Dogs talk through their bodies. It can happen so rapid that we miss out on subtle nuances, and also then we wonder why theybehave a certain way. To recognize our pupsbetter,we must learn to pay better attention to your body language. Dog paw lifts space one expression that often go ignored, except by hunters, the course, such as in theimage below of a bird dog.Here, her dog liftsa paw andpositions his ear forward in alert, directly stares in ~ prey, put his tail out and poises his human body to create a article of high drive and also excitement, no anxiety.

You are watching: Why do dogs lift one paw

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

1.The anxious 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 interpret thisbody language in my Dog Decoder smartphone application usingillustrations byLili Chin of Doggie Drawings. There are 60 different poses and also scenarios. Every posefeatures 3 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 native the Dog Decoder smartphone app, illustrated 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, portrayed by Lili Chin.

In the aboveillustration, a dog is showing are afraid in multipleways, consisting of a paw lift.Dogs will frequently lift a paw once anxious, so it’s crucial to look at at every one of the body — including ears, tail, eyes, and paw — once readingyour pup. It’s also important to rate read. Dogs speak a mile a minute with their body, changing signals in one instant. Don’t it is in discouraged if you miss out on subtle indicators at very first — the much more you salary attention, the better you will beat understandingyour dog.

In fact, I have actually a mantra every ofmy clients usage whenever they space with their dogs. In training, simply hanging out, play fetch, speak in the car… castle ask themselves,“What does my dog need now?” This helps thembecome an ext 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, portrayed by Lili Chin.

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

3.Thefearful paw tuck

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

Dogs likewise may tuck a paw to convey fear. Typically, when a dog tucks a paw while lying down, it’s a sign of relaxation, however not constantly as displayed in the photo above. Diamond is hiding under the table, not wanting come interact. Notification that hisleft front paw is tucked and heis indirectly staring at the boy. Diamond additionally haspulled his body in and also away native the boy, becomingsmall and tight — these are all indications that the is scared and could bite. If the young doesn’t retreat or the parental don’t step into analyze these “stay away” signals, hecould be in major 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 very first signs that stress, and also if that goes unnoticed can lead to, in ~ best, frustrationfor you if one undesired actions follows — at worst, it might lead to a bite.

Our dogs relyon united state to find out their language, and also by gainingthis skill, you’ll uncover that your dog is no being “stubborn” or “bad.” Instead, friend will recognize that he isanxious, excited, or afraid. V this newfound knowledge, you’ll be far better equipped to assist your dog.

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