Trick Training: Teaching the Leg Weave

Behavior & training
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When you start teaching your dog some tricks, you’ll find that teaching your dog one trick often leads to another one. For example, teaching your dog peek-a-boo can help you teach the leg weave, which in turn can help you teach additional tricks. It’s great fun and with multiple tricks, you’ll look like an awesome dog trainer, and your dog will look like the smartest dog in the world.

Teaching Steps for Leg Weave

The goal of leg weave is to teach your dog to weave through your legs in a figure eight pattern. She will begin and finish in front of you.

To begin teaching this:

  • Have some treats in your right hand. Your dog should be in front of you and facing you.

  • Stand with your legs shoulder width apart.

  • Bend over and reach between your legs from the back with your right hand. Get your dog’s attention with the treat and encourage her to move from front to back between your legs.

  • As she moves between your legs, praise her, “Yeah, good girl! Weave!” Using the treat in your right hand and verbal encouragement, bring her around your right leg from the back to the forward.

  • When she’s in front of you, praise her and make a big fuss over her, “Yeah, smart girl!” Give her a treat. Repeat two or three times or until she’s moving with confidence.

  • At your next training session, have treats in both hands and then repeat the first several steps. When your dog circles your right leg and comes back in front of you, reach between your legs with your left hand and draw her back between your legs.

  • Lead her around your left leg and then back up in front of you. Praise her, “Good weave! Yeah, smart girl!” Give her a treat. Practice a few times and then take a break.

Over several training sessions, work on making the figure eight fluid and smooth – one continuous motion around your legs.

Up until now, you have said the name of the trick as your dog has been moving or praised her for moving. Once your dog is moving well say the name of the trick as you give your dog the first hand signal to move, “Sweetie, weave!” Continue to use the treats, hand signals, and verbal encouragement.

With Practice

After you have practiced the weave and your dog is moving quickly and smoothly through the figure eight pattern, then start decreasing your hand motions. Begin the trick with the verbal cue, “Sweetie, weave!” and let your dog see your hand between your legs. As she’s moving, move your hand out of the way and let her work on her own. If she stalls, cue her with your hand again but move it out of the way once she’s moving.

Your goal is to say the name of the trick but minimize the hand signals. Eventually, the hand signals should disappear as this trick works better without them.

Dogs of All Sizes

This is a fun trick for dogs of all sizes. A friend of mine, who was quite short, taught this trick to her Great Dane. He had to almost belly crawl to fit between her legs, but he did and the trick looked awesome!

Tiny dogs can do it too, and can zip around their owners’ legs in a figure eight pattern. They look like tiny rodeo barrel racers.