Understanding Your Dog’s One Raised Paw Lift
In this article we will be focusing on the paw lift but will also briefly talk about why your dog is pawing at you, keep in mind the two are entirely different gestures which can mean entirely different things.
Now you Know
It can be common mistake for people to see a new dog with a raised paw and interpret that it wants to shake a paw. Chances are the dog does not want to shake paws it is in fact feeling uncomfortable, unsure and in smaller dogs as a sign of submission. So next time you run into that situation remember don’t touch, and to just acknowledge the gesture with a kind word or two.
Spot the Difference
Dogs use their paws to communicate with us in two main ways, it can be difficult to react to because the dog can be trying to show us it is feeling so many different things. The first way it uses they use their paws to communicate is called pawing this is when your dog gently hits you with his paw or as if he is trying to high five unprompted. The second way their paws are used to communicate is called a paw lift and this is when your dog lifts one of its forward paws up vertically, tilting the paw back towards its body almost as if it is protecting itself.
There are a massive amount of reasons as to why your dog is pawing at you, so exact answers are impossible to give. It is most likely a combination of instinctive and learned behavior and is harmless unless felt by the owners that is has become excessive and bothersome then obedience training is required. Here are some general reasons your dog may be pawing….
- Seeking attention or feeling playful
- Asserting dominance
- Seeking a reward
Dogs walk on their paws so they do not use their paws like humans use their hands, they do not carry things in them, use them to eat or use them to greet each other. Dogs will ‘Shake Hands’ on command if someone has taught them to do it but they do not do it naturally. That being said they have still learned how to use them to communicate basic feelings, gestures and thoughts, here are a few reasons why your dog might be lifting one of its forward paws.
- In Anticipation for food, pets, or play
- Anxious, stressed or unsure
- Startled or discomforted
- In a uncomfortable situation
- Thinking about what to do next
lastly, it is important to recognize when your dog lifts its paw, because if gone unnoticed it can lead to all sorts of undesired behaviors from your dog such as them having an accident in the house. Your dog is only trying to signal to you with its paw that it is in need of something for example food, water, playtime or to go outside. So stay alert and be prepared to react to give your dog what it needs. Keep in mind a dog lifting its paw is like a commoner or peasant bowing before a king, so remember to stay humble and you are the one making your dogs existence as easy as possible
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