On day one in the afternoon, we started to analyze gate. Dogs have a number of gaits:
- Walk (amble=fast walk) or
- Pace - sometimes confused with a amble (fast walk)
- Rotary Cantor
Walk is shown when the dog has 3 feet on the ground at all times. Pace happens when dogs go to a fast amble (3 feet) to a faster amble (pace) 2 feet. Trot is a proper 2 foot gait and the cantor and gallop are one foot.
Pacing or ambling is not really a gait that helps the function of the dog. It is better to teach your dog to trot beside you. She demonstrated this with a sheltie and poles.
Today I took Fin for a long walk during a break in the storms. I tried to analyze how she was moving beside me and what I noticed is that when I walked my normal walk, she either was pacing or ambling. I really would need someone to look to tell me. If I sped up a bit, she immediately went into a trot. Based on Chris' recommendation, I can use the pole exercise to walk my normal stride (about 3.5 mph) and she can learn to trot rather than pace next to me. The trot is a great gait as it is easy on all the joints and balanced. The pace or amble puts more stress on the body.
The cantor is the gate that is seen most on the agility field. One of the interesting things is that most of us are familiar with a horses cantor. In the case of a right cantor,
- the horse leads with the right for both front and rear.
- the dog leads with the front right and they will lead with the rear left.
I'm sure if I had read Christines book that I own I would have been familiar with this concept, but it was new and fascinating to me. She showed a number of videos demonstrating the rotary cantor and it was very clear the the rear lead helps with the turn indicated by the lead change of the front.