Leg Weaving


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Leg weaving is normally something that is taught in heelwork to music (HTM).  I've never done any HTM and Jamie and Sasha haven't learned all the fancy twirls and show work that these wonderful dogs learn to do.  However, this is one exercise that comes in handy for agility and for general fitness and fun.  The way in which we do leg weaving means that Jamie has to do some tight turns and this has helped with his suppleness and with his confidence.  The first time we tried it he felt very threatened.  First of all he growled and  then he walked off refused to have anything to do with it.   Like all dog training though patience and kindness wins through and here's what we did.


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I found the juiciest tastiest treats that I could and because Jamie was so worried I simply stood with my legs apart and asked him to go "through."  I encouraged him with the treat and after a bit of hesitation his greed overcame his nervousness and he shot through my legs.   I have to add at this point that Jamie is a rescue dog and I suspect he'd had never had much human contact before he came to us.  He still finds certain things threatening such as Bernie suddenly putting his arm over him.  Suddenly being asked go through a pair of human legs was quite a lot to expect and we're just fortunate that he's a greedy dog.   Having got him to do this once it was too much to ask him to repeat it straight away so he got the titbit and a game.  Then we tried it again.


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Once he was confident with going through my legs I took one step forward and asked him to go through and each time I gave him a titbit.  When he understood what was required we tried two steps.  This meant that he had to turn and come back the other way which was a bit more tricky. I guided him with the treats and soon we built up to taking more steps at a time.  As you can see we aren't as elegant as the HTM people  but already we're getting tighter turns than we've ever managed round jump wings.   This exercise has also boosted Jamie's confidence and we've found it a great bonding routine.   Perhaps your dog might enjoy it as a change from agility.

Figure of Eight
Now that we've learned the leg weaving we can try a figure of eight.  This makes a dog nice and bendy which is just right for weaving.
To do the figure of eight I stand with my legs apart and encourage Jamie to go through and round one leg, then and through and round the other leg.


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Here's Jamie in action.   He enjoyed leg weaving in the end and is a smooth operator.

Teaching the same thing to Sasha
Now that we have Sasha she needed to learn the leg weave and figure of eight.  She hasn't been so easy to teach as Jamie.  Sasha is extremely greedy so to get her to leg weave I needed to hold a titbit in each hand and encourage her to go through each leg in turn.  For the figure of eight she simply follows the food. 
When it comes to the weave I put a target treat down so that she doesn't turn back to me and this stands up in good stead in the show ring. 

Starting the leg weave with a titbit in each hand

Figure of eight- Greedy Guts follows a titbit

It's followed up by a weave in the garden

..and stands us in good stead at a show

Here's a little movie clip of Sasha in action.  She's quite different to our lovely steady Jamie.

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