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Materials

The materials required for the science fair project:
- 20 dogs
- a dog trainer
- 1 box of dog biscuits
- a pouch

Procedure

1. For this science fair project, the independent variable is the type of test done on the dog – the handshake test and "food touch" test. The dependent variable is the preferred paw of the dog. This is determined by observing the paw used by the dog to perform the given task. The constants (control variables) are the number of dogs and the type of dog food used.

2. 20 dogs of various breed and gender were selected for this science fair project. The help of the dog owners and a dog trainer was obtained, for conducting the science project experiment.

3. The dogs were first tested with the hand shake. They were shown the left hand  twice and the right hand twice. Stretch your hand towards the dog, placing it not too high nor too low, and in between the dog's left and right paws. If the dog responds more than twice using the left paw, then it is left pawed. If it responds more than twice with the right paw, it is right pawed. If it responds twice with the left paw and twice with the right paw, it is then considered ambidextrous.

4. The dogs were next tested with the food.   Dog biscuits were placed inside a pouch and kept in front of the dog. The dog will use one of its paws to pin down the pouch while trying to take the food from the pouch. If the dog holds the pouch more than twice using the left paw, then it is considered left pawed. If it holds the pouch more than twice with the right paw, it is right pawed. If it holds the pouch twice with the left paw and twice with the right paw, it is considered ambidextrous.

5. In the table below, if the dog used different paws for both the tests, we record it as being ambidextrous. If it is ambidextrous in one test and has a paw preference  for another test, we regard the dog as having 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