Reverse Weave

If you are up for a challenge combine together two tricks rather than chaining them. Combining the “Reverse” and the “Weave” you can train your dog to walk backwards whilst at the same weaving between your legs.

The Reverse Leg Weave is a visually impressive trick once you have mastered it, but it’s not actually too difficult to train, when you have already taught your dog to weave and to reverse.

The main challenge in this trick is to teach your dog to repeatedly turn its back end whilst reversing. As your dog reverses, you will need to lure it so that it turns its head to alternate sides.

Whilst you dog is reversing,  you need to lure it to turn its head away from you each time which will result in your dog’s wrapping around your legs.

For example, to get your dog to turn its back end to the left lure your dog so it turns its head to the right and vice-versa.

Remember to say Yes or click as soon as your dog manages to change direction with its back towards your leg. To start with, keep your criteria easy: your dog will need to have so encouragement.

The methodology is easier to see in action rather than being described in words. In the video below, Robyn and Vera clearly demonstrate how to do the trick.

Leg Weave – Walking Weave

With the Middle and Figure of Eight tricks where you remained pretty much stationary and your dog moved around your legs. With this next trick you are going to teach your dog to weave between your legs as you are walking forwards. This is going to be probably a little bit more challenging for you too!

As with teaching the Figure of Eight in the previous topic you will need to have plenty of treats in both hands.

The key steps for teaching this trick are:

  1. Start with your dog in a heel position on your left side.
  2. Move your right leg forwards and place your right foot on the ground and then hold the position.
  3. Pass your right hand under your right leg and Lure your dog to walk under your right leg
  4. Your dog should walk under your right leg. Use your Yes marker to tell your dog it has done the correct action.
  5. Reward your dog when it is on the outside of your right leg.
  6. As you are giving the reward, move your left leg forwards so that it is now in front of your right leg.
  7. Using your left hand, lure your dog under your left leg. Give your Yes marker.
  8. Reward from your left hand when your dog is on the outside of your left leg
  9. Now you can repeat steps 2-8 again so that you keep walking forwards

The trick is much easier to understand once you see a dog doing it. In the videos below Agnes demonstrates teaching the behaviour to Vera.

A key tip to take away from this video is to not take overly large steps but rather lure your dog to turn tighter. This will ultimately result in a more natural walking style when performing the trick and less of a chance of you falling over.

As and when your dog starts to weave more smoothly between your legs you can start with the following steps to build towards the completed trick

  • Start to stand straighter, this will help with a more natural walking style
  • Start reducing the number of treats you are using and make them harder to get at by holding them further in your hand.
  • Begin to introduce the word that you are going to use for the trick. Use the word each time your dog starts to walk under one of your legs to start building the association of the word to the behaviour. Initially keep on using the Yes marker to reassure your dog.
  • As your dog becomes more confident, continue to reduce the number of treats that are being offered. Begin fading the Yes marker so that you are just using the word you will eventually use as the command.
  • The final step is to start fading the hand movements that you are using as a lure.

In the following video, we see Robyn continuing to work on the Trick with Vera.

Leg Weave – Figure of Eight

Once your dog has mastered the “Middle” trick, your next objective is to get your dog to weave around your legs in a “Figure of Eight” motion.

The easiest way to teach this trick is to lure your dog so you will require plenty of treats in both hands as you will need to switch hands to get the figure of Eight shape.

  • Ask your Dog to come to the Middle position.
  • With a treat in your right hand, lure your dog to turn around the outside of your right leg so that it is now facing behind you
  • With your left hand, lure your dog back between your Legs (i.e. Perform the Middle Trick)
  • From the middle position, use your left hand to lure your dog to turn around the outside of your left leg so that it is now facing behind you
  • With your right hand, lure your dog back between your Legs (i.e. Perform the Middle Trick again)
  • Mark with a “Yes” in places that are key, such as behind your legs and at the “Middle” position and reward with treats to entice your dog to keep following your hands. This will reassure your dog that it has understood what you are trying to explain

When your dog starts to get the idea and is smoothly following your hand, start to gradually fade out the treats that you are giving. Keep using your hand as a lure to reinforce the behaviour that you want your dog to perform. To do this:

  • Reduce the number of treats so that you are only giving the reward each time your dog returns to the middle position.
  • Start making the treats harder for your dog to get at by holding them in the palm of your hand rather than your fingertips.
  • Fade the number of treats further so that you are only treating each time your dog has done a complete circuit around both of your legs

As you are rewarding less you will be able to keep your hands moving smoothly and will find that in response your dog will perform the trick faster and smoother.

When you have a good level of smoothness to the behaviour and have reduced the number of treats to the point that your dog is completing a full figure of eight between treats, it is time to start introducing a verbal cue. The command can be anything you want so long as its unique to this trick.

In the following video where we start teaching Vera the Figure of Eight, we are simply going to use the command “Eight

You will need to perform plenty of repetitions of the Trick when you have introduced the verbal cue to get your dog to fully associate the command to the behaviour. During this phase you will still need to use your hands to lure your dog, although you will have already phased out a lot of the treats. When you are sure your dog has a good understanding of the command and is offering the behaviour in response to it, you can slowly start to fade out your hand movements. This is quite a complex trick for your dog to master only using a command.

Tip: do not try to do too many Figure or Eights in a row before rewarding your dog or it will give up. This is a common mistake people do when their dog starts to master the trick as it is fun. Only decrease the frequency of markers and treats gradually.

Leg Weave – Middle

The first part of being able to teach your dog to weave through your legs is to make sure that it is comfortable to be in a middle position between your legs. Therefore, the first step is to practice the Middle Trick.

The “Middle” trick is where you ask for your dog to come and stand or sit between your legs whilst you are in a standing position.

The Middle Trick is one of the tricks I also teach in my Puppy Classes as the puppy learns that this is a position of safety. The following video is taken from the Puppy School and shows how to teach this behaviour:

The key steps are to teaching the Middle are:

  • Position yourself so that your dog is behind you. You can do this simply by throwing a treat on the floor and then turning your back on your dog.
  • Lure your dog to the middle position by bending forwards and offering a treat between your legs.
  • The correct middle position is with your dog standing (or sitting) between your legs with its head facing forwards.
  • Reward your dog whilst it is in the middle position to encourage it to stay in the same position.
  • Release your dog by using your release command.
  • Throw a treat behind you to lure your dog to position itself behind you.
  • Recall your dog into the middle position again.
  • Start adding a command, for example “Middle” moves forwards between your legs before it stops to receive the reward.

Roll Over – Teaching the behaviour

You are now going to work on teaching your dog to roll over, first with luring and then on verbal command. you will also  be teaching your dog to roll over in both directions and have a different command for each direction.

When teaching the Roll Over you will find that your dog has a preferred side that it will Roll Over on; this is common. It will mean that it may take a while longer to teach your dog to roll over in one direction than the other.

You will be using the Luring training technique to teach the Roll Over, so will need a good supply of treats to hand.

  • Have your dog lie down in front of you.
  • Entice your dog to tilt its hip in the direction that you wish your dog to Roll Over. To do this, lure your dog’s head towards the opposite side to the hip you want it to tilt. For example, to tilt your dog’s left hip, turn its head towards the right.
  • Once your dog has tilted its hip, move your luring hand lower to the ground so that your dog lies on its side.
  • When your dog is lying, begin luring your dog’s head in the direction of the roll. You may need to lure the head back towards your dog’s shoulder as you do this.
  • As your dog follows your hand with its head, the shift in weight will naturally start to roll the body.
  • Some dogs will roll naturally, some may need reward at various stage of the roll over.
  • With dogs who are struggling to roll, make sure to move your luring hand head from the first shoulder to the other one
  • Once your dog starts to roll, keep moving the reward to maintain the momentum of the roll. This will help your dog complete the full roll over
  • Reward your dog low so it is not encourage to stand up but stay in a lie down position

In the following video, Emily demonstrates these steps with Mozzie.

Roll Over – Fade the luring

The goal of the Roll Over trick is for you to be able to simply use either of the two commands that you have taught your dog, “Roll over” and “Flap” for example, to get them to roll to their left or right without you having to provide any other verbal or body cue.

So far you needed to be on the floor with your dog to lure it into the movement. The next step is removing the luring

Before moving to this step, your dog need to be confident with the trick whilst luring. Simply expecting your dog to now perform the behaviour with only the verbal cue without any body cue will almost certainly fail.

You need to fade the body cue gradually,

  • First you can start to lure with the hand movement but with no treats and reward with the other hand
  • Secondly gradually make the luring movement of your hand more and more subtle whilst coming it with your verbal cue.

This is best explained in the next video where you can see the body cues that Emily is using to help Phoebe now that she is no longer directly Luring Phoebe to perform the roll over.

Over time you will be able to start fading out the body cue so that your dog can perform the trick in response only to the commands, but you will need a lot of practice before being able to achieve this goal.

In the following video you will see that Leo is able to perform the Trick when he hears the command, but only in one direction.

As we noted in an earlier the Body Awareness Part 2: Roll Over, most dogs have a preferred direction when doing the Roll Over. Because of this you will need to modify your training accordingly. For example, you can continue to Lure and use food for the side your dog is less confident with but continue to fade the Lure and Body Cues when working the side that it is confident with.

If this is the situation you find yourself in with your dog, you can put more emphasis in training the difficult side but remember to keep working both directions. Do not simply concentrate on the side your dog is less confident with or you may end up switching the problem and you dog may no longer offer the trick in the direction that it used to like, it’s a very common error we do when training.

In addition, if you dog starts to roll over in the wrong direction and offers random side, Stop, Breathe and Think. Try to get a moment of stillness from your dog to make sure your dog is concentrating otherwise, just like with “Please” and “Thank you” you may end up having a dog who just offers either behaviour until it gets a reward rather than listening to the words.

Roll Over – Adding a verbal cue

You need two distinct words for the “Roll Over”, one for when you dog rolls to its left and another when it rolls to its right. As with the other tricks you have learnt so far, you can choose any word you like provided you use it consistently for the behaviour.

I words that I tend to use are:

  •  “Roll over” for the side the dog tends to prefer
  •   “Flap” for the other direction,

Emily uses

  • “Roll” to the left
  • “Polly” to the right.

When starting to introduce the word to the behaviour, your timing is important to help your dog associate it with the actual behaviour you want. In this case only give the word when your dog has rolled and is on its back. Any earlier and your dog may associate it with lying flat on its side (which is still a nice trick by the way!).

In this next video we have tried to introduce the verbal cue a little bit too soon as Mozzie is still not comfortable with the behaviour. However, it is a good example showing how Mozzie is trying to offer a few other tricks as he is uncertain. Emily is being very patient to guide him. It is a common behaviour for dogs to offer all their tricks repertoire if they do not understand or are uncertain about what we are trying to communicate to them.

Teaching your dog to Bow

A Bow is when your dog drops its front elbows to the floor but remains standing on its hind legs. It is a common behaviour that most puppies and dogs perform, especially when they are playing. What we are going to cover in this topic is how to get your dog to bow on command.

There are two ways that I commonly use to teach a dog to bow on command, one is using Capturing and the second is using Luring

To use Capturing simply use your clicker and reward your dog every time you see it naturally perform the behaviour. As noted above, this will commonly occur when you are playing with your dog, or when your dog wants to engage you in a play, so have your clicker and treats ready. As soon as your dog Bows, Click or say Yes and try to reward in the position to give value to the position. Ideally place the reward in between your dog’s two front legs.

Some dogs are not as natural at bowing than others and with such dogs, using Luring is often a better option.

To use Luring to teach the bow you are going to need to use a piece of food that you place between their two front legs.

  • Make sure you have a good high value treat in your hand.
  • Start with the treat near to your dog’s nose so you get its interest, so it will want to follow your hand to get the treat.
  • As shown by the blue arrow in the image below, lower your hand slowly to the floor but at the same time, move it between your dog’s front legs. The speed of movement should be slow enough that you dog can follow your hand’s movement with his nose
  • Once your dog is in the Bow position, reward with multiple treats.
  • When you dog understands the trick, introduce the “Bow” verbal cue to it.

In the following video, we demonstrate and discuss in more detail how to teach the bow using both the Capturing and Luring techniques

When you dog understands the verbal cue, you can gradually progress the trick by getting your dog to perform it in the following different scenarios:

  • Whilst you are standing next to your dog instead of kneeling
  • While you are in a different environment, for example in your garden or in the local park.
  • Get your dog to perform the trick during a lead walk
  • Try to see if your dog will do the trick whilst your back is turned to it, so it does not have eye contact with you; this is a hard one!