Thursday, May 11, 2017

Slow Motion Weave Poles

A few years ago I took a seminar with Dr. Christine Zink, a sports and rehabilitation specialist. I learned all sorts of great stuff there, including a discussion on how to identify lameness using jumps and weave poles. A colleague of mine just recently attended the same seminar, and she asked me to get some slow motion videos of dogs doing weave poles for her to analyze, so I took a video camera to practice a couple of times and got some footage of my own dogs, as well as one of my trainer's dogs. Basically you can look at what the dog is doing with footwork to help identify front leg lameness. Dogs do weave poles one of two ways: single foot or double foot. Most large dogs use a single foot technique, while small dogs use the double foot, however some large dogs will also use the double foot technique. Deviation in how a dog performs on one side of the poles vs the others can be an indication of lameness.

Aside from lameness studies, weaves poles are just really neat to check out in slow motion.

Here is Kili who is quite proficient with the single foot technique and shows a very clean and consistent footwork pattern on both sides of the poles:

And here is Kenna at 14 months who has been doing a full set of 12 poles for only about 3 weeks now. She is very fast and looks great, however you can see that her footwork is not 100% consistent yet. In this video she tends to use one foot on the right side but two feet on the left. If I were to video her over several different sessions we would see that she sometimes uses the single foot technique the whole way through, and she sometimes throws a couple of double feet in. She's young and very green on the weave poles so this is just her figuring out the footwork that works best for her, and I imagine that as she gains more experience she will settle into being a single footer. On an experienced dog who typically uses the one foot technique, however, a video like this might indicate that the dog is experiencing pain or discomfort, most likely on the left front leg.

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