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My Labby Paces When Out Walking..

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Our labby (about 20 months) will pace when I take her out walking. It seems to be more so when she needs to go to the toilet (is always better after she's been), or when she is strong/excited/focused on something else. About half way through our walk when she is more settled, she seems to be okay just trotting again. When she paces, I make her sit and start off again in a trot but it might be only a few strides before she switches back. Also tried various speeds but she can pace slow and fast!

Being a labby, I am aware of the joint issues they can have. She does come from parents with excellent hip,elbow scores and we do keep her weight within a good range. So I am really hoping the pacing isn't anything to do with joints.

Any ideas about this please? Is it common??

Thanks! :)

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Pacing can be related to a range of things which may or may not be relevant.

Some breeds pace naturally at low speeds (it is specified in the standard for the Pyrenean Mountain Dog for instance). It is an 'energy saving' gait for a dog.

Some dogs will do it if the speed you are going is not comfortable for them - such as not fast enough for a proper trot, but fast for a walk. Again, it is energy saving and can be more comfortable. My Dalmatian used to pace if I was going at this 'in between' speed when on walks on lead.

Some dogs will do it when tired - again energy saving.

Some will do it if injured or sore if it is a more comfortable gait for them and can take pressure of an injury or sore area that may be jarred by other gaits.

Some dogs may also pace if their construction makes it more comfortable. An example here is if they are shorter in body or have more angulation/drive in the rear than in the front (to put it in basic terms). As their front and back legs get in the way of each other as the back feet land further forward when trotting, they may pace as it is more comfortable. this type of thing may be the result of permanent structure or if the dog is young and their growth is not proportionate they may grow out of it as they mature.

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Thank you everyone! :) You have all been very helpful, and I feel quite relieved now.

I am fairly sure there is no soreness issue (my biggest worry)as she trots when we are out in the paddock or when she is more 'relaxed' on our walks. Last night she only paced when she wanted to stop to go to the toilet, and then again when there was a dog on the side of the road and she got excited about it. The rest of the time she trotted along quite happily. It was a bit warmer than usual too, so perhaps not so energetic either!! :)

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