Is Your Dog a Righty or Lefty? Here’s How to Know!
By the age of 18 months, most children begin to display a natural preference for using one hand or the other becoming a “righty” or “lefty.”
But did you know your dog also has a preference when it comes to his paws?
Keep reading to learn if your dog is a righty or lefty!
Paws: Left or Right?
Courtesy: Albina White / Pexels
Amazingly, dogs are like their humans when it comes to being predominantly right-pawed or left-pawed and it comes from the dominant hemisphere of the brain.
Dr. Katy Nelson, a senior veterinarian at Chewy, explains, “Dogs’ brains are organized similarly to the human brain. The left side of the brain controls the right side of the body and vice versa.”
Dogs seem evenly split with their paw preference. According to a 2013 study at Australia’s University of Adelaide, researchers studied 73 dogs and found:
· 34% of the dogs were left-pawed
· 29% of the dogs were right-pawed
· And 37% were ambilateral (using both paws with no paw preference).
Courtesy: Blue Bird / Pexels
A more recent study, published in the Applied Animal Behaviour Science magazine, involved 18,000 dogs. The results showed:
· 74% had a clear paw preference with:
o 58.3% right-pawed.
o 51.7% left-pawed.
· The remaining 26% used both paws equally (ambilateral).
This study went further in connecting sex to paw preferences.
· Female Dogs: 60.7% were right-pawed and 39.3% were left-pawed.
· Male Dogs: 56.1% were right-pawed and 43.9% were left-pawed.
How to Know If Your Dog Has a Dominant Paw
Would you like to know if your dog is a righty or lefty? You can use the same tests the researchers used in studies to determine paw preferences in canines.
Courtesy: Anna Shvets / Pexels
Put your dog into a sitting position. Release them from sitting and notice which paw they use to start walking. This is their dominant paw.
Like the researchers, give your dog a Kong toy filled with his favorite treats! Now, count the number of times the dog uses one paw or the other to push at the Kong to get his treats. The highest count wins!
According to the AKC, here are a few other simple ways to determine your dog’s paw preference:
· Which hind paw does he normally scratch with?
· Which leg does your male dog lift to pee?
· Which paw does your dog use to interact with
a hand holding a treat?
Left or Right Paw? Does it Matter?
Of course, it’s a fun fact to know about your dog! But does it really matter if your dog prefers one paw over the other? There may be some real differences!
· Early research of puppies in guide dog training showed that the right-pawed dogs were more successful in completing guide dog training.
In addition, Dr. Luke Schneider who headed up Australia’s University of Adelaide study reported:
· Ambilateral dogs (no paw preference) showed less aggressive tendencies; while
· Left-pawed dogs showed more aggressive tendencies.
In a Psychology Today article, Dr. Stanley Coren, Professor of Psychology at the University of British Columbia, offered that dogs who are left-pawed may be emotionally different and display more negative emotions. (Validating Dr. Schneider’s findings in his Australian study.)
Interestingly, the same is true in left-handed humans! They are more likely to react with negative emotions and aggression over right-handed people.
While the research is far from being done on this interesting K9 topic, there does appear to be more similarities between the human and dog brain than we once thought.
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