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Mike Rosario

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2001 :  10:00:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mike Rosario's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have a question for both distance and sprint musher's... How much do you look at the gaits of your dogs? Does it matter if a dog lopes, trots, or paces? I understand the speed differences between the three, but have concerns about pacing dogs. I have been told a pacing gait is a lazy gait. I have seen some musher's try to train dogs not to pace, I do not know the results though. Any thoughts on this topic?

jake

USA
1513 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  07:40:49 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hi Mike,
I always thought of pacing as a true lazy gait,

I think for a racing team you need strong trotters that can shift to a strong lope and back when they need to.

Gait is of major importance.
jake

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ajm

USA
118 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  08:14:42 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
"dog driver" by the Collins twins has some in-depth info about pacers. I've only had one dog that was a pacer, and he certainly didn't have the speed necessary to keep up even at an average speed.
One thing should be noted; sometimes pacing is a sign of a back/hip injury. Pacing reduces the stress in the possibly injured areas. So, if it's something that a dog hasn't always done, it may have to do with an injury.

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trailbound

USA
410 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  09:15:35 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I agree injuries to the back may cause a dog that otherwise trots to pace, but think more times than not, a dog will pace because it's conformation dictates it. I have seen pacers compete, compete well, and never have any problems. I have only had experience with pacers tho in sprint dogs, and the only times I would see them pace would be on the wheel going slower speeds. You rarely saw it in harness tho because the speeds were faster. Might try looking carefully at the conformation of the hind leg, upright stifles can make a pacer. I would never cull a dog because it tends to pace tho, as long as it was working hard...Just my .02
Kelley

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trailbound

USA
410 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  09:18:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Forgot to ad something above. I would be curious to know how a person could teach a dog that paces to trot...Short of weights on the front feet, I don't see how one could teach this, anybody have experience with that?

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sublunar

828 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  12:40:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit sublunar's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I have one dog that paces often in my team, and it drives me insane to see it. For the last 3 years, he's been one of my better dogs, except when very tired, then he starts to pace. I don't think that he works any less hard than the dogs he's running with, but it looks awful.

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OldMusher

USA
799 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  4:10:16 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Over the years I have seen dogs that were good at one particular gait, and for some reason bad at other gaits. If the gait they are good at is what you are training for...lucky you. If not...say goodbye. On the other hand...Truly superior dogs have EVERY gait down. For every gait deficiency there is a physiological reason. The last dog in your string to pick it up to a lope from a trot has a problem, nine times out of ten. May be the "best" dog you have, overall, but that would be attitude winning out over structure. This works until you have that dog who has superior attitude AND superior gait. These can go long or short, fast or slow, without injury or undue fatigue. Got one? Breed it...until you get more.

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DH

USA
286 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  4:34:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:

The last dog in your string to pick it up to a lope from a trot has a problem, nine times out of ten


I don't think I agree with this. We have found over the years that the dogs we have with a fast trot have, when they finally moved into a lope, also had a very fast lope. They drive me nuts during fall training trotting at 18 MPH, but I have never been able to outrun them when we moved to the sled & started really picking up speed.

Dori
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Rec Musher

111 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  6:05:46 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
To retrain pacing--I've been shown the following:

*Put the dog in wheel

*tie an extra line to the harness that goes back to the atv/cart that you hang on to

*go at a controlled speed and as the dog starts to pace, pull back on the extra line. Often that will throw the pace gait off and they will trott correctly. Praise when they trott correctly.

*repeat the entire run--'correcting' with the line when pacing...praising when trotting correctly.

To consider though: pacing maybe a habit, in which case you can train them out of it...or as many stated, it may be due to structure. If that structure isn't too bad you might still be able to train them out of it. But then again you might be fighting a real uphill battle.

One of my Alaskan's paces...since I don't care I didn't work on it too hard. He pulls as hard or harder than the other dogs on teh team.

His father was also a pacer and was a leader on a competitive distance team.

So not sure pacer=bad dog necessarily although likely it's attitude and heart compensating for something not right in structure.

Rec Musher
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JC

USA
727 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  6:10:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit JC's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ok, what the heck is a pacer? I have no idea. Is this dog still working when he/she paces?

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trailbound

USA
410 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  7:39:36 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
JC,
A pacer is a dog that moves at a lateral gait rather than a diagnol. With a trot (a two beat gait) the front left and right rear move forward at the same time, with a pace (also a two beat gait) the right front and right rear move forward at the same time. creates a swinging type of gait. I differ in opinion with Old Musher on this one tho. The fast trotters and pacers I have known also proved to be very fast lopers once we were up to a higher speed they were comfortable with. Look too at pacing horses, they move just as fast as the trotters, and it is no less efficient a gait as the trot is. Good structure is always a bonus, but not at all what I have based my dog selection and breeding programs on. If that is attitude making up for structural differences, it is OK by me...Kelley

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trailbound

USA
410 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  7:41:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Paul,
I am not sure what you would call the gait you just decscribed, but it isn't a pace...I would say something is very wrong with a dog that moves like that...hehehe
Kelley

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Mike Rosario

USA
102 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  8:00:32 PM  Show Profile  Visit Mike Rosario's Homepage  Reply with Quote
If you had a true pacer is this a dog you would or would not breed? Would it be right to assume then that if a dog has no injuries and is switching to a pace then possibly it is tiring?

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trailbound

USA
410 Posts

Posted - 11/13/2001 :  8:50:39 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Mike,
I would not necessarily assume a dog is tiring because it is pacing. If he has trotted for miles and miles, and then switches to a pace, yes, I would say he is tiring. If he paces right from the getgo, I would feel confident in saying that this gait is what the dog was built to perform. Breed a pacer to a pacer, and you would most likely end up with pacers, it depends on the dominance of the gait. Breed a pacer to a dominant trotter, and you might end up with all trotters, maybe a pacer thrown in here and there. Bottom line, if this dog goes the distances you want or need to be going, at the speed you want or need to be going, and pulls the whole time, I would not hesitate to breed it. Just my opinion tho, and I have had no experience with distance type dogs or preferred qualities. Pacing can be a very dominant trait in both horses and dogs, and really is genetic. Good luck and happy trails!
Kelley

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Theo

USA
1025 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2001 :  01:31:05 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hey AJM I have that same book! It is awesome.
My skijoring Mutt is a pacer too. I think it is because his butt is higher than his whithers. I am too much of a novice at this point to care. I am just impresssed that he can pull me and stays on the trail.
I'll let you Guys get back to the serious discussion mow.

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OldMusher

USA
799 Posts

Posted - 11/14/2001 :  2:55:29 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
to DH from above: I still say the hard-core trotter has a problem. If nothing else, if you train a smaller team, they foul up the rest sometimes. I had a black female who had a fabulous trot and she stuck to it until she was forced by the team to give up and lope...then run. At a trot she could go 18 mph for 10 miles. At a lope or run, she had 3 fast miles in her, then she came unglued. She stood "elbows out" at rest after a run, and I think that was most of her problem. She never stood like that when rested.

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