At the May 2019 THE PHYSICAL DOG seminar in Austin, hosted by Janice Patton of ARF, we were able to capture some interesting slow motion video of a dog spinning.
The weekend’s focus was the physical dog, learning how movement and gait tell us so much about each dog. The dog’s body is what he drives to work, so to speak, and physical issues can and do affect behavior, training and performance. Humane training lies in understanding how physical, mental & emotional combine to create each dog’s abilities and limits.
We were able to see how eyesight, structural conformation, body build, conditioning, age and more all contribute to make something easy or difficult for a dog. We also captured some interesting video, which is a great learning tool!
This slow motion clip of a long-haired Chihuahua spinning in two directions helped us all understand how much effort this took for him, and why he was particularly reluctant to spin to the left. You can see that he is unable to step under himself, which is the biomechanically correct execution of this trick. So instead, this dog wrenches his whole body around, using his head & neck to whip himself along with great power.
Going to the right is easier for him than going to the left. Not only does he have to work harder to spin to the left, he cannot maintain that effort, and gives himself a break after just a few spins.
Watched in real time, this might look like a cute trick to the uninformed eye. In slow motion, it becomes much clearer how much effort this requires from the little guy. Once you know what to see and understand how healthy movement looks, you can begin to understand how behavior and movement are intricately linked.