Perry the Great Dane is a wonderful dog with a super personality. He could not be better. Why did we decide he was a fabulous failure? Because he paces – he does not trot.
Pacing is when the legs on the same side move forward at the same time. People can try it: when walking normally your left hand swings forward when your right foot moves forward. Try it the other way, it doesn’t “feel” right. At Service Dog Project we have no scientific medical studies to prove this is a bad thing, only that it does not seem right structurally. And since our dogs are used for mobility, any dog that paces has a different job as a perfect pet.
How soon can we tell? Whenever they start to pace. You can only make the decision about pacing when the dog is moving at a slow speed without disruption. In a fast gallop, the feet are almost in unison except only one foot is on the ground at a time.
– Carlene White, founder of Service Dog Project in Ipswich, MA. The organization trains and places Great Danes with people who live with Multiple Sclerosis, Friedreich’s ataxia, and veterans with disabilities.