I could be wrong but I think this could be the first of it’s kind. I have a friend that is currently doing her PhD on injuries to dogs competing in the sport of

An agility dog teetering on the edge!

An agility dog teetering on the edge!

 agility. Before you think this is just someone out to prove we shouldn’t do agility with our dogs, let me tell you that Kim does compete in agility herself and does quiet well. She actually won the Canadian Nationals last year with her Border Collie “Recess”, and was an alternate on our IFCS World Team, so she is no slouch! Kim needs everyone’s help. She has put together a survey to help her gather data.  I will just let Kim tell you, in her own words, what is going on. The more information we get the better it will be for all of our dogs participating in the sport of agility in the future so please take a few minutes and fill in the survey!

Encore tumbles out of a wet tunnel.

Encore tumbles out of a wet tunnel.

Does your dog play agility? We need to hear from you!

Agility Injury Survey: 

A research study examining the injury risk factors for dogs participating in agility.

The purpose of this study is to describe the injuries that are occurring to dogs participating in agility events. We are interested in knowing more about what types of injuries are most common (such as muscle strain, ligament sprain) and what part of the dog’s body (e.g., shoulder, toes, etc) are most commonly involved. We are also interested in learning how the injuries occurred – such as whether or not there was a specific event that contributed to the injury (e.g., collision with handler, or specific piece of equipment on course). 

We would still like you to complete the survey if your dog(s) has(have) not had an injury playing agility. It is important to understand how ‘big’ the problem is, which means we need to know about the injuries that are occurring within the context of understanding how many dogs play without ever having an injury.

This survey will take about 10-15 minutes of your time to complete. We would be happy to share the findings of this survey with you if you are interested. You will be given an opportunity to sign-up to receive a summary of the research findings before you finish the survey.

Encore's experience with a break-away tire at her first trial.

Encore's experience with a break-away tire at her first trial.



If you agree to participate in this study, we would ask you to answer some questions about you (your age and how long you have been training agility dogs, for example), and questions which focus on your dog’s participation in agility events. The survey will collect information on any injuries your dog has sustained while playing agility (either in training or competition). You will have the opportunity to enter information separately for each dog in your household that has participated in agility events.

The study is being conducted by Ms. Kim Cullen from the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. JP Dickey, Dr. NM Moëns and Dr. J Thomason. 

The information collected from this survey will be used to guide the development of Ms. Cullen’s PhD dissertation, which focuses on examining the biomechanical risks of injury to dogs participating in agility events. This project represents an important first step in building knowledge about common injuries occurring to dogs participating in agility which can result in improved treatments for these injuries, as well as improved equipment safety standards to reduce the future risk of injury to dogs participating in agility.

This study is sponsored by the Ontario Veterinary College Pet Trust Fund.

Click here to access the survey:


Kim completed a B.Sc. in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo in 1996 and received an M.Sc. degree in Clinical Rehabilitation Science from McMaster University in 2002.  Kim is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Biophysics at the University of Guelph.  For the last six years Kim has been

Recess, Kim & Ryan.

Recess, Kim & Ryan.


 working at the Institute for Work and Health as a Research Associate where she has been a co-author on more than 20 scholarly papers.

Kim spends her free time teaching family dog obedience and training her four dogs: Bailey (12 years), Maddie (8 years), Recess (5 years) and Gossip (1 year).  Currently, Kim and Recess are the 2008 AAC National Champions in the 22” Regular Division.  For the past 10 years, Kim has been an active participant in agility, competing in AAC, USDAA, and NADAC with her two Labrador Retrievers (Bailey and Maddie) and Border Collie (Recess), all of whom have placed at the AAC Regionals and Nationals.  In 2008, Kim and Recess were selected as alternates for Team Canada (IFCS) and in October, Kim and Recess participated in their second USDAA National Championship, qualifying for the Steeplechase finals

Kim also shares her life with her husband John and son Ryan (3 years) and they are expecting their second child in July.  They live in Ancaster, Ontario, Canada.

Okay guys, lets get on board and fill out those surveys, if you have a blog of your own, please pass this link around, the more information we can get for Kim the better our dogs will be in the long run!

Today I am grateful for people like Kim that are looking to advance our sport with more in depth knowledge helping us more fully understand the physicality of our agility dogs.