Trick Tutorial: Weave & Figure 8

You’re walking, and your dog is weaving in and out through your legs as you go. You stop, and your dog completes a figure 8 through your legs while you stand there. Awesome! This trick looks super cool! You may have seen this move in dog dancing, and you can take your ‘weave’ cue to the agility ring as well, but you don’t need a fancy obstacle course, or music, to make magic with this dog trick!

Sit gets boring, don’t you think?

Teach your dog something fun! You might not see anything particularly useful about parlour tricks like these, but I can write a list of 100 bad things your dog cannot do while he is fully engaged in this trick. Doing something fun together builds your bond, and your dog learns something really important too: they learn to love working for you! Learning to focus on you amid distractions is an amazing side effect of teaching something your dog will love to do. So I’d say that teaching this trick is well worth your while.

Teach ‘Weave’

Begin with treats in both hands. Take a big, lunging step forward. Now, lure your dog from your inner thigh through to your outer thigh by reaching through from the outside. If you’ve taken your first step with your left foot, you’ll begin luring with your left hand. Say ‘yes!’ as they go through, and reward. Always lure from the inside of your leg to the outside, so that your dog doesn’t get confused, and try to enter the weave on the wrong step. Once your dog is weaving easily through your legs, add the cue ‘weave,’ and begin fading your lure. Do plenty of repetitions over a session or two to ensure they get the right idea. Now, instead of leading them through, you’ll show them the treat only when necessary.

  1. Say “weave” and take a lunging step forward

  2. Wait 2 seconds

  3. Hint to your dog by letting them see the treat, if necessary

  4. Say “yes!” and reward

Keep your hands on your hips, only dropping your hint when your dog needs it. Drop your treat from your waist to just below your outer thigh so that your dog can see it. Soon, upon your cue to ‘weave,’ your dog will anticipate that a treat will appear soon, and will go through to find it.

Teach Figure 8 Weaving

Stand still, legs wider than shoulder width, and pop out one knee to cue your dog to ‘weave’ through. Lure from the inner thigh through, and then around to the front of your body again. Now, pop out your other knee and lure them through with your other hand around your knee and to the front again. Next, you’ll fade your lure, and show your dog the treat just below your outer thigh only if they fail to ‘weave’ within 2 seconds.

“Should I tell my dog “no” if he gets it wrong?”

-Don’t bother, scientific research has found that dogs learn faster, and try harder, when we ignore their missteps and focus on rewarding the behaviour we want. I actually find that the most challenging part of dog training is resisting the urge to laugh when things inevitably, adorably go awry in the training process. Laughter is an amazing reinforcer, and your dog will want to repeat anything that makes you smile or laugh. Dog training should be a fun game, not an arduous chore that you leaves you frustrated. Teach your dog this fun trick, and let it remind you that all training should be like this. If your dog isn’t wagging along, and your cheeks aren’t sore from smiling when you’re done, then you’re doing this dog training thing all wrong.