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Did you ever give thought as to whether your dog was left-handed or right-handed, or shall I say left-pawed or right-pawed? I never did until I read an article from the “Woof Report.” Apparently, like humans, dogs can be leftys, rightys or ambidextrous.
Studies have shown that males are predominately left pawed and females right-pawed. Those that are neither (ambidextrous) have been shown to exhibit noise phobias. Those that exhibit paw preferences seem to be less reactive to disturbances as they can transfer their attention to other things more successfully.
Research studies have revealed that certain behaviors and temperaments are connected with paw preferences. Breeders and trainers can use this knowledge in understanding behavioral disorders for breeding better adjusted dogs; trainers can understand behavioral issues and ultimately gain training success.
Research studies have been performed at Australia’s University of New England, by Dr. Nick Branson, and Dr. Paul McGreevy, animal behaviorist, University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science. Read more of what they have to say, if you’re interested by clicking the links www.abc.net.au/interview and www.ozpets.com.au/branson.
The question is how can you determine whether your dog is left, right or ambidextrous? There are different methods to test your dog. For example:
Put a treat or his favorite toy just out of reach under a chair or a table and watch which paw he uses to retrieve it.
Or try the the test most often used in research studies:
Place a treat-filled Kong directly in front of your dog and watch which paw he uses to hold the Kong to get the food out. A dog may use either paw or both paws.
You can be creative and devise your own ways to determine whether you have a lefty, righty or none of the above. The key is consistency and repetition – one time won’t cut it.
If you’re curious, give it a try. It could be fun to find out but it won’t affect how much you love your dog!