Pacing or Trotting

A person asked a question on one of the groups about dogs that pace or trot. This was a subject I was interested in as I have a dog who naturally paces.

In case you are wondering what the difference is between the two gaits, a trot uses alternating opposite legs in succession – right front, left rear, left front, right rear. The pace looks like a shuffle as dogs use the same legs on the same side and alternate – right front and right rear, left front and left rear.

Gary says this:

Pacing can be because the dog has a short body and a long stride – they will learn to pace or crab to avoid clipping the front legs. It can also be a sign that the dog is tired or not very fit – pacing is easier than trotting. Many dogs will pace as a transition gait if you try to move them gradually into a trot, but will switch to a trot as speed increases or if you “lift” them quickly from walk to trot. I’ve also seen a dog that paced due to a back strain. Apparently pacing put less stress on that particular part of the back. If a dog who normally trots begins to pace a lot, I’d check for injury.

Sandra posted this:

this is an excerpt from Robert Gillette, DVM, MSE an expert on canine locomotion (

“Some breeds use a pace gait instead of the trot. The pace is similar to the trot except that the right side legs are in support followed by the left side legs.”

The is an excerpt from the University of Pennsylvania’s website:

The pace is a symmetric gait in which support is maintained by the animal with lateral pairs of legs (Fig. 91-6). The animal moves by swinging the forelimb and hindlimb on one side while bearing weight on the other side. It is a gait commonly used in long-legged dogs with close-coupled bodies and allows the animal to move in a straight, forward direction without the interference between front and hind legs that may occur at a trot. (33) The lateral oscillations of the body produced by the pace seem to be handled best by long-legged dogs.(42)

There is very little available data that describe the force parameters of the pace. The pace is also seen in dogs that are tired, out of condition, or have a diagnosable orthopaedic problem. This gait may allow the animal to change ground-reaction forces and maintain the same efficiency of motion but with a different type of effort, resulting in a more comfortable position for the dog.”

Some dogs are more apt to pace due to structure.
Some dogs pace to keep time with their handlers (when doing on-leash walking)
Some dogs pace when they are injured or out of shape.
Some dogs pace because it’s a natural gait for them.
Pacing can be a sign of injury in a dog that doesn’t normally pace.

Amy tells us:

Any dog with a square body type (height and length close to equal) or short upper arms (from point of shoulder to point of elbow) can be prone to pacing. Sometimes this is to avoid clipping their front legs with their back legs.

Diane says:

I recently attended a seminar with a rehab vet who addressed the issue of pacing and one thing I remember her mentioning was that when she worked with sled dogs that did long distance treks, the handlers said that the dogs that normally paced would switch to trotting when exhausted and the dogs that trotted would start to pace. They would watch for this when training to see how fit the dogs were. I’m sure pacing and trotting use different muscles and the dogs may be trying to rest the tired/sore ones like we do when we stand for a long period of time and shift weight from one foot to another. It would then be a good thing to know if your dog’s natural gait is a pace or trot and when doing any agility training to observe if the dog switches to the other gait. Could be a sign you are doing too much and the dog is getting sore. At this seminar there were 10 dogs and I remember 7 trotting and 3 pacing as their normal gait.

As for myself, my dog Sassy had two gaits as a puppy…bounce or pace. She was a fast as a bullet pacing as a puppy.   She didn’t learn to properly “trot” until she was about 18 months old.   And it took her a while.  She had this really prissy type of gait for a while…looked kinda like an extended trot that you see in dressage horses.   She nows uses every gait in the book.   🙂 BUT will often come back to just pacing. I think it’s just part of who she is.


First Aid Kit for Dogs

What kind of stuff should you have on hand when travelling with your dogs?

Mind, you have to take some advice with a grain of salt

You need to consider what  you are comfortable with and what your dog can handle.

  • triple antibiotic ointment for cuts and scrapes
  • pepto bismol pills for stress induced diarrhea
  • aspirin basic soreness
  • vet wrap
  • ace wrap
  • gauze
  • thermometer( if my dog gets sick on the road, I want to know temperature)
  • eye wash (barn dust eye irritations)
  • old pair of pantyhose for restraining a dog’s muzzle in case it gets badly hurt, keeps YOU from being bitten
  • Plywood or an old blanket for lifting/transporting an injured dog
  • Basic medical records
  • Benadryl – a topical type in case bitten by something nasty (i.e. fire ants)
  • Tweezers
  • Tourniquet (learn how to use it!)
  • Gloves
  • Extra leash
  • Baggie if bitten by some toxic critter (to put critter in)
  • Scissors
  • Feminine napkin to help control bleeding
  • Meds for dog if on any

Take a first aid course for Dogs.  You just may find it invaluable.

Or read a book such as this one: First Aid and Emergency Care by Roger W. Gfeller. et al.

Having knowledge of where the after hours vet clinic is near to wherever you are going is important.

If you don’t want to make your own emergency bag, it is easy enough to get one.  for instance here is one.

What RV is best for traveling with dogs?

The question was asked last year on the AGILE dog network.

What RV is best for traveling with dogs?

Mind you, this is a somewhat subjective topic, but these are the results that Terri listed for the group after she asked this question.

So many asked for me to post results from RV question that I thought it would be faster for me to just post it here, sorry for the OT. Thanks to everyone who provided so much information for us RV wannabes.

Class A or C
Class A won hands down, but those with Class C’s really love them as well, but many people went from Class C to A. The reasons given for the Class A choice were pretty much the same across the board. Class C cockpit small and uncomfortable on long drive. Class A has more and better use of space both in the floor plan and in the storage area below. The Class A chassis can hold more weight than the C, which is important when you consider all the stuff you are putting in it when you head to a trial. Hands down of those who had driven the Class A and had driven a Class C said that they found the A easier to drive and that the learning curve is much shorter with the A because it is so different from the van like quality of the C. The van like quality of the C ( a reason many people buy it as their first RV) does sometimes provide you with a false sense of vehicle size. The Class A is more expensive to insure and taller so you need to be aware of that as well.

Questions to ask when looking

  • Do you have big dogs or small dogs?
  • Are you going to be an inside person or outside when parked?
  • Are you planning to crate when riding or seat belt dogs? Interestingly most people do a mix of this, younger in crates, older with belts.
  • How much weight will you be carrying, gear, dogs, food, cloths etc.?
  • Are you comfortable in the seats for driving and riding?
  • What kind of fuel do you want to use?
  • How loud is it on the inside when going down the road?
  • How comfortable are the beds for sleeping?
  • How loud is it on the inside when sitting (sometimes neighbors are loud)?
  • How big are the slides and how much room is lost when they come in (can you still move through the RV when in, as many times you may not open when parked for a quick overnight)?

RV Advice

  • Don’t go too small
  • Buy used if you can but buy a upper model used as quality is better
  • Get the outside shower attachment
  • Can use the wardrobe area for crates when you take off doors
  • Look hard at floor plans where they add space and where they take away, do you need a large bath or would you rather have more living space
  • Bring measuring tape and or crates with you to see how it will fit
  • Make sure you can fit all your stuff in the storage and you can get at it easily
  • First time you might want to buy from a dealership as the support system is better
  • Do lots of homework before you go out to the dealership to save time, know the model you are interested in and the length and floor plan


A lot of people clicker train their dogs.  They are a great way to pinpoint the action you want to reward. They act as a bridge between the reward and action.

A generic clicker can be found at most pet stores for little or no money.  Here is also a source for them.

Some dogs are somewhat sensitive to the sound of a clicker, so people wishing to clicker train may have to resort to some other noise.

This place sells “quieter” clickers.

Or you can make a click sound with your mouth.

A Whine-Free Trial

I have received this one a few times as well.

I wonder what a trial would be like if: (my favorite whine list)

ALL negativity was totally eliminated, understanding that this weekend activity must be treated as a fun thing to do, for all, and worth traveling many hours to participate in.

No one complained about the lack of volunteers. Everyone made a worthy attempt to chip in.

No one put another team down to make themselves look better. Only words of encouragement were shared.

All Masters level people encouraged, supported, and volunteered to work the novice classes, and every novice run was punctuated with cheers of genuine joy.

There are no issues of safety, and every course could be run with smooth, yet challenging flow, where all entries to obstacles were at an angle conducive to the movement of the dogs.

No breed or inner-breed comparisons are made, and every instance of diversity was appreciated. Where all dogs are pets that happen to perform, rather than performance dogs we happen to occasionally pet.

A teams abilities are not publicly judged by the exhibitors, but thoroughly enjoyed as entertainment.

Everyone felt they got their moneys worth.

And above all ….. where placing a higher need to do the right things outweighed an individuals need (IE. self-serving interests) to be right.

My point of posting this is by identifying my favorite whines, I now make myself accountable NOT to encourage or participate in such shallow behavior(s).

A Past Whine Connoisseur,

Not for Collies Drug List

The Not For Collies Drug List

Be aware of anything with “ictin” on the end. NOTE: the MDR1 test is simple and not too expensive but is vital to your herding dog’s health and life.

  • Abamectin Antiparasitic Agent
  •  Acepromazine Tranqualizers
  • Butorphanol Tartrate (Torbutrol, Torbugesic) Pain Control
  •  Cyclosporin Immunosuppressive agent
  • Cyclosporin A Immunosuppressive agent
  • Deramaxx
  •  dexamethasone, Steroids
  • Digoxin Heart drug
  • Domperidon Gastrointestinal Agents
  •  domperidone
  • doramectin
  • Doxorubicin Chemo drug
  •  Erythromycin Antibiotic
  •  etoposide
  •  Grepafloxacin Antibiotics
  •  Heartgaurd
  •  Hydrocortisone Steriods
  • Immodium Loperamide
  •  Ivermectin Antiparasitic Agent
  •  Kaopectate (some formulas)
  •  Loperamide (e.g. Immodium AD) Gastrointestinal Agents
  •  Macrocyclic Lactones Anti-helminthic pharameuticals that are P-glycoprotein substrates include the family of compounds
  • Milbemycin Oxime Antiparasitic Agent
  • mitoxantrone
  •  morphine
  •  Moxidectin Antiparasitic Agent
  • Ondansetron
  • Oxorubicin Anticancer agents
  • paclitaxel
  • PeptoBismol (some formulas)
  •  Pro Heart6
  • Quinidine
  • Revolution
  •  rifampicin
  • Rimadyl
  •  Selamectin Antiparasitic Agent
  • Substrates for P-glycoprotien
  • Tacrolimus Immunosuppressants
  • Vinblastine Chemo drug
  • Vinca Alkaloids Anticancer agents
  •  Vincristine Chemo drug
  • *Drugs that are P-glycoprotein substrates can build up dangerous levels in the brains of genetically sensitive Collies

We learned that the “not for collie drug list” applies to a large percentage of herding breeds and a test can be given to test for the gene that some of these dogs are missing which keeps the drugs out of the brain.

The reason I tell you this, is that not all veterinarians are up to date on this, and we need to educate ourselves and them.

Please pass it to all collie and herding group people.

I encourage you to do the research and have the list put in their pet’s medical chart. Give it to your veterinarians.

This list may not be inclusive as new drugs are coming out all the time.