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An Evaluation of the Effects of Two Natural Surfaces on the Kinematics of the Canine Sprint Start


The purposes of this investigation were to evaluate the kinematic influence of two different natural ground surfaces on the canine sprint start and to determine which surface was safer for movement initiation. The hypothesis was that there would be a significant difference in the influence of a vegetated and a non-vegetated surface on the kinematic performance of the canine sprint start and the vegetated surface would provide a safer environment for movement initiation. Seven retired racing Greyhounds completed four movement initiation sprint trials on each of the surfaces over an eight day test period. A vegetated and a non-vegetated surface were used to mimic the surfaces commonly used for a canine athlete to initiate a sprint start. The properties of the vegetated and non-vegetated surfaces were quantified and classified. The starting kinematics were filmed by two high speed cameras and analyzed by a motion analysis system. Thirteen linear kinematic parameters and temporal stride characteristics (vertical displacement of the hip, ear, and shoulder, swing times during the follow through phase, stance times during the action phase, horizontal velocity, and forward and backward horizontal displacement of the paws) were measured. Multiple MANOVA and ANOVA statistical models were used to analyze the data. Main effects were found for the temporal, horizontal, and vertical dependent variables. Temporal dependent variable main effects were found for swing time across end of dog and swing time for the surface*end interaction. Horizontal dependent variable main effects were found for stride length and negative displacement across surfaces, ends, and for the surface*end interaction. Vertical dependent variable main effects for surface, displacement, and the surface*displacement interaction were found for head and shoulder displacement. There was no main effect for average velocity across surfaces. The results indicated that two like textural surfaces, one with vegetation and one without vegetation has an effect on the kinematics of the sprint start. This data suggests that a vegetated surface is safer for movement initiation than a non-vegetated surface. These findings provide objective and quantifiable data of movement initiation in the dog.