How to Teach Your Dog to Spin

“Spin” is an easy trick to teach your dog – and a fun one to show off!


There are long lists of fantastic fun tricks you can teach your dog – and “Spin” is one of my all-time favorites. “Spin” simply asks your dog to turn in a 360-degree circle – easy-peasey to teach, and fun to show off!

  1. To start, ask your dog to stand in front of you, facing you. If she keeps sitting, back up and invite her to move forward toward you as you begin to lure the spin.
  2. Have a treat in your right hand and put it at the end of her nose. Lure her to your right (her left) by moving the treat in an arc toward her tail.
  3. Move the treat in a 45- to 90-degree arc. If she follows the lure, moving her feet in the beginning of a spin, mark (using the “click” of a clicker or a verbal marker, such as the word “Yes!”) and give her a treat. If your dog follows the lure easily, go the full 90 degrees. If she’s a little hesitant, start with 45 degrees (or less!).
  4. Gradually increase the arc, marking and treating generously, until she’s doing a full 360-degree turn with a mark and treat at the end.

Add the “Spin” Cue

Fade the use of a food lure as quickly as you can, and gradually make the gesture you use as a cue smaller and smaller, until she will spin or twirl on just the verbal cue or with a tiny hand or finger gesture. Photo by Nancy Kerns

When your dog does the full circle easily every time, add your cue. I use “Spin” for a right turn (counterclockwise), and “Twirl” for a left turn (clockwise). Be consistent! Of course, you can use whatever cues you want. I also like “Twist” and “Shout,” and “Donut” and “Cheerio.” Start saying your cue just before you lure her. Gradually minimize the hand motion and eventually fade the lure completely, until she’ll spin on just the verbal cue or with a tiny hand or finger signal. (For information on how to fade the use of a food lure, click here.) For “Twirl,” do the same thing – only start with the treat in your left hand and turn her the opposite direction.

Now go show off to your friends and family!

Previous articleWhen Do a Dog’s Baby Teeth Fall Out?
Next articleAre There Home Remedies for Mange?
Pat Miller, CBCC-KA, CPDT-KA, grew up in a family that was blessed with lots of animal companions: dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, goats, and more, and has maintained that model ever since. She spent the first 20 years of her professional life working at the Marin Humane Society in Marin County, California, for most of that time as a humane officer and director of operations. She continually studied the art and science of dog training and behavior during that time, and in 1996, left MHS to start her own training and behavior business, Peaceable Paws. Pat has earned a number of titles from various training organizations, including Certified Behavior Consultant Canine-Knowledge Assessed (CBCC-KA) and Certified Professional Dog Trainer - Knowledge Assessed (CPDT-KA). She also founded Peaceable Paws Academies for teaching and credentialing dog training and behavior professionals, who can earn "Pat Miller Certified Trainer" certifications. She and her husband Paul and an ever-changing number of dogs, horses, and other animal companions live on their 80-acre farm in Fairplay, Maryland.