Teaching Leg Weaves
Any shape or size of dog can be taught to weave in and out of your legs as you walk. It is a fun trick that is sure to stretch your dog mentally and to improve his physical flexibility!
- Stand with your dog in front of you with a treat in your right hand.
- Lean to your right and step to your side so that your right leg is slightly bent. The gap between your legs should be big enough for your dog to fit through comfortably.
- Drop your right hand behind you so that your dog can see the treat. Let him come under your leg to sniff it.
- Bring your hand round the back and to the front. Your dog should follow the treat and end up where he started. Praise your dog and treat.
- Remember to keep your hand and treat close to your leg – otherwise your dog’s circles will be big and loose.
- Practise a few more times on the right and, when your dog can do this with ease, lean to the left and try it on the that side.
Figure of Eight
- Begin by standing with your legs apart and a couple of treats in each hand. Your dog should be facing you.
- Bend your right knee and dip your right hand behind that leg to lure your dog through the gap and back to your right side.
- Now sway to the other side, using the other hand to lure him through and reward.
- Your target hand is always back by your bum.
- Reward close to your leg by your trouser seam.
- Remember to fade the lure as quickly as possible. The dog should shoot through your legs and to your side in anticipation of another leg weave.
- Work up a predictable rhythm as your dog begins to work in and out of your legs.
- Vary your rewards – sometime after each weave and sometimes several, sometimes the right side and sometimes the left.
- When your dog is accelerating into each weave it is time to think of a command. I say “weave” but the real cue for my dog is my leg bend. He can’t help but aim for the gap!
- Instead of swaying from side to side, take a step forward. You can use a favourite treat or toy to encourage your dog forward.
- Advance another step and then another. You can play or treat your dog after each step or pair of steps. Keep him guessing and always treat or play by your leg.
- Gradually add more steps till you are happily travelling from A to B!
- Stand up straight!
You can practice the Basic Circle and Figure of Eight while you are sat in a chair. It will be easier to keep your balance and stop you leaning over too much. Just make sure you are sat on the edge of the chair and your legs are bent through your knees at about 90 degrees. When you are practicing Walking Weaves, adjust your stride to suit your dog. You don’t want to step on him, but you don’t want to lose him!
About the Author: Lauren Langman is responsible for the design and development of all Devon Dogs classes, events and workshops. She competes in Agility at Grade 7, the highest rank of competition in the British agility arena. She regularly competes and wins at top agility events in the UK including Crufts and Olympia, and has represented the UK at World Agility Championship level on many occasions.