Agility dog activity load measurement using a web-based application and handler-provided rating of perceived exertion (RPE)

Principal Investigator:  Debra C. Sellon, DVM, PhD

Contact Information:  Email –

Purpose:  There is very little information about the relationship between training load (duration and intensity of training activities) and risk of injury in agility dogs. In part, this is because we have very few ways to measure training load in canine athletes. In contrast, there is quite a lot of information on this topic for human and equine athletes. In this project we propose to perform preliminary testing of a very simple approach to quantifying training load in dogs.

This survey is an enrollment survey for Phase 2 of this study. By completing this enrollment survey, you will be indicating your interest in helping with this research. We will review the information you provide about you and your dog, and we will let you know if you qualify for participation!

Eligibility: Participants must be 18 years of age or older and reside in the United States. You must be the handler of a specific dog which is currently competing with you as the handler in agility in the US. The dog may be competing in any US agility venue (e.g., AKC, ASCA, CPE, NADAC, UKI, USDAA) at any level. You and your dog should have no known injury or other circumstance that might impair normal activity. You must be willing to engage in all study activities including completion of a short (< 5 min) activity survey daily for 28 days (4 weeks) and participation in a follow-up survey and possible virtual focus group discussions that will occur using Zoom.

Participation: Participation in this study is completely voluntary. No details about yourself or your dogs will be used beyond what you choose to provide or directly approve in your answers. You may quit this project at any time and your information will not be included in our research if you quit before completion. 

Estimated Time: The initial enrollment survey should take approximately 15 minutes to complete. If selected for participation, you will be asked to watch a required training video that is approximately 15 – 20 minutes in length. For 28 consecutive days (4 weeks), you will be asked to complete a short (< 5 minutes) daily survey to document your dog’s daily activities. The follow-up survey at the conclusion of the study should take about 10 minutes of your time. If you are asked to participate in a focus group discussion, this may take an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

Who: The research team for this project includes Dr. Debra Sellon (Professor of Equine Medicine at Washington State University), Dr. Denis Marcellin-Little (Professor of Small Animal Orthopedic Surgery at University of California, Davis), Dr. Arielle Pechette Markley (Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine at The Ohio State University), Dr. Abigail Shoben (Associate Professor of Biostatistics at The Ohio State University), and Dr. Dianne McFarlane (Professor of Equine Medicine at University of Florida).

Benefits and Risks: The primary risk associated with participation in this project is the risk of breach of confidentiality. We will collect your name and email address. This information will be stored in a password protected computer at Washington State University. Only the principal investigator for this project will have access to this information and this information will be deleted at the conclusion of the project. Upon enrollment, you will be a assigned a unique identification number. For daily logging surveys, you will use this unique identifying number and the name of your dog. For Zoom focus group meetings, you will not be asked or required to reveal your identity. We do not anticipate any other risks to you or your dog through your participation in this research. We are not asking you to modify any of your normal physical activities with your dog. We are only asking that you report those activities through a daily survey.

Ethics: This study was deemed exempt from review by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Washington State University. If you have any concerns about your rights as a participant, please contact the IRB at .

Costs and Payments: All participants in this project will be eligible for a random drawing to win one of 10 gift cards worth $100 each from Clean Run.

Funding: This study is funded by an Acorn grant from the American Kennel Club Canine Health Foundation.

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Dr. Debra Sellon at