Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Trick and Treat Tuesday: give us a twirl love

Well all right it's a bit late sorry, but here is a fun trick we are teaching Mawson. It is a bit of an exciting trick for the pups, so it is great when you want to get them going and still keep the focus on you. Which is really handy when you do some agility, you need to keep them close but rev them up. It would be a bit hard at the start line to be throwing the ball and do some fetch...

But mum, I get dizzy when you ask me to do too many twirls!! How can I eat all the treats if I'm dizzy!?!?

So the idea is to get pup to turn on himself on the spot. As usual, I tend to teach Mawson tricks with food luring, but use what works for you. Some dogs even offer the twirl on their own so you can sometimes just mark and reinforce the natural behaviour and give it a name :).
So arm yourself with patience, your best happiest training voice and happy mood, clicker if you use it and don't forget the rewards!

*drools* hey guys that's the part with the food!!

Get your pup in a sit or stand position in front of you. It doesn't really matters, though the stand might be easier for them to move, which they will do anyway.
Get a treat in your hand and approach your hand in front of expectant starved hungry pup (aren't they always? or is that just Mawson?!?!). With a wide slow-ish arm circle, get pup to turn  around in a 360˚C round back to the initial position, then a big happy yes/click and release the food reward. Remember no cue word or any other signals than just following the lure for now. Repeat the movement a few times every time rewarding. Then slowly try and get the circle you create with your arm smaller and a tad faster, while still luring and rewarding.

Just a point to make, make sure you do this trick training over a few days and do not get pup turning over and over again for a long time. They might indeed get a bit dizzy and put off. Just a few repeats like 5 in a row and then do something else for a bit.

You need to start thinking of what signal cue you want to use in the future for the trick, but do not introduce it yet. I turn my index finger up and in a quick circle as a cue, but you can decide whichever one is best for you.

When pup gets repeatedly good and faster circles, you can start phasing out the lure. First try and put distance between the luring hand and the pup's nose. Little by little, remember to go slowly and always keep the happy yes/click and rewards. If it goes awry, get back a few steps and restart from where it works. Now you can start and think to introduce slowly your hand signal, then try to remove the food reward from the signalling hand entirely, keep the treat in your other hand!

Keep working and reinforcing the twirls, when it gets pretty good without the food luring, start introducing your cue word after the trick at first and move it earlier and earlier throughout the training. And that's it you have a twirling pup!

To do more with twirls, you can get twirls in both directions in front of you (confusing for pup's brain!!), and also getting twirls at different positions around you. A whole lot of fun twirling ahead!!

So now go on give us a twirl, love!
wot you want me to do?!?!

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