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2750 N. Stiles Road, Ludington, MI

Is Your Dog A Lefty Or A Righty?

First, I have to admit that I had no idea that dogs can be right or left pawed and some are even ambilateral. I stumbled upon this fact while doing research on another subject. So I thought I should share some facts with you on it as I found it interesting.

I was surprised to learn that some dogs prefer to use their right paw over their left paw or vice versa. However, a dog’s brain is organized similar to a human brain; having two hemispheres that each hold specializations, which means dogs can be left or right pawed.

In humans, the majority of the population is right handed. I happen to be among the 10% that are left-handed. This does not hold true in dogs however. It seems that after many studies dogs are somewhat split down the middle on being left or right pawed. And many dogs are considered to be ambilateral, being comfortable using either their left or right paw.

How do we know this interesting fact? There have been tests done over the years using a Kong. You simply give a dog a Kong stuffed with food. Typically they have to hold the Kong still while getting to the food stuffed in it. Then you simply measure the number of times he uses his left paw to hold the toy compared to the number of times he uses his right paw, or even both paws at the same time. After repeating this test many times it gives you an idea of whether your dog prefers their left or right paw. And the research that has been done shows that there seems to be an even split between right vs left vs ambilateral.

There is another test that researchers have used called the First Stepping Test. In this test dogs are measured by which paw they use to take their first step from a level standing position. After many repetitions a dog’s paw preference can be determined. This test however has had different results from the Kong Test, with results showing far more dogs have a right paw preference.

A third test that has been done uses food bowls filled with food and placed at 45-degree angles from the front of the dog. Giving the dog a choice on which bowl they chose to eat from first determines if they are left or right pawed. The results from this test was again different; showing that the majority of the dogs were ambilateral, while the remaining dogs were almost equally distributed between a right and left paw preference.

So, are you like me and now curious if your dog is left or right pawed or perhaps ambilateral? If so, you can easily replicate these tests to see if you can determine this. Just understand that it typically takes many repetitions of the test to come to a conclusion. The research mentioned above did the tests with 50 repetitions. But knowing if your dog prefers their left over their right may help with some of your tricks you may be wanting to teach your dog; like a high-five trick. Let us know your results!

Our October Basic Obedience Class is starting next week. We still have a couple of slots open for this class. If you are interested in getting signed up or would like to know more about it give us a call at 231-845-0550. And of course give us a call for any boarding you may need. 🐾🐕🥰

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