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Equipment Safety


An Evaluation of the Motions of Competition Seesaws: Short Reprint
Note: This is the 2-page summary article that appeared in Clean Run magazine. See the article below for the complete study and results. The seesaw is unlike any other obstacle on a dog agility course in that the performance on the obstacle depends on the performance of the obstacle. Variations in plank, fulcrum, and base construction directly influence the motion characteristics of each seesaw design. In an effort to insure consistency of performance, the organizational bodies for the sport of dog agility have been quite specific about plank dimensions and pivot height. However, they have been less precise when defining a seesaw’s response to varying conditions of load. Because of this, a variety of seesaw solutions have been designed and constructed, each with its own set of performance characteristics. The rate of descent, support base movement, plank vibration and noise are all influenced by the design solution and the materials chosen to execute that design. In an effort to understand the effect of design variations on the performance of a seesaw, we evaluated three distinct designs.
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An Evaluation of the Motions of Competition Seesaws: Full Study
The seesaw is unlike any other obstacle on a dog agility course in that the performance on the obstacle depends on the performance of the obstacle. Variations in plank, fulcrum, and base construction directly influence the motion characteristics of each seesaw design. In an effort to insure consistency of performance, the organizational bodies for the sport of dog agility have been quite specific about plank dimensions and pivot height. However, they have been less precise when defining a seesaw’s response to varying conditions of load. Because of this, a variety of seesaw solutions have been designed and constructed, each with its own set of performance characteristics. The rate of descent, support base movement, plank vibration and noise are all influenced by the design solution and the materials chosen to execute that design. In an effort to understand the effect of design variations on the performance of a seesaw, we evaluated three distinct designs.
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Concerns about Weave Pole Spacing
Over the years I have become aware of many otherwise healthy athletic agility dogs in their prime with shoulder tendon, knee, or back injuries (especially mid and lower back), some chronic, where no trauma had been observed. Could these strains be due to repetitive stress, and could tight weaving be the major contributing factor for these injuries?
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Shouldn't Seesaws Perform More Consistently?
The seesaw obstacle, which has been included in dog agility since the sport’s beginning, has recently been facing scrutiny. It is the only moving obstacle, and therefore, the performance of the obstacle itself can influence the dog’s performance on course. With the increasing speeds of the canine participants, the functional consistency of the seesaw and the overall safety of this obstacle is now being questioned.
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Weaving: A Veterinarian’s Perspective
Whether it’s fast and furious or slow and rhythmical, perfect execution of weave poles is something agility competitors strive for. Did you ever stop to think about why it is the hardest obstacle to learn, what stresses and challenges the dog’s body endures during performance, or how the dog’s conformation and weaving style may create risk factors for injury?
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