Top Notch Toys December 2018

Above: Overreaching causing the dog to crab. Right: Lack of drive, little flexion of stifles and hock.

in both fore and hind quarters. If the angulation is balanced front and rear, then ideally at the trot, the hind foot should step into the place of the fore- foot as it is lifted. Ideally, in a well angulated front as- sembly, the point of the elbow will be directly beneath the highest point of the shoulder blade when the dog is standing. If a dog is straight (upright shoulder blades and steep upper arm) in front assembly and is over angu- lated in the rear, the dog has too much “drive” behind and the hind feet will have to pass the front foot to the side (over reaching) leading the dog to move at an angle to the direction of movement—i.e. crabbing. To move “true” the dog needs to move both feet on each side in the same plane. If the feet are tracking prop- erly, then the dog will move “parallel” or “straight and true”. I believe that if a dog is coming towards me, I should see only “two legs” as in a horse com- ing down the center line in dressage. Cavaliers should not single track when viewed from in front or be- hind—they have a low centre of grav- ity and as they should not be moved around the show ring at great speed. There should not be any tendency for the feet to converge! The legs should provide a straight column of support

long as the puppy wishes is best and will hopefully result in a good moving dog when mature. Conditioning and the sensible development of fitness and muscles can make dramatic im- provement to the movement of a dog with basically good structure but who is slack and soft in muscle tone. And last, but not least, the dog’s tem- perament, attitude and training. You can have the best constructed and best conditioned Cavalier but if the dog doesn’t want to move with drive and enthusiasm, its virtues will never be revealed to the judge in the show ring. Some wonderful dogs drive their owners to distraction through active or passive noncooperation (I speak from experience here) while others show with flair and joie de vivre, demonstrating glorious, easy ground covering and true movement. You know they will show this just as

under the dog. Any deviation such as cow hocks, bowed hocks or crooked fronts will lead to excessive strain on the joints and ligaments. The conditioning and musculature should not be underestimated—no matter how perfect a dog’s bone structuremight be, it will be unable to move as its structure would suggest, if it’s unfit and lacking in strong and responsive muscles and ligaments. It is these ligaments and muscles which enable a dog to move its bones from place to place! These begin to develop early in life and growing puppies, if given too little exercise or confined to a puppy pen, may never develop strong ligaments. Too much or prolonged exercise and encouraging fast devel- opment with high protein foods may lead to malformed bone growth and problems later in life. Steady growth gains, free exercise when and for as

T op N otch T oys , D ecember 2018 • 73

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