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Is Your Pup Left or Right Handed???

As humans, it's usually pretty easy to tell if we're left handed, or right handed. When it comes to our pups, it might surprise you to learn that, just like us, they favor using their right or left hand. A lot of doggos will show a preference for using one paw over the other.

Because a dog’s brain is organized similarly to a human's brain, possessing two hemispheres that hold specializations, they, too, can show “handedness,” or what researchers call “laterality.”

Most people are right handed, with only about 10 percent of the human population being left handed. Our precious pups show a more even distribution between use of their right and left paws. It's also much more common for dogs to be equally comfortable using either their left or right paw.

One of the most popular research methods is known as the Kong Test . The experiment involves giving a dog a Kong toy been stuffed with food. The pup needs to hold the toy still while he/she works to get at the food. The number of times he/she uses his left paw to hold the toy is compared to the number of times he uses his right paw, or even both paws at the same time. This allows the researcher to classify the dog’s paw preference. These studies tend to show that there are an equal number of left-pawed dogs, right-pawed dogs, and dogs with no paw preference.

Another method for looking at laterality is the "First-Stepping Test". In this experiment, the researchers measure which front paw a dog uses to take his first step from a level standing position. After multiple times of doing this, the dog’s paw preference can be determined. Unlike the Kong Test, this method doesn’t depend on the dog’s level of food motivation. This technique has shown different results from the Kong Test, with far more dogs showing a right paw preference.

Are you curious about your dog’s handedness? You can do your own Kong Test or your own "First-Stepping Test. Both tests you should try about 50 times. Or you can devise your own test! For example, hold a treat in your closed hand and note which paw your dog uses to interact with your fist. You can also observe your dog’s behavior and note any handedness preferences. For example, which hind paw does he use to scratch himself or which leg does your male dog lift when urinating?

No matter which hand pups prefer, they love having treats in those hands! Get some Miss Nelly's today!

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