Structure and Gait Analysis...The Key to Effective Conditioning

Course developed and taught by Tara Monahan OCT CPCFT SCMT

When developing a conditioning program, it's important to be able to evaluate the results of your work and establish next steps, and this course will help you develop those skills. Understanding structure and gait can help owners identify areas of strength in their dogs, as well as areas they should focus on when developing a conditioning program. It can give early warning that a dog is experiencing discomfort, and allow you to communicate with your vet more effectively. It allows you to make more educated decisions for your dog when deciding to participate in a sport or activity, track changes in your dog, and ultimately leads to you becoming a better, more informed owner.

“I also feel much more confident in my ability to advocate on my dog’s behalf…”

Tara exceeded my expectations in all aspects of this course. Her many years of teaching is evident in the course construction and presentation of information as is the amount of time and attention to detail that went into creating this course and providing feedback to students. The course is laid out well, building from one week to the next with many fun, hands-on, interactive activities that really solidified the weekly topics. By the end of the course, I had a much better understanding of how structure and gait are interconnected and can affect the dog as a whole. I also feel much more confident in my ability to advocate on my dog’s behalf if I notice any issues in the future.

Krista Nelson

What will you learn in this course?

  • Canine Anatomy

  • Structure and gait terminology

  • Identifying areas of strength and areas of challenge in a dog's structure

  • Assessing at a glance - what should you look for?

  • The relationship between structure and gait

  • How to identify different gaits

  • Gait anomalies

  • How to document concerns in preparation for a vet appointment

…more valuable than any other single course or book I have ever completed before…

The Intro to Structure & Gait Analysis is extremely well done and I would highly recommend this course to any canine health professional. Tara is very knowledgeable in this area, and her skills as a teacher really shined throughout this course. Each module was extremely informative and contained tons of new information to me – more valuable than any other single course or book I have ever completed before, and the homework was actually kind of fun while still being challenging enough that I was really learning a lot throughout the entire process. I consider Tara an expert in her field and only wish she lived closer to me so that she could work with my dog hands on. Tara is a gift to the world of canine fitness and I am so appreciative that I got to learn from her!
Sarah Keller

Is this the right course for you?

While this course is asynchronous, it isn't an auditing course; it's an interactive, collaborative course that benefits hugely from student participation. We will be using a variety of technology and apps to learn, to reinforce, to edit, and to collaborate - so the ideal participant is either comfortable with technology or willing to get comfortable with technology. The only way to get better at structure and gait analysis is to apply what you learn, and there will be many opportunities to use your developing knowledge. With this in mind, the ideal student will have the time to participate weekly for the six weeks, and an internet connection that allows for the viewing and upload of pictures and videos.  This is a "rabbit hole" course - you may spend half an hour a week on it, or you may get sucked into the rabbit hole of evaluation, discussion, and debate and spend more time on it than you intended.

To say that I got my money’s worth for this course is an understatement.

To say that I got my money’s worth for this course is an understatement. Even though I don’t know Tara very well, I knew going in that she would put in a tremendous amount of time and effort in creating this course. Tara did not disappoint, in fact, at one point I asked if she actually got any sleep because I saw the kind of feedback (detailed & informative) she gave for EACH STUDENT’s assignment. Her assignments were thoughtful, meant to make you think about what you have learned in the lectures, and apply it in a practical way. She is everything I would want from a good teacher. She explains details in a way that you can digest and understand, and “see” in your head. She challenges you to think of why a dog moves in a certain way, and she inspires you to do/learn more.


Are you interested in learning how technology is integrated into the course? Click on the video below to find out more!


What platforms are being used for this class?

Most content will go out through Google Classroom. Quizlet, Padlet, Google Docs and other apps which allow for collaboration will also be used. There will be a Facebook discussion group as well.

How is this course organized?

Weekly lessons are posted on Google Classroom on Monday mornings. You can explore the content (lectures, photos, videos) at your convenience. Every week includes homework that is either relevant to that week’s lecture, or that will set you up for future weeks assignments. Some homework will provide immediate, automated feedback – for example, when learning the terminology. Other homework will be self checked using supplied models to compare your work. Most homework, especially as the expectations grow, will involve instructor feedback through Padlet.  Conversations and discussions will also take place through the Facebook group and through Padlet. Any homework that requires instructor feedback must be posted within two weeks of being assigned so that the class stays on pace. All of the homework culminates in a final assignment where participants assess the structure and gait of their own dog through photos, videos, and observations they have gathered.

For how long will I have access to class resources?

You will have access to all resources, including the lessons, padlets, quizzes, etc. for 6 months from the start date. You will not be able to download the lessons, but you will be able to screenshot any sections you wish to retain.

What equipment is required?

The only equipment you need for this course is something that will allow you to take and edit photographs and videos of dogs. Higher quality is better (especially for the videos), but a phone will work beautifully for most people. You will also find the course easier to complete if you have access to a computer or tablet, as opposed to working off of a phone.

Do I need to have a dog to take this course?

No! You are welcome to take photos and videos of friends’, family members’, or neighbours’ dogs and post those instead (with their permission, of course). You will want access to a dog (or multiple dogs) for the anatomy section as well, but it also doesn’t have to be your own.

What is the time commitment?

This is a six week course, with a total of 8 weeks of feedback provided. Because this really is a subject where you will learn by doing, to get the full benefit of it you will need to be able to keep up with the work and the homework/discussions for the six weeks. Each week, you want to be able to spend at least 30 minutes doing homework, contributing photos/videos, and reviewing other participants’ contributions. If you would like feedback on your homework, it must be posted within 2 weeks of it being assigned.

What are the instructor's qualifications?

In addition to being a Certified Professional Canine Fitness Trainer and Canine Massage Therapist, I am also a teacher and a “tech junkie” who loves to figure out how technology can be effectively integrated to teach and guide people. I have trained dogs for over a decade, owned a performance dog training facility, competed in multiple dog sports, and I am the owner of Canine Fitness Innovations. My passion is helping people to help their dogs. For more information, you can click here see my answers to the #sixquestionchallenge so that you know #whoisworkingwithyourdog.

Will this course give me a diagnosis for why my dog is limping?

No, definitely not. Only a veterinarian can provide a diagnosis. However, this course can give you the tools to recognize a gait anomaly early, and the ability to document it effectively for your veterinary team so they can follow up with the appropriate diagnostics.

$299 CDN + HST = $ 337.87 CAD (Approx. $245 USD)

Registration is now open! The next course starts on February 27th, 2023.

Click here to register!