This study describes the kinematic influence of harnesses on the muskuloskeletal system of guide dogs while guiding a blind person. One supposes that harnesses influence the movement of the front limb and back movement of the guide dogs. Therefore, the hypothesis of this study is that the harnesses cause a restriction of the back movement and the movement oft the front limb. For this purpose three different types of harnesses were tested on eight adult and qualified guide dogs. The kinematic movements of the dogs first were watched without a harness and then when walking with the different harness types and thereby accomplishing various exercises.
Most significant differences appeared when wearing harness one. This harness restricted the motion of the spine both latero - lateral and dorsoventral. Also at the front limb significant differences in the flexion and the extension could be noticed and also in the temporal appearance of both parameters.
The greatest differences become evident on a walk in the plane compared to exercises on stairs. However these changes are probably more to be led back on the changed movement during the exercises on the stair than to the harness. However there are still some significant differences which were shown only while wearing the harnesses. Hence it is conceivable that the harnesses still have an influence on the kinematic of the guide dogs. The hypothesis can be confirmed by the obtained data, and an influence of the harnesses on the kinematic movement of guide dogs could be proved. The results can be used for the optimisation and improvement of harnesses. It should help to keep these special dogs healthy for a long time to enable them to be a partner for the blind person for many years.