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Is Your Dog Right-Pawed or Left-Pawed?
Thanks to Tufts Veterinary School,
we can find out

color image of gray Toy poodle with his right paw raised
Right-Pawed Poodle

Tufts University Veterinary School researchers study things like right-brain vs left-brain dominance, genetics and sexual orientation in our canine companions. Results can help improve how we breed, raise and train our dogs.

It may turn out that left-pawed dogs make the best service or therapy dogs while right-pawed dogs are best for military and police use, or vice versus.

The last existing study from an university in England revealed that dogs were split half-and-half for right vs left paw dominance.

A new study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior showed that left-pawed dogs are more likely to be aggressive to strangers than those that are right-pawed. This was a study of 75 dogs of various breeds and ages.

There's a very easy to test your dog: place a desired treat under a sofa, just beyond his easy reach. See which paw he uses to try and get it out. That will be his dominant paw.

If that test doesn't work for you,

  • See which paw your dog uses to paw at the dog when he wants back in
  • Put something sticky on your dog's nose and see which paw he uses to try to knock it off
  • Watch which paw your dog most frequently offers if you've taught him the 'Shake' command.

None of the above tests, however, are valid if your dog has arthritis or some other injury/condition that makes him favor one paw over another.

No one can vouch that these tests are 100% reliable, but it is fun to see if you have a southpaw or not.


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