According to a 2021 large-scale study, 74 percent of dogs have a preferred paw.
If you've ever noticed your dog consistently favoring one paw over the other, you might be wondering if your furry friend has a dominant paw, similar to how humans can be right- or left-handed. And just like humans, dogs can indeed have a preference for using one paw over the other, which is known as "pawedness."
Knowing whether your dog is left- or right-pawed can actually come in handy when it comes to training and understanding their behavior. So how to determine your dog’s paw preference?
- Observe Your Dog's Behavior
The first step in determining your dog's pawedness is to simply observe their behavior. Watch your dog as they perform everyday tasks like picking up a toy or scratching their ear. Take note of which paw they tend to use to complete these actions.
- Conduct the Treat Test
Another way to determine your dog's pawedness is to conduct what's called the "treat test." Place a treat or piece of food under a piece of furniture, such as a couch or coffee table. Watch which paw your dog uses to try and retrieve the treat. If they consistently use their right paw, they may be right-pawed, and if they consistently use their left paw, they may be left-pawed.
- Use a Target Stick
You can also use a target stick to determine your dog's pawedness. Hold the target stick out to the side of your dog and watch which paw they use to touch the stick. If they consistently use their right paw, they may be right-pawed, and if they consistently use their left paw, they may be left-pawed.
- Ask Your Vet
If you're having trouble determining your dog's pawedness, your veterinarian may be able to help. During a routine check-up, ask your vet if they've noticed any pawedness in your dog or if they have any tips for determining it.
Understanding your dog's pawedness can help you better understand their behavior and tendencies, which can be helpful when it comes to training and bonding with your furry friend. By using these methods, you'll be able to determine whether your dog is right- or left-pawed in no time.