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Teaching tricks is easy and fun for you and your canine friend!

Try teaching your dog to spin! Most dogs can learn how to spin in a circle and enjoy doing it. It is also a good way to warm up the dog for athletic activities, such as agility or hiking.

If your dog is a senior citizen or has back or other problems, please ask your parents to check with your veterinarian before teaching this trick. (Keep in mind, there are many different ways to train and teach a dog. The following are just suggestions.)

1. Hold a treat in your hand above the dog's head, and move your hand in a large circle to the left about a foot above the dog's head. Make the movement slowly at first so the dog can follow it. If your dog follows your hand around and completes the "spin," give the treat and praise him or her.

2. Some dogs get confused and think you are asking them to sit. If this happens, you are probably holding the treat too close to their nose. Hold the treat higher and make your circle bigger.

3. Once your dog is going in one direction successfully during repeated attempts, name the behavior "spin." Now try getting the dog to circle in the opposite direction, and give it a different name, "twirl." Some dogs move in one direction better than the other. Just like people are right- or left-handed, some dogs are right- or left-pawed.

When training, you may want to choose a soft, yummy treat that your dog can easily swallow. Some dogs prefer toys to treats. In that case, give your dog a favorite toy as the reward instead.

Never do more than three spins or twirls in a row. It is a fun trick, but you don't want to continue until the dog is dizzy or grows tired of the action!