Dog Behavior: Decoding Paw Lifting
Dogs raise their paws for a variety of reasons. From playful teasing to anticipation and fear, there are many different indicators that raising a paw can have. As dogs communicate with their bodies, it’s important for their owners- and strangers- to understand them to prevent bites, scratches, anxiety, and more. Therefore, reduce your Dog Owner Liability by recognizing the following paw lifting behaviors.
The fearful paw lift.
When meeting new people or pets for the first time, your dog might lift his paw as a sign of fear or anxiety. Dogs will often lift a paw when anxious, so it’s important to look at all of the body — including ears, tail, eyes, and paw — when reading your pup. It’s also important to speed read. Dogs talk a mile a minute with their body, changing signals in an instant. Don’t be discouraged if you miss subtle signs at first — the more you pay attention, the better you will be at understanding your dog, says Dogster. If his ears are back, his eyes are wide, he seems reserved and turns his body away, he is likely fearful of whatever situation he is in.
The anticipation paw lift.
If you’re holding a tasty treat or a new toy for your pup, he might be anticipating the excitement of it and lift his paw. If he seems relaxed but interested in what you’re doing, his ears are alert, his paw is lifted and his tail is straight out, he likely just wants a piece of the action.
The fearful paw tuck.
When a dog tucks his paw underneath him while sleeping, this is a sign of relaxation. However, if your pet is hiding or cowering, looking indirectly at the proposed threat, and curling in as small as possible, these are clear warning signs. This means he is uncomfortable and fearful, and whoever or whatever is causing him to feel this fear should be removed immediately.
Often, a paw lift or tuck is one of the first signs of stress, and if it goes unnoticed could lead to, at best, frustration for you if an undesired behavior follows — at worst, it could lead to a bite, says the article. It’s up to us as owners to hone in on the skill of reading our dog’s body language to prevent bites and other undesired behaviors. By taking this advice to heart, you can help to prevent a bite in the future.
There are many reasons a dog may bite, and it’s not always 100% preventable. In addition to financially protecting dog owners from dog-bite claims, our Canine Liability Policy also covers other injuries to people, including scratches and fall injuries caused by dogs, and injuries to other animals. Please contact us today for more information at (855) 534-6495.