Do you know if your dog is aggressive or not? Shake her hand. If she gives you her left paw, you may have trouble.
If your dog has a dominant front left paw, a new study proposes she may have a slightly greater tendency for aggressive behavior. It’s also interesting to note that dogs have dominant back paws, but they were not considered in the study.
“We found that dogs with a preference for left paws were reported by their owners to show high levels of aggression towards strangers,” says Dr. Luke Schneider of the University of Adelaide in South Australia. “The left-pawed dogs scored almost twice as high as ambilateral [ones with no preference] and also higher than dogs with right paws.”
The link is apparently not just restricted to dogs. Researchers think the commonality is due to a personís or dogís left hand or paw being controlled by the right hemisphere of the brain, which is associated with more negative emotions.
“There is research in the human world as well that positive and negative emotions can be located in the left and right hemispheres and it seems to go the same way in humans and other animal species, that the negative emotions are located in the right hemisphere. There are many, many overlaps between human and animal brains.”
A third of the 75 dogs studied during the experiment were left-pawed, and none of them were previously known to be aggressive. The researchers would like to conduct a follow up study that includes a larger sample group, including dogs known to be aggressive.