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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
On a horse forum I frequent, there's a section called "critique my horse" where basically people post pictures of either their own horses or possible buys. Others comment about their conformation in terms of where said horse may run into problems physically doing X, Y or Z activity for long periods of time.

Can we do that with dogs? Does anyone feel like they can look at pictures of a dog and point out where physical problems may occur as a dog ages based on their conformation, given planned sports/activities? Not necessarily whether or not they are to standard, but solely function, basically, if that makes sense...

As I start some more intense physical stuff with Baloo (flyball, dock diving and a little agility) it makes me wonder if anyone does the horse critique thing with dogs. It must be possible... right?

This is Baloo in February (I think) at almost 2 years old.





(I'll have to try and get some shots where he's not standing like that. He does that so he can jump up if Dan were to toss the cookie he has in his hand.;))

Any thoughts on where he might run into problems later on down the line?
 

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Well, there is a retired AKC judge/handler that does something like what I think you are talking about. Mostly she does puppies, but that is just because it is a service directed at breeders. Her philosophy is that a dog should have the right structure for what it will be asked to do, independant of type or standard. Here's her website http://www.dogfolk.com maybe you can find a book or seminar to go to that will help you know how he will hold up, if you're very concerned maybe even get an evaluation. Not free I know, but maybe worth it.

Sorry to sound like I'm plugging a product, just seemed like what you are looking for.
 

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Pat Hastings is still judging. She's not retired as far as I know. Many clubs get her to do seminars, if you can find one, I would recommend going.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Cool! That "Structure in Action" seminar is exactly what I'm talking about. Too bad it doesn't look like she comes up here. :(

And even if she did, $1000 for a one-day seminar is a bit out of the budget. :D
 

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She is worth seeing. I attended a seminar with the LRCP this spring and she did 2 litters of puppies and in the afternoon did adult dogs. She evaluated both of my labs. Her system of balance and structure apply to all breeds. She is in NJ soon.
 

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Christine Zink DVM also does structural evaluations - she usually does at least one Ontario seminar a year. Keep an eye on the Dogs In Canada event listings...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Is there a site for that, Nancy?
 

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Kate, the best thing you can do is get Baloo's hips and elbows xrayed and see where you stand before persuing performance events.

IMHO performance events are hard on labs, especially the bigger boned ones, and most labs are not going to have that long of a "performance" life, when compared, to say, a Border Collie.

Even if your xrays come back and show all is not well, you can still do performance events, just keep in mind your dog's limitations.

And, there is no guarantee's regardless. Even a dog with good conformation, and joints, can fall and injury themselves or blow out a knee.

It's a crap shoot no matter what.

My philosophy is just to get out there and enjoy your dog and let your dog be a dog :)
 
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