Paws: Is Your Dog Left Or Right Pawed?

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Does Your Dog Use Their Right or Left Paws?

If you are cooped up indoors right now, you might be looking for ways to keep your dog engaged! May we suggest some brain games using your dog’s paws?

Here is a super easy one to help you discover if your dog is right pawed or left pawed: 

  1. Fill a small wobbly toy (maybe a kong) with some yummy treats and leave it in front of your dog.
  2. Give your dog a release command indicating that they can go play with the toy.
  3. Observe from a short distance away, and keep a count of how many touches they make with each paw.
  4. You can stop counting when they have touched it at least 20 times.

Did your dog touch the toy with their right paw more frequently, or their left? Or was it about even … meaning they are ambi-dexterous?

What does paw preference tell us?

Studies have shown that ambidextrous dogs are great problem solvers, while dogs who show a paw preference (whether left or right) are explorers who love new experiences. 

By asking our dogs to use their paws, we also ask them to use their brains. Dogs use all parts of their brain all the time, but some areas get recruited more depending on what they needs are and this is reflected in their behaviors.

Playing Games With Chloe

I like to play the game “Which Hand” is the treat in. She has to choose which hand is holding the treat. At first, I would just hurry and put the treat in a hand and hold it out to her to choose. I made her figure out that I wanted her to use her paws. She would instantly smell and choose the correct hand with her left paw. Then I later put the treat behind my back and switched the treat around so both hands smelled of the treat. She usually smells both hands and you can see the wheels in her brain trying to choose which hand. She still usually gets it correct always using her left paw!