Spins in Heel Position for Rally Masters

The more ways we can incorporate fun moves into heeling, the more enjoyment our dogs get out of it! I love teaching the dog to spin in heel! I use the left spin all the time. Admittedly, I'm not nearly as fond of the right spin and only teach that one for the rally master class.

To teach the spin, start with a lure for a few repetitions, then get the treat out of your hand. Next, use your hand as a prompt, turning it into a signal. When your dog is doing well with the hand signal, add the verbal cue. Say the verbal, then give the hand signal, as you want your dog to have time to process the verbal cue. Once the verbal cue and the hand signal have been paired for enough repetitions, the dog will start to connect the two and will offer the spin on the verbal signal.

When you are first teaching these skills, it's best to work one direction at a time. You can also start this in front rather than at your side, if that's easier for you!

In this video, I start with the lure, then go to a hand prompt, then add the verbal cue, all before I put it into heel. Here are a couple more examples of the early learning stages when I start adding it to heel:

Taking Your Spin into the Master Rally Ring

Because I do the Master rally class, my dogs need to spin in both directions. For clarity and comfort, I use different leg placement for the right spin than I do for the left spin. First it helps the dog to know which direction to turn, but second and more importantly, it gets my leg out of the way and keeps my dog from slamming into my leg on the right spin.

When I do the left spin, which I call twirl, I keep my left leg forward. Notice in this video on the first repetition I had my leg back, which felt odd to me! I forgot to switch legs when I switched directions!

On the right spin, which I call spin, my left leg is back. This gives Strive room to start the spin without slamming into my leg. I do have to be a bit careful as I'm moving my left leg forward since she's a big dog, but it's more comfortable for both of us to do it this way.

Need to Customize? That's Okay!! 

You might find that it's better for your dog if you mix this up, and that's fine. The important thing is that you are consistent with your body cues! Play around with your leg placement and see what your dog likes best!

I find twirl (left spin) to be extremely useful in all training. It does a great job encouraging and reinforcing the dog for getting the rear end in. Most dogs really enjoy the spin, and adding a little catching up after the spin can help spice things up! Have fun teaching this useful trick!

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