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Are you left or right pawed?Featured science projectScience project video

Abstract

This science fair project was conducted to find out if dogs preferred to use their left or right paws, or if they have no particular preference. The dogs were tested to ascertain their preferred paws to perform handshakes and to grip their food.

Hypothesis

Most dogs are right pawed, just like human beings.

Scientific Terms

Ambidextrous, left pawed, right pawed, phobia

Background

A dog’s paw preference

Studies claim that just like humans, animals like dogs and cats show a preference to use their left or right paw and that the preferred paw for a dog can be determined by observing the paw it uses during a handshake or to hold a bone while chewing it.

It is believed that although dogs prefer either the left or right paw, some dogs are known to be ambidextrous. The preference over the left or right side gives the animal an advantage in the natural environment because one side of the animal will grow to become more dominant help the animal respond more quickly in an emergency/dangerous situation.

Studies have shown links between a dog’s paw preference and its phobia to noise. Dogs that are either left or right pawed have apparently been found to react less reaction to loud sounds like thunder and fireworks. The dogs that were ambidextrous were found to show extremely fearful reaction in the same loud scenario. It was observed that dogs without a paw preference react more emotionally to various stimulations, as compared to "lateralized" animals (those with a paw preference).

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Complexity level:
7
Project cost ($):
30
Time required:
1 day to prepare, 1day for the science project experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Have a qualified dog handler around to ensure your safety, when handling the dogs