Dogs talk with their bodies. The can take place so quick that we miss out on subtle nuances, and then us wonder why theybehave a certain way. To understand our pupsbetter,we must discover to pay better attention to your body language. Dog paw lifts space one expression that often go ignored, other than by hunters, that course, such together in theimage below of a bird dog.Here, your dog liftsa paw andpositions his ears forward in alert, straight stares at prey, put his tail out and also poises his human body to create a article of high drive and excitement, no anxiety.

You are watching: Why do dogs raise 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 have the right to be a sign of anxiety, stress, and/or fear. I analyze thisbody language in my Dog Decoder smartphone application usingillustrations byLili Chin of Doggie Drawings. There room 60 different poses and also scenarios. Every posefeatures 3 parts; The Pose, The Info and The Details around the pose and the app’s star, Diamond:

The Pose


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

The Info

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

The Details

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

In the aboveillustration, a dog is showing are afraid in multipleways, consisting of a paw lift.Dogs will regularly lift a paw when anxious, so it’s vital to look at every one of the body — consisting of ears, tail, eyes, and also paw — when readingyour pup. It’s also important to speed read. Dogs speak a mile a minute through their body, changing signals in one instant. Don’t it is in discouraged if you miss out on subtle indications at an initial — the much more you pay attention, the better you will beat understandingyour dog.

In fact, I have a mantra all ofmy clients usage whenever they room with your dogs. In training, simply hanging out, play fetch, riding in the car… lock ask themselves,“What does mine dog require now?” This help thembecome much more aware the what theirpup is saying. Try it yourself!

2. Sometimes, a dog lifts a paw in anticipation

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

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

3.Thefearful paw tuck

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

Dogs likewise may tuck a paw to convey fear. Typically, as soon as a dog tucks a paw while lying down, it’s a sign of relaxation, however not always as displayed in the picture above. Diamond is hiding under the table, no wanting come interact. Notification that hisleft front paw is tucked and heis indirect staring at the boy. Diamond also haspulled his body in and also away from the boy, becomingsmall and tight — these room all signs that the is scared and also could bite. If the young doesn’t retreat or the parents don’t step into analyze these “stay away” signals, hecould it is in in significant danger.

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

Often,when a dog elevator a paw or tucks it, it’s among the an initial signs the stress, and also if that goes unnoticed can lead to, at best, frustrationfor you if an undesired behavior follows — at worst, it can lead to a bite.

Our dog relyon us to learn their language, and also by gainingthis skill, you’ll uncover that your dog is no being “stubborn” or “bad.” Instead, you will understand that he isanxious, excited, or afraid. With this newfound knowledge, you’ll be better equipped to aid your dog.

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