Page 122 - ShowSight - August 2019
P. 122

                Form Follows
  In order to evaluate a dog in motion, one must develop a rou- tine pattern of observation in order to take in all of the vari- ous parts of the dog that contribute to locomotion: the legs, the head, the topline (spinal column) and the body and often
the tail, as well. You will not develop your eye for movement over- night. Therefore, you should avail yourself of every opportunity to study the dog in motion, be that at ringside or in the field or performance arena. Since we have been studying the “average” dog, you should try to study those breeds that fall within the ‘average’ parameters so that you can understand the basics of locomotion, even if your breed happens to be one with a unique gait. I have found that the more I study other breeds, the more I understand the important characteristics that make my own breed unique.
There are many factors at play when a dog is in motion. Where the feet land, what they do while in the air between leaving the ground and placing the foot back on the ground, the timing between the four feet, the position of the head, the movement of the spinal column and the movement of the body and the position and movement of the tail. The reaction of each of these parts when the dog is in motion is in direct correlation with the other parts named and the overall structure and muscle condition of the dog in ques- tion. In order to understand motion as a whole, we must know how to evaluate the movement of each of these different parts and recog- nize the interaction of these parts with one another. We must con- centrate on one part of the dog at the time until we can follow what is happening with the chosen part and how it interacts with the rest of the dog. How many times have we seen a dog on the down and back that is so busy looking up at the handler’s hands, seeking the bait, that they nearly wrap their body around the handler—totally destroying any semblance of the way a well structured dog should move. If the judge cannot SEE the movement on the dog, then how do you expect them to JUDGE the movement of the dog?
Locomotion in the canid can occur at various speeds includ- ing the walk, pace, amble, trot and gallop. Since most standards describe the trot when speaking of gait that is the speed upon which
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