Physical Clues




Our dog’s posture and gait can give us clues about candles that may be lit.

A balanced posture will be four square will the shoulder above the elbow down to the foot at the front and a curved bend of stifle going down to the hock joint at the back. Looking from the front or back the legs should be parallel and not splayed inwards or outwards.

Sometimes dogs weight backwards or forwards, which puts added pressure on the hips or shoulders. They can stand base-wide, with either their back or front or all legs positioned further apart than normal. These postures suggest a dog trying to rebalance or take the weight off areas of discomfort.

Be careful about the postures you ask your dog to hold in training – is it a natural and comfortable posture or might it be straining the neck or making our dog adopt an awkward position?

Also look at how mobile your dog is. Do they turn as freely in one direction as the other? Do they show a preference to working on one side of you or the other?

Look at your dog moving, but also standing, sitting and lying down. It is useful to take photos. Do they always sit and lie the same way? Are their hips and hind muscle development even? Are they standing four square? Are their elbows , hocks or feet sticking out? When they move do their feet fall evenly or do they sway, like they are wearing a wet nappy?

Coat pattern changes are also very interesting. Look out for ridges, swirls and tufts especially where these have not always been there or where they are not even on both sides of the body. Look for changes in coat pattern, texture and colour as well as unsymmetrical patterns.

These are all subtle clues that your dog might have some physical discomfort. If you see these or have any concerns, ask your trainer or your vet to take a look.

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