How to start weaving with your dog
Updated: Jan 25, 2022
Did you know there are 3 different types of weaving we can use with our dogs?
Which do you use?
Dog agility pole weaving
Dog leg weaving
Dog conditioning weaving
Not sure? Or interested to find out more about how each type of weaving can be used?
Jump right in.
Dog agility pole weaving: this is the type of weaving you will see in dog agility training and involves your dog entering the weaves with their left shoulder first and weaving between each pole (usually 6-12).
Weaving in dog agility requires a lot of flexibility in our dogs which takes much longer to achieve than you might expect. Even if your dog takes to weave training relatively quickly if you do more than a couple of minutes every few days your dog is likely to suffer from muscle tension in the pectorals and adductors as these are the muscles that your dog has to use to navigate the poles and their back and they don’t yet have the flexibility they need in their muscles either side of the spine. I see this a lot in young agility dogs who are just starting to learn to weave.
So before you get started try adding some spins to your training routine to increase that spinal flexion and some hill walking to improve stride length and strength.
Dog leg weaving: or weaving your dog between your legs uses a similar principle as agility weaving but instead of using sticks or poles to weave in and out of you use your own legs. Now unsurprisingly this is much easier if you have a smaller breed dog, you might struggle if you have a great dane!
Unlike agility weaving where we aim for speed, leg weaving is often much slower and uses less severe turns meaning that the risk of over use of the paraspinals, pectorals and adductors is reduced. However because of this you don’t improve the stride length and spinal range of motion as much. If you’re aiming for agility weave training, leg weaving is a good start to help gradually increase your dogs range of motion and reduce injury risk.
Dog conditioning weaving: this isn’t like the 2 dog weaving tricks we’ve just spoken about but is instead a slow and controlled exercise we can use to improve your dogs, core strength, proprioception, strength and range of movement.
So how can you get started with ths exercise?
Start with some poles, sticks or trees spaces 6-8ft apart. Pop your dog on a lead and establish a walk at their pace where they are moving forward but not trotting. Now you can start weaving in and out of your poles, sticks or trees. Personally I like to use trees as the roots add an extra layer of proprioceptive difficulty making your dogs more aware of how and where to place their feet. And because we are doing this in walk our dogs have to use each limb individually making it actually much harder for them than it first appears.
If you want to challenge your pets even more you can figure 8 around 2 poles or trees or circle them using 2 trees to create the diameter or center line of your circle.
Which will you be trying?
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