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How to know if your dog is left-handed or right-handed and how it influences abilities and character

According to a study, half of dogs are right-handed and the other half are left-handed. A factor that could be related to their skills and creative ability.

How to tell if your dog is a righty or lefty and what that means for abilities and character
Sarah StierGetty

Just as human beings have preferences regarding the use of the right or left hand side, and even ambidextrous, dogs also have a greater development of their limbs on each side. A much more important factor than anyone would think, since the dominant lateral usage influences skills, creative ability and character.

According to a study carried out by scientists from the University of Manchester, and published on the ‘Research Gate’ website, unlike what happens with humans, half of dogs are right-handed and the other half , lefties. However, another study carried out by scientists from the University of Lincoln published in the journal ‘Animal Cognition’ went further and revealed, depending on the hemisphere used by dogs, that it depends almost directly on the one their owners handedness use to perform different functions.

In this second investigation, the experts analyzed the behavior of 72 dogs that were evaluated at home for ten days, to find out which side is more developed to perform different functions. "Left-handed owners were more likely to have dogs that used their left paw more often, and right-handed owners had dogs that tended to use their right paw more frequently," they clarified.

Gestures such as giving the paw to the owner or stretching the paw to reach an object, denote which side is more developed. In addition, it influences their future abilities, as explained by the veterinarian of the University of Sydney, Paul McGreevy. “Laterality can affect a dog’s ability to acquire certain skills, such as becoming a guide dog.”

To train as a guide dog, according to the veterinarian, right-handed dogs are more skilled and demonstrate more skills compared to left-handed dogs, which stand out more in the field of creativity. Left-handed dogs show a greater ability to find solutions to the different problems that arise.

Division of opinions on the character of the dogs

Another factor to take into account in a dog is its aggressiveness and its relationship with a greater ability to use a certain side of the brain. To investigate this question, a group of researchers from the University of Adelaide (Australia) analyzed the behavior of more than 70 dogs by completing the Canine Behavior Assessment and Research Questionnaire.

The conclusion reached by this team was a greater predisposition of left-handed dogs to develop aggressive behavior. A thesis that other scientists do not support or corroborate, and that they attribute to other elements. This was explained by the canine ethologist Salvador López, in statements collected by the website ‘Consumer’. “The environment, development and education they receive influence their more or less aggressive behavior, and not the fact that they are left-handed or right-handed”.


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