Navigation Links
Under pressure
Date:1/2/2014

Guide dogs lend their eyes to blind people, enabling them to find their way around in an environment they cannot see. Guide dogs require about four years of training and fully trained animals can cost over 30,000 Euro. It is thus important for financial reasons as well as because of animal welfare considerations to ensure that guide dogs are comfortable in their work. A proper harness that enables good communication between the blind person and the dog is an important factor in the animal's well-being, while a poorly fitting harness may result in health problems and impaired communication between dog and owner.

The dog's chest experiences the most tension

Barbara Bockstahler, Christian Peham and colleagues examined the distribution of pressure in working guide dogs by placing pressure sensors beneath the harnesses. Eight guide dogs were filmed with a trainer while climbing steps, avoiding obstacles, turning left and right and walking straight ahead. To visualize the movements, the animals, the trainers and the harnesses were equipped with reflective markers. The positions of the markers were recorded by a total of ten cameras.

The results showed that the bottom right of the animals' chests is particularly stressed. As Bockstahler explains, "Guide dogs walk under constant tension. They are usually on their owners' right and in front of them." The scientists found that the pressure on the right side of a dog's chest may equate to up to 10 per cent of the animal's weight. In contrast, the dog's back experiences far less pressure. "It is important for guide dogs to exercise regularly without a harness to compensate for the lopsided pressure they experience in their work", says Bockstahler.

Flexible harnesses cause less stress

Very rigid harnesses enable quick and finely tuned communication between dogs and owners but cause stress to the animals. The more stiffly the harness is anchored to the handle, the more pressure the animal experiences. The most comfortable harness relies on a hook-and-loop connection, which provides the least pressure on the dog, although for long-haired dogs a plastic clip version is favourable. Rigid metal links are the most stressful for the animals and one of the harnesses tested even restricted the movement of the spine and the front limbs. As Peham notes, "The importance of matching the dog to its owner is well known: the blind person should suit the dog not only in character but also in size. But it seems that the choice of harness is also vital. Flexible and adjustable harnesses, e.g. with telescopic handles, are ideal." Of course, the choice of harness is not always straightforward and Peham is quick to recognize the need to extend the group's research, "We should study guide dogs for a longer period of time to find out whether any of the harnesses are associated with long-term problems in the animals. We are still looking for partners and sponsors for the work".

The study "Evaluation of the pressure distribution under three different types of harnesses for guide dogs", by Christian Peham, Simone Limbeck, Kristin Galla and Barbara Bockstahler was recently published in the Veterinary Journal.


'/>"/>

Contact: Barbara Bockstahler
barbara.bockstahler@vetmeduni.ac.at
43-125-077-5320
University of Veterinary Medicine -- Vienna
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. U of Alberta researcher steps closer to understand autoimmune diseases
2. EU-funded study underlines importance of Congo Basin for global climate and biodiversity
3. MIT research: Study finds room to store CO2 underground
4. Specialization for underwater hearing by the tympanic middle ear of the turtle
5. Expedition to undersea mountain yields new information about sub-seafloor structure
6. Penn research points to new way of preserving fertility for boys undergoing cancer treatment
7. Planet under Pressure conference, London: Final statement
8. Under climate change, winners and losers on the coral reef
9. Study amplifies understanding of hearing in baleen whales
10. New genetically engineered mice aid understanding of incurable neuromuscular disease
11. Effect of chronic exposure to chemicals used as weapons, pesticides under study
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Under pressure
(Date:4/24/2017)... Janice Kephart , former 9/11 ... Partners, LLP (IdSP) , today issues the following ... March 6, 2017 Executive Order: Protecting the ... be instilled with greater confidence, enabling the reactivation ... applications are suspended by until at least July ...
(Date:4/18/2017)... Calif. , April 18, 2017  Socionext Inc., a global ... of a media edge server, the M820, which features the company,s ... recognition software provided by Tera Probe, Inc., will be showcased during ... at the NAB show at the Las Vegas ... ...
(Date:4/13/2017)... 2017 UBM,s Advanced Design and Manufacturing event ... emerging and evolving technology through its 3D Printing and ... alongside the expo portion of the event and feature ... focused on trending topics within 3D printing and smart ... event will take place June 13-15, 2017 at the Jacob ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Disappearing forests and increased ... of over 5.5 million people each year. Especially those living in larger cities are ... - based in one of the most pollution-affected countries globally - decided to take ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... For the second time in ... STEM Mentoring Award. Representatives of the FirstHand program travelled to Washington, D.C. Tuesday, ... , US2020’s mission is to change the trajectory of STEM education in America ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... 10, 2017 , ... The Pittcon Program Committee is pleased ... scientists who have made outstanding contributions to analytical chemistry and applied spectroscopy. Each ... leading conference and exposition for laboratory science, which will be held February 26-March ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... ... in the medical journal, Epilepsia, Brain Sentinel’s SPEAC® System which uses the ... in detecting generalized tonic-clonic seizures (GTCS) using surface electromyography (sEMG). The prospective ...
Breaking Biology Technology: