Dogs talk v their bodies. It can take place so rapid that we miss subtle nuances, and also then we wonder why theybehave a specific way. To understand our pupsbetter,we must learn to pay far better attention to your body language. Dog paw lifts are one expression that frequently go ignored, other than by hunters, of course, such as in theimage below of a bird dog.Here, her dog liftsa paw andpositions his ear forward in alert, straight stares in ~ prey, placed his tail out and poises his human body to produce a article of high drive and excitement, not anxiety.

You are watching: Why do dogs lift one paw

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English Setter puppy in training, lifting a paw. Photography by Shutterstock.

1.The concerned dog paw lift

It’s the paw lifts by non-hunting dog that can be a sign of anxiety, stress, and/or fear. I analyze thisbody language in mine Dog Decoder smartphone application usingillustrations byLili Chin of Doggie Drawings. There space 60 different poses and scenarios. Each posefeatures three parts; The Pose, The Info and also The Details around the pose and the app’s star, Diamond:

The Pose


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Illustration indigenous the Dog Decoder smartphone app, depicted by Lili Chin.

The Info

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Illustration indigenous the Dog Decoder smartphone app, illustrated by Lili Chin.

The Details

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Illustration indigenous the Dog Decoder smartphone app, portrayed by Lili Chin.

In the aboveillustration, a dog is showing are afraid in multipleways, including a paw lift.Dogs will often lift a paw when anxious, so it’s necessary to watch at all of the body — consisting of ears, tail, eyes, and paw — when readingyour pup. It’s additionally important to rate read. Dogs talk a mile a minute v their body, an altering signals in an instant. Don’t it is in discouraged if you miss subtle indicators at very first — the more you pay attention, the far better you will beat understandingyour dog.

In fact, I have actually a mantra all ofmy clients use whenever they space with their dogs. In training, simply hanging out, playing fetch, speak in the car… they ask themselves,“What does my dog need now?” This helps thembecome much more aware of what theirpup is saying. Try it yourself!

2. Sometimes, a dog elevator a paw in anticipation

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Illustration native the Dog Decoder smartphone app, shown by Lili Chin.

Paw lifts also can it is in an expression of anticipation, as shown above. In thiscontext, you watch that Diamondhas high wishes that theturkey is because that him. Ears and also eyes alert,head and also sniffer up and ready, tail out, and a paw lifted combine to signal anticipation.

3.Thefearful paw tuck

Illustration from the Dog Decoder smartphone app, shown by Lili Chin.

Dogs likewise may tuck a paw come convey fear. Typically, when a dog tucks a paw while lie down, it’s a sign of relaxation, yet not constantly as displayed in the image above. Diamond is hiding under the table, no wanting to interact. An alert that hisleft front paw is tucked and heis indirectly staring in ~ the boy. Diamond likewise haspulled his human body in and away indigenous the boy, becomingsmall and tight — these room all indications that he is scared and also could bite. If the young doesn’t retreat or the parents don’t step into translate these “stay away” signals, hecould it is in in severe danger.

Bottom line: store an eye on your dog’s paws

Often,when a dog lifts a paw or tucks it, it’s one of the very first signs that stress, and if that goes unnoticed might lead to, at best, frustrationfor girlfriend if an undesired behavior follows — in ~ worst, it might lead come a bite.

Our dogs relyon united state to find out their language, and by gainingthis skill, you’ll find that her dog is no being “stubborn” or “bad.” Instead, you will understand that the isanxious, excited, or afraid. Through this newfound knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to help your dog.

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For an ext insight,download theDog Decodersmartphoneappvia iTunes and Google play.You can likewise learn much more from buy it Kalnajs’s DVDThe Language that Dogsas well together from the bookDecoding your Dog: Explaining usual Dog Behaviors and How to prevent or readjust Unwanted Onesby man Ciribassi, Debra Horwitz, and also Steve Dale.