rough painted surface, and I can start teaching him on that, but at some point I'll need to put together the actual sand paper board.

 

If I actually get on the ball and do that, we'll be set to try it out.

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