08 September 2016

The Science Behind Canine Athleticism

Have you ever wondered how dogs can jump so high and run so fast - what the science is behind their athleticism?

Purina Pro Plan’s video series ‘Incredible Dog Science’, featuring volleyball athlete Misty May-Treanor and canine athletes, provides some very interesting observations.

For example, if episode two's Jack Russell terrier's body was scaled to the same size as a human, his speed would be the same as somebody running a 2.6 second 100 metre dash.

The three-part series explores the physics, evolutionary advancements, and mechanics of the canine body with analysis provided by experts Dr. David Raichlen, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, and Dr. Brian Zanghi, Research Nutritionist at Nestle Purina, as May-Treanor competes against Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge competitors.

The first episode, Agility, analyzes the differences in velocity and trajectory between May-Treanor and competitor Schemer, a border collie, as they dart through weave poles.

Episode two, Speed, demonstrates the significant effects that body mechanics play in enabling and inhibiting mobility as May-Treanor takes on the Jack Russell terrier.

Episode three, Power, puts May-Treanor's volleyball skills to the test by focusing on activities like jumping and diving to highlight the sheer strength that propels a dog like the Belgian malinois in its movements versus a human.

While the video series is also an obvious promotion of their dog food, the insight into the mechanics of the canine body is very interesting to anyone curious about how things work, especially with their dog friends.

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