Dogs bred and also trained for searching are propelled by instinct to point.Non-hunting breeds may additionally lift a paw and point for a selection of reasons.Pointing helps dog to occupational in tandem together a team through their handlers.

You are watching: Why does my dog lift one paw

You’re the end for a walk through your dog or perhaps simply playing in the yard. Suddenly, the dog stops cold. Freeze in place, their nose straightens, their tail elevator out, and they stare intently in one direction. Virtually robotically, one former foot lifts slightly turn off the ground and also bends increase in a point.

Graceful and also precise, this view isn’t accidental. Why perform dogs seem come mimic statues?

In fact, pointing is a longtime instinct. Searching dogs purposely-bred for generations offered the tactic to assist owners hunt game and put food ~ above the table.

Pointing The Way

Although you may not require your dog to uncover meals, he might strike a pose with a paw folded and also suspended in waiting if he senses other moving.

“If he’s a Pointer, he’s choose up a scent and also raising one foot to point in the direction he smells prey,” says Diane Townsend, chairman of the American pointer Club. “There’s nothing an ext natural in this breed than to point.”

When dogs place themselves like this, they’re alerting the owner the a bird or small game is close. By sniffing the air, the dog detects the animal’s odor drifting top top wind currents.

Other pointing breeds particularly bred and trained for searching for generations in Europe or good Britain will hold the same allude position. This include, among others:


English Setter

German Shorthaired Pointer

Gordon Setter

Spinone Italiano



Wirehaired Pointing Griffon

All Senses ~ above Alert


Every dog has actually its own pointing place characteristics. However, handlers have to learn exactly how to read a dog’s human body language to recognize what the dog is communicating.

See more: What Is The Greatest Common Factor Of 10 And 12 Gcf(10,12), Greatest Common Factor ( Gcf )

“If the tail is moving, this can mean the bird is moving,” says Fitzpatrick. “Or, the specific position of the head, even if it is up or slightly down, can indicate how far the bird might be. Pointing breeds additionally know the difference in between a songbird or a game bird, which help if the hunter is searching for food.”

Need some aid training your dog? while you may not have the ability to attend in-person training classes during COVID-19, us are right here to aid you virtually with GoodDog! Helpline. This live telephone service connects you with a experienced trainer that will offer unlimited, individualized advice on everything from behavioral issues come CGC prepare to getting started in dog sports.