A reverse spin is a technique used to tighten your dog’s line when landing a jump (or exiting a tunnel or contact obstacle). There is no side change with a reverse spin. You can create many different types of lines with the reverse spin, depending on the intensity of some of the most critical handling elements.
Before you start teaching the reverse spin, make sure you’ve studied the Handler Mechanics of a Front Cross, and have been sequencing with the Front Cross successfully.
Before teaching the reverse spin to your dog, consider a refresher on keeping commitment, Exercise 4 in particular. Be sure that you have also already taught the front cross to your dog.
Your motion parallels the dog’s intended path before and after the obstacle you are cueing with a reverse spin.
Your position should be one step away from the dog’s intended path, though this technique can be executed with more distance from the dog’s line as well.
Your eyes should first be looking at the dog’s eyes to see commitment to the obstacle, and then as your body rotates, your head should stay on the dog-side shoulder, so that you are looking to the intended line after you complete the turn and see your dog land the jump.
Your chest should be pointing to the intended line of the dog.
Your feet should make 3 main steps: your dog side leg takes a step towards the take-off point of the dog, which commits the dog to the jump, then you push that same leg in the new direction, and then move forward, completing the turn.
Your arm/hand should match your guiding leg.
Your voice can be used to help the dog to commit to an obstacle or slow down to make a tight turn.
The reverse spin is useful in any situation where you’d like to eliminate potential trap obstacles from the dog’s line.
The reverse spin is never a side change.
The reverse spin is completely natural for the dog to follow, so if you learn this skill without the dog first, it is very easy to build his confidence in following your cues.
From the handler’s perspective, there is only one difference between the front cross and the reverse spin: where you are looking. If you can control your head and eyes, then the reverse spin is much easier. When you cue a reverse spin, keep your head on the shoulder of the guiding side throughout the entire turn.
HANDLER MECHANICS: Exercises 9 & 10.
Here is an exercise you can try to practice keeping your head on one shoulder while you move around obstacles:
Because your dog already knows the front cross, once you have practiced your mechanics, you should be able to start applying the reverse spin to obstacles: