Last weekend I went to a Pat Hastings workshop titled "Structure in Action". That same week a new book of hers came out covering the same subject matter, titled "Structure in Action: The Makings of a Durable Dog".
I really enjoyed the seminar, the subject matter was similar to her Puppy Puzzle information (I have the DVD, I haven't seen the workshop) but the focus was more on the relationship between the structure of the dog and its relationship to performance and risk for injury. (I know there are other speakers on this type of subject - Agile posted a link to one on another thread -but I haven't had an opportunity to go to one of theirs yet.) I just got my copy of the book the other day and it appears to cover the same subject matter as the workshop, although I would definitely recommend the workshop since you get a lot more additional insight. The book has lots of pictures and is easy to follow. I hope someone else finds it useful. :D
My big takeaway was that depending on what you want to do with your dog (obedience, coursing, agility, mountain hiking, couch potato, etc.) you need to look at its structure to assess it to see if it has any issues that would make it more difficult for that dog to perform those activities. Depending on the degree of the structural flaws you then need to consider if it's appropriate to even do that activity with your dog. And at least keep it in your mind so that you can watch for signs of injury that could result and perhaps scale back the activity to a lesser level to make injury less likely.
And also, when you are looking for a dog and plan to do performance events, you need to make sure that the breeder knows and appreciates this. You want a structurally sound dog so that it can do these activities easily and not be susceptible to early injury. And depending on the breed, "show quality" is not necessarily performance quality. As examples, poodles and golden retrievers bred for the show ring may not be able to actually retrieve because of the prevalence of ewe necks nowadays (the ewe necks give a look that appears to preferred in the ring now). As a result, I think I have just become a more demanding puppy buyer. :rolleyes:
It was very striking to see the concepts demonstrated in the demo dogs that people brought that day. You could very easily see the compensatory muscle buildup in areas of structural weakness and also how the dogs appears to have discomfort in these areas of their body as the vet at the seminar manipulated them.
I must say it has given me some pause about coursing my younger dog. She tends to roach her back from time to time, when is a compensatory behavior for removing weight off the rear assembly so there is definitely some issues to watch out there. You can see it in how she naturally stands. I will likely start her out on it and try to get a coursing title but may not pursue it beyond depending on how she does.
The book has a section in the back which points out the structural attributes important for different performance activities. The overall message is that you want a structurally sound dog from reading the lists for most of the performance activities that basenjis compete in.