It is always great to keep training interesting by teaching your dogs new things. The leg weave is a fun trick where your dog weaves through your legs in a figure 8 pattern. In this video tip, we will show you had to shape this behaviour with positive training methods. The leg weave is one of the many tricks we cover in our Trick Dog class at TNT and it counts towards a Do More With Your Dog Intermediate Title.
When your dog has finished training the trick you will be able to give him the cue “Weave”, and have him weave through your legs in a figure eight pattern for several steps without food.
Starting the Leg Weave Trick (Figure 8)
We are going to start by luring the dog through the behaviour with a treat. We want him to get used to and have success and reward at this exercise before we add a cue word or ask too much of him.
Have a number of small treats in both hands and the dog on the left side.
Step forward with your right foot and lower your hand under your leg the treat is to go through your legs. Tell your dog to “get it”.
Use your hand with the treat to lure your dog all the way through your legs. Once he is through, mark the behaviour by saying “yes” and let him have one of the treats. The treats remaining in that hand should be enough to hold him there for a sec while you get ready to repeat on the other side.
Then step forward with your other leg and use the treat in your other hand to lure him through the other way.
repeat several times.
Building on the Leg Weave Exercise
Once your dog really starts to understand the leg weave we are going to gradually fade the luring behaviour, add the cue word “Weave’ and start chaining steps together.
In this stage start by positioning your hand with the treat less close to the dog’s nose, say 6 inches further away. Work at this level for a few iterations till you are sure your dog is still understanding what you want. Remember to mark and reward.
You can start adding the cue word “Weave”, make the same motion with your hand and step forward. Mark the behaviour and reward your dog.
Then after a few more repetitions, start asking for two steps before you reward(this is called chaining behaviours and is one of the ways we fade out the food), you can say “good” (don’t use your marker word because that always means food ). After the second step mark the behaviour and reward your dog with a treat.
Build up the number of steps gradually and make the number of steps somewhat random. For example, do one leg weave, then two leg weaves, then four, then back to one and then three. Mix it up to keep it interesting! We always want to set it up so that our dog succeeds: if he struggles when you do too many, drop back and do fewer steps for a bit.
Janice Gunn is an internationally known dog trainer, top dog-sport competitor, and in-demand obedience seminar presenter.
She belongs to an elite group of trainers who have earned the very prestigious perfect score in competitive obedience. Janice has earned perfect scores at all levels of competition and with 9 different dogs!
Janice’s training articles have been featured in DogSport and Front and Finish Magazines and is the author of several successful video training courses for obedience competitors.