Sunday, August 26, 2012

Trick Training - The Leg Weave

More than anything, I love training my dogs to do tricks. It cements our bond as we engage in a positive & fun activity together. Here is one trick my dogs find particularly fun: Leg Weaving!

You don't need to be involved in agility or have a set of weave poles in order for your dog to strut some fancy moves. How about training your dog to weave in and out of your legs?

Here is Poppy demonstrating:

Here she is again in slo-mo:

And Ollie strutting his stuff:

This isn't a hard trick to train - I train this one completely by luring and working step-by-step over several days time. I've been working on teaching this trick to Hokey for a few days now.

The first step is to have your dog sit & stay in heel position. Hold a treat in the hand on the opposite side from your dog. Step forward on the leg opposite your dog and stand still. Release your dog and, using the hand with the treat, lure them between your two legs. Make sure they end up next to the forward leg. The dog should be pointing forward as if it was going to move on ahead. This is where you want your "reward zone" to be - i.e. the place where you give the treat- do not reward for any other position. Here is Hokey demonstrating this first step:

The next step would be to take another step so that the dog is being rewarded for going in between your legs twice before it gets the reward. Again, make sure your dog is next to the forward leg and oriented so that it is pointing forward before giving the reward. Here is Hokey demonstrating this 2nd step:

As your dog begins to understand the game and is consistently moving into the correct position, you can add steps. Here is Hokey starting to put it all together. I am still luring her with my hands and she is hesitating between each step. As we continue forward in her training, the movement will smooth out and I will be able to fade the luring hands.

As your dog gets more experienced and smoother at this, you can add a turn. Here is Poppy demonstrating what this looks like.

And Ollie demonstrating the leg weave with turn:

And for the lazy trainer - how about just standing still and letting your dog do all the work? Here is Poppy demonstrating a figure-8 leg weave while I stand still.


  1. Hi!
    Got your page from the 'baggage agility' forum! I am just starting to teach weave poles to my tiny rescue, Pico. Has this trick either helped or hurt your weave pole performance or do the dogs seem able to separate the two? Thanks.

    1. They are completely different behaviors in different context. The dogs don't really see them as the same thing.